Tommy Armstrong has been ruled out for Saturday’s game. Here is how they are going to beat Purdue without their leader on offense.
Purdue’s Rush Defense:
Purdue is a 1-6 team, and it is pretty clear why. They don’t do much well. Lets start with their rush defense. Purdue is giving up just under 200 rush yards per game this season, ranking 99th in the country. Without Tommy Armstrong Nebraska will have to commit to the running game. Purdue opponents average 4.77 yards per rush which ranks 96th in the country. If Nebraska is going to win this game it is because they will run the ball 40 or more times on Saturday.
Purdue has not been able to move the ball through the air or on the ground this season. The Boilermakers rank 104th in rushing offense and 75th in passing offense. If you cant move the ball you can’t score. Purdue averages just 23.1 points per game which ranks 102nd. As bad as the Nebraska defense has been at times, they should have no problem slowing down this Purdue offense. I would like to say they will completely shut down the Boilermaker offense, but I just can’t. Purdue is going to score a bit, but I do not think they will be able to keep up with Nebraska’s offense, even without Armstrong.
Nebraska’s Coaching Staff Will be Backed Into a Corner:
Without Armstrong starting, the Nebraska coaching staff will have no choice but to commit to the run. There have been some very sketchy play calls this season, but on Saturday that should not be an issue. If Nebraska comes out and throws the ball or attempts to be "balanced" it could be a long day for the Husker offense. Riley and co. need realize this isn’t Madden… or the Pac-12. You can’t run the ball once get three yards and abandon it then run four verticals. They can’t run a jet sweep on third and one. Just run the ball and win the game.
Purdue’s Turnover Issues:
Nebraska has not been good forcing turnovers this season, and rank 91st in the country in turnover margin. Purdue is one of the few teams who have been worse. Purdue ranks 112th in turnover margin at -7 on the season. They have lost seven fumbles on the season ranking 94th in the country. Boilermaker quarterbacks have thrown 11 interceptions this season ranking 119th in the country. If Nebraska is going to run away with this game, they are going to need to force a turnover or two, and capitalize when they do get a takeaway.
Nebraska is Better… Everywhere:
Nebraska has not been on the field with a team this season that has far more talent than them. They have hardly been on the field with a team that has as much talent as them this season. Purdue is a team that has FAR less talent than the Huskers and it should show on Saturday. Nebraska is bigger, stronger, and faster… although that has not meant a whole lot this season, the talent disparity here is hard to ignore. Purdue will have a hard time staying fresh and keeping up with the Huskers speed. It might be close at half and even in the fourth quarter, but I expect Nebraska to pull away late in the game due to the talent gap these two teams have.