It's homecoming week in the holy land and you're all coming back, right?
|A Different Chief|
Here's what we think you'll see; predicto time!
The Illini look to bounce back after their first loss of the season last week against O$U. Crap. This bodes poorly for us. The secondary shows more life than last year and Ricardo Allen is a lovely threat, but Shieldhouse will be looking for a little redemption after last week.
After losing to a mediocre and lucky Penn State, the team returns home to hopefully adoring fans who may remember the good times, but they love the team regardless. Our homecoming treat would be to make another step towards bowl eligibility by scoring a marque win. Chances of that, are slim.
All sides will need to be at 100% to give us a fighting chance. TerBush gets the start, but Marve will play more than clean up. Wiggs will be looking for blood and with a nice wind Hope better give the Homecoming crowd a chance to watch Wiggy make bank - #37for68
The Illini - 34
Purdue - 24
|Coming off the loss, Zook
will be intense
Zook's squad is good, but probably not as good as their record might indicate...much like PSU. But, unlike the Lions, they have a quarterback that will make defenses pay for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Like PSU, Illinois has a lot of team speed and they will blitz TerBush with regularity in order to make him rush his throws.
A lot of Boiler fans, myself included were shocked by how effective the running game was against PSU's vaunted front four. But Illinois has allowed fewer rushing yards than Penn State this season, so it gets no easier.
In spite of Illinois being tough against the run, I hope Nord has a plan that has a lot of Shavers and Bolden first and the pass second. While we've said this offense is struggling to find an identity, we all know that the run is its strength...and in the one game that Purdue didn't focus on the run in the first quarter, left Purdue beaten up and down by a couple scores.
I think the good guys will keep it close for a half, but Illinois will have a few big plays that change the complexion of the game. I don't look for the special teams units to play better, I am pretty much demanding it if Purdue is going to have any chance and winning the majority of the remaining games.
The Chef 36
There is a lot of optimism, such as it is, from Purdue fans about this game. I see many comments -- and have all season -- on this being one of the Boilers' potential wins this year. I find that hard to believe, but I guess given some of the other opponents, it's....sort of feasible.
Sometimes you hear coaching matchups referred to as a "chess match" between two very cerebral guys. This is not one of those matchups. Zook versus Hope is a street fight, with both guys ready to throw haymakers. I kind of picture them coming out of the tunnel the way Neo and Smith fought at the end of The Matrix in the subway -- just sprinting at one another and flying into the air...crashing into one another and continuing to battle, smashing one another through concrete with no apparent ill effects.
I understand everyone's comments that Zook is a weird coach and that his strange decisions could prove favorable for Purdue (such as punting on his opponent's side of the 50 or not knowing the score and making 2-pt play decisions based on that lack of knowledge). But if that's what we're hanging our hats on to hope for victory, then the situation is indeed sorry. When you look at a matchup, I think you need to make your prediction/expectation based upon what you know and what you think the two teams will do, irrespective of oddities. Assuming no field-tilting, head-scratchers, what do we think these teams will do against one another? Because, let's be honest...anything Zook can screw up, the Purdue coaching staff could easily equal or perhaps give back just a little bit more. And if they don't? Perhaps another anomaly from Carson Wiggs or someone else otherwise reliable...the point is, you can't predict based on the unknown.
So what do we know? We know that this Illinois team dump trucked Purdue last season in Champaign 44-10, with Scheelhaase tossing four TDs and rushing for 118 yards. That's pretty stout for a freshman and we know he's gotten better.
Now, granted, the game last year was in the middle of the Sean Robinson Experiment and so when your true freshman goes 7/20 for 52 yards, well....it's not going to be your day. Quarterback play -- and offensive play, in general -- would have to be better this year, one would think.
That said, Purdue is perhaps marginally better on offense and not much better (and perhaps worse) on defense. Illinois is a lot better team all around than they were last year. And the venue has changed. What does that add up to? Not good for our Boilermakers, in my opinion.
I agree Purdue needs to snatch this one if they want to feel good about their chances of making a bowl. And I do think a win is possible, as it's fair to question whether or not Illinois is as good as their 6-1 record indicates. But it's also possible that Boilerdowd could dunk under the right circumstances. Neither will happen Saturday.
The Fighting Zookers 34
The Fighting Boilermakers 16
Does a college team's historical performance really matter when there is complete turnover of a roster every couple of years? Some would say no, but it's hard to argue for Purdue winning this game when they've gone 1-22 in their last 23 games against ranked opponents. I think Purdue will struggle to contain a running quarterback given that they rarely provide any pressure up front in the first place. I also need to see a lot more from TerBush. Regardless of what the coaches want, I would rather have someone who can make plays as opposed to someone that always stays within the system.
This is the beginning of a very difficult stretch. Purdue has to win this game in order to have any chance at a bowl game this year. Will that provide any inspiration? Maybe. Hopefully the coaching staff will stop standing in the players way and will provide a gameplan that can lead to victory.
THE University of Illinois - 28
Purdue - 17