PURDUE BOILERMAKERS - SEPTEMBER 5TH, 2020
Nebraska starts the 2020 season (hopefully) with a conference foe, the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilers have won the last two, 42-28 (2018) and 31-27 (2019), to tie the series 4-4 (yes, the two schools have only played eight times).
The Purdue game might be the most important game of the season given that it’s the first of the 2020 season.
It sets the stage for the rest of the season.
I contacted my good buddy Travis Miller from the SBNation site Hammer and Rails to get the inside goo on his team:
Jack Plummer, Aidan O’ Connell or Austin Burton - What do you think of these quarterbacks and who’s going to be the starter?
T-Mill: I think I am fine with Plummer, then O’Connell. I just don’t know enough about Burton to really have an opinion. I think Plummer did relatively fine last year for being a freshman thrown into the fire when Sindelar was injured. O’Connell was a very pleasant surprise in the final 3+ games of the season too. He struggled, but got the win at Northwestern and he looked really good against Indiana. Plummer had a great game against Maryland and did pretty well against Minnesota, Iowa, and Nebraska. He has the most experience and the most amount of time in the offense, so he is my pick.
Who’s going to take the pressure off Ron’dale Moore with regards to offensive production?
T-Mill: Perhaps you have heard of David Bell, reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year, AP Freshman All-American, and 1,000 yard receiver. He had an excellent first year last year and exceeded the incoming hype. If anything, his year was a little downplayed because of what Rondale did the year before. Having the two of them on the field at the same time is great for any quarterback. We also have an embarrassment of riches to work with them, too. Garrett Miller and Kyle Bilodeau look like promising redshirt freshmen TEs to take over for Brycen Hopkins, while Payne Durham was a goal-line target with 4 TDs. Milton Wright, Amad Anderson Jr., Jared Sparks, and Jackson Anthrop all have experience returning. Maliq Carr and Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen are incoming freshmen that could be impact players right away on any other team, but may redshirt because of the depth in front of them.
Whoever wins the QB derby will have plenty of targets to throw too, while King Dorue had a solid freshman season as the top RB.
What are you expecting from Bob Diaco and the defense?
T-Mill: As is always the case with Purdue, can they get third down stops? Purdue gave up third downs 41% of the time last season and 61% on 4th downs, teams also ran all day on us, and that was disturbing when the hallmark of Nick Holt’s defense in 2018 was actual solid run defense. Overall the defense was pretty putrid last season, and in games like against Nevada, Indiana, and Minnesota it collapsed at the worst times. We have yet to see a fully armed and operational Brohmfense dropping 40 points per game with impunity, but having a defense that can hold teams under 25 would be nice.
Overall outlook on Purdue football and Jeff Brohm this season?
T-Mill: It is a big transition year. The opening three games are really tough with at Nebraska and home for Memphis and Air Force. We also have to go to Boston College. This is still a young team with a lot of freshmen that played last year, especially on offense. There were a ton of injuries last season and Purdue went 4-8, but lost two games (Nevada and Indiana) literally on the final snap of the game. That’s been Brohm’s hallmark so far. It has lost five games the last two seasons on the final snap (Eastern Michigan, Missouri, and Wisconsin in 2018, Nevada and Indiana last year). That has to end at some point, right?
I do think things are set for a huge 2021 if Purdue wins 7-8 games this year.
What do you think are the chances we have a semi-normal college football season?
T-Mill: I think we get something at least. There is too much money involved. I think we have at least 25-50% full stands too. Much of that is based on the fact that this is America and after three months of restrictions it is very clear we now have an “Everyone for themselves” attitude, but I won’t get into that. There is definitely a push to have some form of football in the fall, and I think we get it.