Purdue comes to Piscataway with a 1-2 record in Big Ten play and a 3-3 record overall this season. They are much improved under first year head coach Jeff Brohm, who has resurrected the program and generated a pass heavy attack on offense. Rutgers looks to put together their first ever Big Ten winning streak, after finally breaking through against Illinois last week. Purdue is currently a 10 point favorite in this matchup. Which way will this game play out on Homecoming tomorrow? Our staff give their take on Purdue at Rutgers here.
David Anderson: Last week I did have Rutgers winning, barely. Getting the monkey off the back was huge and seeing a win without Janarion Grant having to carry the team was borderline shocking. After Wisconsin did what Wisconsin does, pound the rock, Purdue is more banged up on the defensive front than earlier this season. Rutgers will have an opportunity to do what they want to do, gain some yards on the ground to set up reasonable down and distance. If Gio is 100% healthy and the crowd is actually into it, Rutgers probably has a slight edge at home.
Since neither of those are a sure thing, I have to give the edge to Purdue for the following reasons. 1. Rutgers simplified their playbook, and now Purdue has a week of film to study those specific plays in tremendous detail. Another identical counter to Raheem Blackshear anyone? 2. Purdue’s two quarterbacks have proven more competent throwing than any of the RU signal callers yet. They will not wait til the 4th quarter to attack an inexperienced secondary. 3. Building on number 2, if Purdue finds themselves trailing by two TDs, they have the firepower to come back with basic dinks and dunks to get into a rhythm before attacking. Rutgers dating back to 55-52 over Indiana in 2015 has shown nothing of the kind. And if Rutgers is down say 10 points at halftime, will they play to simply stay close until the bitter end? Prove me wrong, but as of right now, Purdue 31, Rutgers 20.
Jim Hoffman: I really, Really, REALLY want to pick Rutgers this week. There are some reasons that it would be OK to make the pick. Purdue’s rushing defense is weak, and we showed the ability to pound it against weak defensive lines last week. Raheem Blackshear’s ability to juke, and Gus Edward’s ability to power his way is a great 1-2 combo on the ground. However, that’s the only real positive. Our missing players in the defensive secondary makes our pass protection weak, despite the heroics of wide receiver-turned-strong safety Jawaun Harris. Our defensive line is pretty beat up, as is our quarterback corps. I can see us possibly scoring early in the game, and being worn down as the day progresses. All of that points to a good game in which we will end up on the short end. It pains me to say it, as I was sure this would be a W before the season began, but Purdue 23 Rutgers 20
David Brown: This will be the first meeting against Purdue in Rutgers history. It’s exciting because Rutgers doesn’t normally play this team. Despite both teams being in the B1G, this will be an uncommon matchup, which brings fresh air to High Point Solutions Stadium. These are two prestigious universities going head to head and it will be a great homecoming if Rutgers pulls a victory.
Rutgers finally knocked off the King Kong sized monkey off their back by breaking the 0-16 losing streak when they claimed victory over Illinois. Winning in the B1G is a big deal for recruiting and the outlook for RU fans. Can Rutgers repeat their performance with the stampede of a rush attack? Duplicating that type of performance could be challenging but not impossible. Blackshear and Hicks played extremely well in the win over Illinois and Gus Edwards showcased his tough north and south running. Robert Martin also played a significant role. A power run type of offense will take the pressure off the quarterback and hopefully lead to better looks downfield. The question will be, will Jerry Kill pass the ball more? Gio Rescigno and true freshmen Johnathan Lewis did not pass the ball as much as anticipated so the question mark from the QB position still remains. Though Gio Rescigno played very well during the Illinois game, it was a small sample that does not give a good indication for the Purdue game. That will be my only concern on offense is how well the QB will play against an improved Purdue Boilmakers team.
Another concern will be the defense. They are depleted and HC Chris Ash has no choice but to play what he has on hand.
Rutgers showed me that they have the ability to win. I am still waiting for WR Janarion Grant to have a breakout game. I am still waiting for a freshmen to have a sensational game, whether it’s on offense or defense. Rutgers does have the players to win some games and I think they will give the homecoming crowd a show with a victory. My prediction will be Rutgers 28 Purdue 21. Some of my faith has been restored but I must see a victory.
Cara Sanfilippo: I agree with Jim and David, although I do think coming off the win in Illinois, Rutgers will be pumped up and ready to continue the streak. On the other hand, Purdue almost beat Wisconsin who is currently undefeated. Our records are somewhat in line, gah, I don’t know. It’s so hard to make predictions at this point with all the injuries, not knowing what’s happening with Gio, Jawaun Harris having to play cornerback. I think we will fight hard, and it’s homecoming. I think it will be a close game, and we will play a full four quarters. In the end, it will be a heartbreaker. Purdue 24 Rutgers 17
Dave White: Homecoming. Rutgers coming off their first conference win. A rocking HPSS. And a 3-3 Purdue team rolling in. Purdue isn't a great run defending team. Rutgers is a good running team. Purdue, however, is averaging 26 points per game, so even when their defense is giving up long possessions, Purdue can still put up points. This game is a toss up for me, even though Purdue is favored. I think Rutgers comes out and pops the Boilermakers in the face and then hangs around for a long time. Think something like the Nebraska game. Purdue 28 Rutgers 17
Mike Voza: Perhaps I have been overly optimistic with some game predictions so far this season so I will apologize in advance if I sound pessimistic about the Boilermakers and I am actually hoping that I am wrong.
