Purdue faces Northern Illinois this weekend for Homecoming weekend. If you’ll recall the last time these two teams played Purdue put on one of the most pathetic showings I can remember and was absolutely manhandled by the Huskies. That was back in 2009 under good old Danny Hope. That’s the only time these two teams have played and Purdue lost 21-28 but honestly it wasn’t even that close. You all might remember that game as the typical Danny Hope game. Maddening. Purdue needs some redemption in this game but also on this season that has started pretty terribly.
There’s no upside in this game for Purdue. Obviously yes a win would be great but for most people out there this is a no win situation for Purdue. If Purdue wins big deal they were supposed to win it’s a B1G team playing against a team from the MAC regardless of that MAC team’s strength. If Purdue loses they will be laughed at because they lost to a MAC team. National perception wise there’s nothing good that can come out of this game. From a team standpoint there’s lots of good that Purdue can have going into their bye week. For one thing Purdue’s offense needs quite a bit of work. Rob Henry is taking most of the blame for the poor offensive start but he’s only one man. He hasn’t played great but the offensive line is a big part of that as well. If they don’t block well Henry can’t make the plays. It’s a vicious cycle of terribleness from nearly everyone on the offense. Purdue has to get this together before they get back to B1G play in a couple weeks. Northern Illinois is a good team. They won the MAC last year barely eeking by Coach Hazell’s Kent State team. I’m hoping that will give Purdue a bit of an advantage since Hazell and the coaching staff will have a good idea of what to prepare for.
While Northern Illinois is a good team they aren’t the level of Cincinnati, Notre Dame, or Wisconsin, who are Purdue’s three losses,they are still a solid team. Jordan Lynch, the NIU QB, is quite the dual threat and will cause problems for Purdue’s defense. The worst aspect of the Wisconsin loss was Purdue’s absolute lack of tackling. Lynch is going to provide a similar problem that Cincinnati Legeaux presented for the Boilermakers. We will see if Purdue has learned anything from that game and how much they have improved. I’m trying to look for the positive but right now I’m struggling to find it. Purdue played great against Notre Dame in Ross-Ade during their last home game. Plus Hazell’s knowledge of Northern Illinois. I just don’t know what to think.
For Purdue to win…
- The offensive line must improve and allow Henry to make plays with his legs and his arm. This will give the WRs time to maybe get open.
- The crowd has to make noise and realize that at times even those big strong fellows on the field need a little help. I’m tired of greatly outnumbering opposing fans but being shouted down. This absolutely can’t happen if we all want Ross-Ade Stadium to become a different place to play for someone other than the Boilermakers.
- Purdue needs to be able to tackle someone, anyone, preferably the other team, consistently.
- If it comes down to it Purdue has to be able to make a damn field goal. I mean come on!
- I stand by my statement from the last couple game that Purdue needs to play Dolapo McCarthy and Brandon Cottom. I’m not saying they are saviors or that them playing will simply become and offense that scores 30+ points a game. What I’m saying is that Purdue needs a spark. These guys can provide that spark if they are given the opportunity.
I’m letting the optimistic side of my Purdue fandom come out because basketball practice starts this weekend. I know for a fact that if Robbie Hummel tears his ACL Saturday it won’t have nearly the impact it did on me it did that year against Minnesota. I’m picking Purdue on this one and banking that Hazell’s experience with NIU will make a difference.
Northern Illinois- 21