It’s been a rough few seasons for fans of the Purdue Boilermakers football team. The question is, has the program finally bottomed out? First-head coach Jeff Brohm certainly hopes so. This year, he will look to turn around a team that has been the Big Ten’s punching bag for four straight seasons.
There is some solid talent returning, namely a quarterback in David Blough that threw for nearly 280 yards per game last year, but there are also a lot of holes to be filled on both sides. Brohm has focused on recruitment is hoping a mix of incoming and transfer talent can help Purdue become relevant again.
2016 Record: 3-9 SU, 5-7 ATS, 8-4 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 2.5
National Championship Odds: +500000
Odds To Win Big Ten: +20000
Purdue won just three games last season and went 1-8 against its Big Ten foes. The team’s only wins, against Eastern Kentucky, Nevada and Illinois, came in the first five weeks of the season and the Boilermakers finished the year on a seven-game losing streak.
The Boilermakers’ brightest moment last year was that 34-31 win overtime win against conference opponent Illinois on October 8th. At that point, the team was 3-2. But, after losing 49-35 to Iowa in the very next game, head coach Darrell Hazell was fired on October 16th and tight ends coach Gerad Parker was appointed the interim head coach.
Following another disastrous season, Purdue appointed Brohm as the new head coach on December 31st. Purdue has won just nine games in the last four seasons, including three conference victories.
On offense, the Boilermakers ran a one-dimensional offense that couldn’t protect their quarterback.
The defense really struggled against the run, allowing 238.4 yards per game on the ground, and finishing as one of the worst defenses in the country.
A capable quarterback is everything in college football. Okay, it’s not everything, but it’s one of the most important things and Purdue certainly has that in Blough. He threw for 3,352 yards and 25 touchdowns last season.
It was a strong performance by the junior the signal-caller, but it was dampened by these two stats -- 21 interceptions and 28 sacks. Protecting Blough is a must this season, and with an offensive line that remains in question with so many newcomers, it been an area of focus this offseason.
Graduate transfers Dave Steinmetz and Shane Evans add new depth to the position battles currently taking place on the offensive line. The O-line must improve for this offensive to succeed in the Big Ten and for Blough to continue his progression.
The offensive must also replace its top four receivers from last season, which won’t be easy. It does return tight ends Cole Herdman and Brycen Hopkins, however.
The ground game, which was nearly non-existent last season, should to be much stronger this season. It will be led by running back Markell Jones, who accumulated 616 yards and four rushing touchdowns last year.
On defense, the secondary looks strong behind senior corner Da’Wan Hunte, but the defensive line must replace some big playmakers from last season. The front seven loses star defensive end Evan Panfil and standout tackle Jake Replogle to graduation.
The good news for the Boilermakers is that the linebackers corps should be strong and is there is still a lot of talent waiting in the wings. Top returners include seniors Ja'Whaun Bentley and Danny Ezechukwu and sophomore Markus Bailey.
If Brohm’s track record is any indication, there is a lot to be optimistic about this season. The former NFL quarterback went 30-10 in his three seasons at Western Kentucky, winning two Conference USA titles.
The Big Ten is a much bigger, better conference, of course, so it remains to be seen how good the Boilermakers will be in 2017. The expectations are low so Purdue hopes to take baby steps forward.
Saturday, September 2: Purdue vs. Louisville
Friday, September 8: Purdue vs. Ohio
Saturday, September 16: Purdue at Missouri
Saturday, September 23: Purdue vs. Michigan
Saturday, October 7: Purdue vs. Minnesota
Saturday, October 14: Purdue at Wisconsin
Saturday, October 21: Purdue at Rutgers
Saturday, October 28: Purdue vs. Nebraska
Saturday, November 4: Purdue vs. Illinois
Saturday, November 11: Purdue at Northwestern
Saturday, November 18: Purdue at Iowa
Saturday, November 25: Purdue vs. Indiana
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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