Purdue new head man Jeff Brohm is a offensive passing genius who makes former NFL coach Don "Air" Coryell look like a 1960's Big Ten play caller harken back the days of "3 yards and a cloud of dust".
Purdue QB David Blough has a 150 QB rating, the Boilermaker passing attack is completing 60% of their attempts for nearly 250 yards per game. On the flip side Rutgers pass defense is surrendering 370 yards per game. Good news is that Purdue is giving up nearly 400 yards per game. Purdue 41 Rutgers 38 in Overtime.
Patrick Mella: I wish I knew who was going to get the majority of the snaps under center, as that would drastically alter my prediction this week. But what we do know is that Coach Kill is intent on running the ball and throwing only when absolutely necessary. For one, it controls the clock and two it limits the chances of any of the three quarterbacks turning the ball over in the air, while preserving the stamina of their defense. If the offensive line can fire off the ball the way they did last week against Illinois, Rutgers has a chance. Granted Illinois is awful against the run, but Purdue isn’t much better. It’s pretty simple. If Rutgers can effectively run the game, they can win this game. If not, there’s really no “Plan B” to go to.
On the defensive side of the ball, Rutgers MUST get pressure on the quarterback or it’s going to be very difficult game for the defensive backs. They simply cannot allow the quarterback to sit in the pocket and pick the secondary apart. Luckily for Rutgers, Purdue gives up the most sacks in the Big Ten, averaging 3.3 per contest. This should allow Rutgers to get some pressure and force Purdue to throw the ball quickly, ultimately limiting the damage to the secondary. I’m very hesitant to pick Rutgers here but they’re a run first team, coming off a game where they ran very well, against a team this week that is very bad against the run. The defensive unit is what worries me most but It’s homecoming, the crowd should be into the game and this is most likely the last game they have a legitimate chance to win. If you’re not taking Rutgers this week then you probably aren’t the rest of the season. Rutgers 24 Purdue 21
TJ Jurkiewicz: We finally got one! Rutgers found its first conference win with Chris Ash at the helm last week in Champaign, Illinois and it could be a confidence builder going forward as they welcome Jeff Brohm’s Purdue squad this Saturday. The Boilermakers are playing really well this season and 8 wins isn’t out of the question as they have a very manageable schedule the rest of the way and they play sound, fundamental football. Rutgers getting to 4 wins would be a massive accomplishment after the disastrous start to the season and this is definitely one of the more “winnable” games left on the schedule. I think the Scarlet Knights offense is going to have trouble moving the ball in this one with QB Gio Rescigno banged up and going against a Purdue defense that has allowed just 21, 3, 28, 17, and 17 points respectively in their last five games. This line looks about right and I like the under a bit. Purdue 27 Rutgers 17
Aaron Breitman: I think this is a terrible matchup for Rutgers. I believe the Purdue defense is underrated and they were very impressive against Wisconsin. Mind you, the Badgers ran for 300 yards, but the fact is they only scored 3 points after the 1st quarter.
For Rutgers to win this game, they need several big plays on offense, which hasn't happened much at all this season. I expect Purdue to do everything they can to stop the Rutgers ground game and they'll likely be much more effective against our offensive line versus Wisconsin's.
In addition, the uncertainty of the health of our two mobile quarterbacks in Gio and Lewis is a major reason for concern. On the flip side, Purdue's strength is through the air and that is the weakness of the Rutgers defense. Our linebackers struggle in the passing game and our secondary will have just two regular starters on the field, best case scenario.
I hate to be so pessimistic after Rutgers finally won a conference game, and on Homecoming no less, but I think this will be a comfortable win for Purdue. So much so, that I'm actually nervous that the final score could get out of hand. Purdue 31 Rutgers 10
Bob Cancro: Rutgers and Purdue have never met on the football field. We have the element of surprise! I want to call for a two game win streak. I want to say that Ash will get the team motivated on Homecoming. I want to be 6’2”. The last thing won’t happen, the first two, ehhhh..... Purdue is a much better team this year than the last half dozen or so. But it isn’t Ohio State. Its passing attack is pretty good and our secondary is banged up. Purdue’s run defense, though, is no great shakes and we showed that, granted against Illinois, we can run the ball when we put our hearts, minds, and bodies into it. I don’t think it matters all that much who gets under center, although Gio certainly showed a poise and strength that helped the overall offense. We will run the ball. And if we can control the tempo and the time of possession, I think that, while I will never be 6’2”, we might get a two game win streak. Rutgers 24 Purdue 21
There you have it, 70% of our staff went with Purdue. Are we being too negative or realistic? What do you think will happen in this game? Sound off in the comments.