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Nebraska Football: The Purdue Q&A With Travis Miller Of Hammer & Rails

We wanted to know more about the Boilermakers before tomorrow. Little did we know what deep, dark hole we'd go down.

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Well, no matter who is the starter at whatever position, in just over 24 hours your Nebraska Cornhuskers take the field to battle the Purdue Boilermakers in a Big Ten West matchup.

We wanted to know more about the Boilers and who better than Travis Miller, the founder & head man at the Purdue SBNation site Hammer and Rails to tell us. He asked me some questions, which I answered for him yesterday and you can check out here.

Travis went a little deep and dark with his answers, which may match the mood of the Purdue Athletic Department, not just the Football program. We thank him for his help, and invite you once again to check out their site for post-game coverage.

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1. Well, not a good season for Purdue Football once again at 1-6. HC Darrell Hazell may not survive this one with a new plan for the Football program. What’s the feeling as the bye week ends and Nebraska comes around the corner?

Impending Doom? Dread? We’re ready for basketball season? Darrell Hazell is 5-26 as a head coach and in this week’s press conference he said it was not time to panic. He has yet to win a Big Ten home game and has two wins over FBS level programs in 28 tries. We are even on the hook for a $6 million buyout and I am not convinced he is fired even if we go 1-11. His coordinator have shown a complete and utter lack of ability to make in game adjustments or even know if they are allowed.

So, to sum up, we’re screwed.

2. Austin Appleby was supposed to be the answer at QB for the Boilermakers, but losing him for the year puts David Blough at the position now. What’s he bring to the table?

Appleby wasn’t injured. Blough replaced him because Appleby was handing out interceptions like party favors. Blough is better. He seems to have better pocket presence and scrambling ability, but John Shoop is the grim reaper to quarterbacks. He ruined Danny Etling and Appleby. I am hoping he is gone before Blough is completely ruined or before he can touch the redshirting Elijah Sindelar.

3. The rushing attack is led by Markell Jones, who has shown flashes of being great, however the Freshman has had issues. Should the Huskers faithful be worried about him, and who else could carry the ball Saturday?

Jones has been the one bright spot in an otherwise dismal universe that is our offense. He is a big play threat that rarely loses yards on a carry and he had a stellar HS career with nearly 8,000 yards. Even then, the powers-that-be have played sophomore D.J. Knox more until he received an ankle injury at Wisconsin. Knox isn’t a bad player, it is just that Jones is better. We’re really excited to see what he can do over the course of his career.

4. The Pass catchers are not ones that strike fear, but there are many with double digit catches this year. What should we be looking for when the Boilermakers throw the ball?

This is what frustrates me. It is no secret that Nebraska’s pass defense is awful, yet I have zero confidence that Purdue can exploit it. Purdue’s receivers are still struggling to get separation, something that has not been corrected even in year three of the coaching staff. Purdue’s best receiver, Danny Anthrop has not been playing at 100% since tearing his ACL last year at Nebraska, and in general the group has been disappointing. They aren’t helping out Blough in his development at all.

5. The Defense has not stopped much this year, but kept the team in the game vs. Wisconsin and Michigan State. With the way Nebraska can put points on the board, but also maybe facing a backup Quarterback making his first start, what should Nebraska know about the Purdue D?

Three things:

1. You will be able to run the ball pretty much at will.

2. Defensive coordinator Greg Hudson will have two very good corners in Frankie Williams and Anthony Brown playing 10 yards off the line of scrimmage for reasons unknown, thus leading to easy completions where Jordan Westerkamp can run out 5 yards and catch an undefended pass.

3. the middle of the field will be wide open whenever it is needed, especially on 3rd and long.

Do you have an offense that can take advantage of these three things? If so, congratulations! You just beat Purdue!

6. Well, they are going to finally throw some coin into the Purdue Football program, and it’s a fair investment at $60 million. Your site has covered it well, but what’s the TL;DR version that we should all know?

Basically, we’re finally getting a locker room, training facility, and basic amenities that pretty much everyone else in the Big Ten has. It is sorely needed from a facilities standpoint simply to get on the same level as everyone else.

7. Speaking of the future of the program, are they going to keep Hazell around another way? Or are they going to shock the world and fire him?

Personally, I would be surprised if he is fired even if he goes 1-11, which seems more likely every day. There is apathy from the fanbase with dwindling crowds and it seems unlikely, given our history, that Burke will move on a $6 million buyout. I would bet that he does the doomed coaches move of "I fired my coordinators, now everything will be different I promise!"and hopes that an easier 5 game stretch to start 2016 can be a turnaround.

8. How much Red should we expect Saturday morning in Ross-Ade Stadium?

It would not surprise me if it becomes Lincoln East. There are plenty of tickets available. Please go ahead and come. If you buy them from Purdue it can help pay for Hazell’s buyout.

9. What other players that we haven’t mentioned above will have a factor in the game Saturday?

Well, let’s see. Paul Griggs has been struggling at kicker and missed a 19-yard field goal against Bowling Green that was costly. Our top linebacker by far, Ja’Whaun Bentley, tore his ACL before Wisconsin and is out. He is being replaced by Garrett Hudson, our defensive coordinator’s son and a player that is nowhere near as good at covering the middle as Bentley. Wisconsin saw this and exploited it from the beginning. Greg Hudson saw it was being exploited and did nothing to help his own son, so that should probably be child abuse.

Joe Schopper, our freshman punter, is damn good though!

10. Prediction time. Who ends the bowl dreams of the other, and moves on in this MASSIVE BIG TEN WEST SHOWDOWN?

We had bowl dreams? HAHAHA! I thought Minnesota was beatable as a one-dimensional and banged up team. They blew our doors off in the second half, then you beat them by multiple scores in Minneapolis. I wouldn’t trust this coaching staff to successfully turn on a Playstation right now to work on an NCAA Dynasty. Nebraska wins with ease.