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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Northwestern Wildcats
Where and when: Ryan Field, Evanston, Illinois, Saturday, 12 pm EST
Rain is expected for a Big Ten matchup between the two bottom teams within the Western division in the Purdue Boilermakers and the Northwestern Wildcats. At 0-6 in the division, the Wildcats seek to win at home versus a Purdue team that they have dominated in recent matchups (winners of five straight contests, 2-0 in last two meetings at Ryan Field). PointsBet currently favors the Wildcats by 2.5 points while the total has been set at 38 points.
As stated, Northwestern is badly in need of a victory. Aside from being last in the West division of the Big Ten, they have not won a game since week-two versus the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV. Since, they have dropped six straight with their offense continuing their inconsistency while the defense has allowed an average of 31 points per game to opponents. Nonetheless, the Wildcats have been very successful versus the Boilermakers in recent meetings, as stated, as the offense has shined for an average of 30 points in the last five while holding Purdue to only 15 points per game.
However, despite the offense currently struggling, Northwestern will face a Purdue team with a laundry list of injuries on the defensive side of the ball. On the other hand, in spite of their defensive troubles recently, the Wildcats are ranked 36th in the nation in total points allowed (350 per). Furthermore, the Boilermakers will be without freshman QB Jack Plummer, who was injured in their last game versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers and will miss the remainder of the season due to a lower leg injury.
Purdue’s offense was certainly their big meal ticket throughout the season as Plummer and company were moving the chains to the tune of 301 yards per game. With two backups being on the injured list as well, the Boilermakers may have to turn again to walk-on Aiden O’Connell to lead the offense versus Northwestern. O’Connell began the season as the third-string QB for Purdue; However, his game-winning performance versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers last weekend was certainly memorable. It will certainly be exciting for players and fans of Purdue if he can put up a similar performance versus the Wildcats on Saturday.
Defensively, Purdue has been pushed around in the trenches all season in allowing over 160 yards per game to opponents while allowing teams to pass for 244 yards per. To make matters worse, safety Jalen Brown, linebacker Kieren Douglas, along with defensive lineman Branson Green are all questionable with undisclosed injuries. In three road games this year, Purdue has lost by an average of over 10 points; However, aside from a blowout defeat versus the Penn State Nittany Lions on October 5th, the Boilermakers lost by six to the Iowa Hawkeyes while falling by 3 points in week-one to the Nevada Wolfpack.
Please check back on Wednesday for full article concerning this Big Ten matchup along with updated stats, analysis, and prediction(s).
Wildcats desperately need some momentumNorthwestern may indeed have an opportunity to get back on track versus the Boilermakers, considering the visitors may be short-handed within their defensive unit, as pointed out. However, the Wildcats have not been able to move the ball all season as they are ranked 100th (or worse) in all major offensive categories on their way to posting an average of 9.8 points per game.
In fact, junior QB Aiden Smith and the passing attack is ranked 126th while throwing for 124 yards per game. Smith, since taking over in mid-September, has thrown for only 500 yards, total, while completing 47% of his passes for one score alongside 6 picks. Furthermore, Riley Lees, leading receiver, has accumulated a total of 192 yards for the season with no touchdowns. Nonetheless, with Purdue not being the most disciplined team on defense, the Wildcats may very well be able to make some headway versus that secondary.
However, the rushing attack for the Wildcats may be the key to them picking up a win in this matchup. As stated, Purdue continues to get smashed by their opponents when defending the run to the tune of allowing over 160 yards per game in 2019. Freshman Drake Anderson leads the attack for the Wildcats with three scores on the season along with 447 total yards from scrimmage. On the other hand, the problem on offense for Northwestern has been consistency as Anderson has not reached the 40-yard rushing mark in three straight contests.
Their defense is where they hang their hats as Northwestern is ranked 36th in total points allowed with 346 per. However, despite being much more consistent on the defensive end, the Wildcats have been a bit soft up front in giving up close to 160 on the ground to opponents as well.
O'Connell takes the keys to the offenseAside from former-starter Plummer being out for the season, receivers Mershawn Rice (questionable-hamstring) along with Jared Sparks (doubtful-ankle) hit the injured list this week as well as running back Ritchie Worship (questionable-knee). And while I have no idea as to how the once dangerous passing attack for the Boilermakers with O’Conner and company will perform versus Northwestern’s stingy defense on Saturday; Yet, I am sure that they must be able to rely on their rushing attack in order to keep the Wildcats honest throughout the contest.
The Jeff Brohm Show presented by Bob Rohrman Auto Group LIVE from the Stacked Pickle! https://t.co/eXclqi9czu— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) November 5, 2019
The problem is that the Boilermakers are ranked 129th in the country in rushing the football (77 yards per game). King Doerue leads the team with six touchdowns, including coming off a score along with 71 yards in the Boilermakers’ home win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers last weekend; however, the freshman is averaging a tad over three yards per carry on the season. Furthermore, offensive lineman Viktor Beach is questionable with a back injury for the Boilermakers.
As stated, they may not be able to rely much on what may be a short-handed defense, either, with key players questionable with injuries. Of course, this should not be a big surprise, considering that the defense has rarely shown up for the majority of the season anyways.
- No trends to report
- Boilermakers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Despite not covering the spread in either of their four home games this season, this will be the game where they Wildcats accomplish this task. Purdue is limping into this contest and will certainly take their lumps throughout this contest, particularly on the offensive end where they will face a relatively solid unit for Northwestern. The Wildcats have had their struggles with consistency as well; Yet, will find just enough opportunities, in the end, to cover the small spread versus the short-handed Boilermakers on Saturday.
Prediction: Northwestern Wildcats -2.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Thirty-eight points is ridiculously low, even for two struggling offensive squads for the Boilermakers and Wildcats. However, I happen to feel as though Northwestern will have success both on the ground as well as in the air versus Purdue on Saturday, as the Boilermakers have proven that they are inconsistent in both areas. They say that the ability to run the ball can be golden in football. And while the Wildcats have been horrible offensively, expect their rushing attack to open up some opportunities often during this contest as I will side with the over in this instance.
Prediction: Over 38