Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers Game Preview

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Purdue is favored by double digits at home versus Illinois and that’s very understandable, but consider this fact: Since the start of the Tim Beckman era and onward of Illinois football, the program has only gotten two wins or more against three league programs not named Rutgers.

Purdue is one of those, as the Illini have beaten them thrice over that span. They got win number three over Nebraska in week zero with Michigan State being the other team in the group. So Illinois has a real chance here.

Illinois Fighting Illini at Purdue Boilermakers FYIs

Kickoff: Bob rohRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRman Field, Ross Ade Stadium, 230 central

TV: BTN, unfortunately

Spread: Purdue -11

Illini 20 year anniversary of Big Ten Champs Exclusives: Brandon Lloyd   Kurt Kittner   Rocky Harvey

Fun Fact: Darrell Hazell is in the same category as Joe Paterno and Bear Bryant, at least on this dimension- the final victories for all three coaches came against Illinois.

Illinois Fighting Illini (1-3, 1-1) Preview

This is pretty much a must win, if you’re in the camp that still believes Illinois cold make a bowl this season. However, the UTSA loss cleared out much of that camp, with a few stragglers still hanging around, until the last couple of weeks.

A loss here means they’re done in that regard, because Illinois simply won’t be going 5-2 over the slate that remains. What happened to Brandon Peters last week?

Someone who has been in school since the Bill Clinton administration should not be producing statistics that dreadfully awful.

He has 5-star and 4-star talent everywhere, among the guys that are his pass catchers.

Illinois have guys that played or enrolled at Notre Dame, USC and Georgia among the tight ends and receivers, but maybe the problem is scheme?

If not, it’s Peters (a highly rated recruit himself) and that makes little sense given all his experience.

I’m sure, if you look in the annals of football history, you’ll find a worse 2 minute drill than whatever that was in the closing minutes of the home loss to Maryland last week…but it’s a struggle to think of one right now.

It was like something like a Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler football film, it was that bad. I almost thought I was watching the 1991 classic “Necessary Roughness” for a second.

The “final drive” included a completed pass to the center, which stood because it was in Maryland’s best interests to decline the penalty. It’s too bad the Illini couldn’t close the deal to achieve the upset, because a fine effort by the defense went to waste.

The defense, during the previous two weeks against UTSA and UVA looked 2003 or 2013 level bad, but they kept a very good MD attack in check; at least until the final minute.

We’ll see if Purdue is ready for a Bret Bielema defense to come out in a base 3-4, something that utterly puzzled Scott Frost, and forced him to throw out half his playbook.

We’re guessing Jeff Brohm will be better prepared than that.

jeff brohm

Purdue Boilermakers (2-1, 0-0) Preview

First off, WR supreme David Bell is okay, and that’s the most important thing, given how scary that scene at Notre Dame was last week. He’s in concussion protocol and questionable for this one. That’s a big advantage for Illinois, as he’s the Boilermakers’ best player not named George Karlaftis.

This series, believe it or not, is all knotted up at 45-45-6. It’s also exactly even Steven in both West Lafayette and Champaign. Bizarrely, the road team has dominated lately. The away side has won eight of the last nine- strange!

purdue boilermaker train track

The cradle of quarterbacks backed up the truck to pay Brohm, and that seemed like a good idea at the time.

The ungodly amount of money they allocated for him was to keep his alma mater UL away, and that made sense given how much he improved the program initially.

However, that progress has now plateaued and WL needs to get more ROI on him. Purdue fans are not content to just win 6 or 7 games and make a bowl every year. Boiler backers realize that with his type of salary, they should, sometime soon, have a season like 2019 Minnesota and contend for the west division title.

Or why not bubble up to 2018 or 2020 Northwestern levels and win the damn division? It’s consistently there for the taking, right?

Prediction: Purdue 28, Illinois 21

That spread really seems high, but at the same time I have zero faith in the visitors to spring the upset. Look for Illini leaders like Doug Kramer on offense and Jake Hansen on defense to keep it respectable, but unable to get over the line.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune.

Follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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