-Boilers still waiting to see Kerrigan '09 look like Kerrigan '08
-True Freshmen Eric Williams and Kevin Pamphile might see the field
-After watching Keith Carlos on tape, I think he's due for more production as he seems to be getting more comfortable
-We'll be covering the game for the first time as members of the press (thanks to Purdue's Football S.I.D.)
-Ralph Bolden needs 180 yards to match the best three-game stretch ever by a Purdue running back
Purdue v. Northern Illinois Predictions
Taylor Gets More Action
Purdue is 2-0 against the spread (for those betting folk among you) while playing two pretty good teams, and should cover once again in this one. Purdue has an advantage in most offensive categories in this one, with the defensive units more closely matched, though still favoring Purdue. I think Purdue gets up early in this one and then lets off the gas a little to make the score appear closer than the game really will be.
Elliott needs to stop turning the ball over so much. I think this game will be a good step in the right direction in that regard. I expect Taylor to get more carries this week as Bolden gets a little break. I think we'll see more like a 1:1 ratio of carries between the two as opposed to the 2+:1 that we've been seeing in Bolden's favor.
Northern Illinois 17
No Let Down
As a Purdue football loyalists, I have been conditioned for a number of years to expect letdowns at every turn. After tough losses. After big wins. After good halves. After poor halves. After hamburgers. Before a roll in the hay with Tim. After Joe Tiller looks winded. Before Brock Spack sets the defense. You get what I'm saying.
So I look at this game and think about what we've seen in recent years. Purdue goes to a "tough" place to play in Oregon and appears to be the better team. Yet still manages to lose. Deflating? Often, yes. But we're hopeful that this team is more pissed off than deflated. Sometimes it's bad when you begin to think you're good. I think this team is irritated because they should be 2-0 and they're not. I don't expect them to look sleepy.
Would I be shocked if they came out flat? Well, sadly, no, because I'm used to seeing that sort of thing happen, as mentioned above. But I would be surprised if Danny Hope doesn't get this team fired up, either before the game or during it. Northern Illinois is a nice little program and they put a very respectable product on the field. So does Toledo, and the Boilers trounced Toledo with a vanilla offense and poor tackling.
The Boilermakers continue to make us proud, but to be fair, I'll allow that they let it turn into a shootout.
Northern Illinois 35
Kool-Aid Swilling Special
We all believe Purdue will win relatively easily...and we all believe the offense will score points. But, I think it all comes together tomorrow at Ross Ade as our Boilers defy some moronic pundits (quite early, mind you) who said Purdue would only win one-game all season.
NIU only starts 2 seniors on each side of the ball and the majority of their starters, are Sophs, including their quarterback. I've said it before and I'll say it again, BT teams shouldn't lose to MAC teams. Big Ten teams definitely shouldn't lose to young MAC teams. NIU's record versus the Big Ten is flat-out lousy. Some might say they're due, especially since they gave Wisconsin a good fight a few weeks ago and almost won a few last year. Almost doesn't count in football (as we Purdue fans know too well)...but almost isn't going to be in the building tomorrow.
Danny Hope is absolutely stoked to play this game...as he left the field in Oregon, he was already looking forward to getting the taste that the team acquired in Eugene out of their collective mouths. Werner, Williams, Elliott and others also reflected this attitude in interviews and comments this week. These guys are young and their lack of sleep 6 days ago matters little...and I don't have any reason to believe they're looking forward to the Manatee's squad.
Northern Illinois 17
Where the Wabash spreads its valley, Filled with joy our voices raise.
From the skies in swelling echoes Come the cheers that tell the tale,
Of your vict'ries and your heroes, Hail Purdue! We sing all hail!
Hail, hail to old Purdue! All hail to our old gold and black!
Hail, hail to old Purdue! Our friendship may she never lack,
Ever grateful ever true, Thus we raise our song anew,
Of the days we've spent with you, All hail our own Purdue.