Purdue Preview

Michigan will travel to the State of Indiana for their third game this season on Saturday. They are 2-0 with victories over Notre Dame and Indiana, and are 13 point favorites to win in West Lafayette. Purdue has defeated Michigan in the last two seasons under Danny Hope's leadership, 38-36 and 48-42. While Michigan leads the series against Purdue, 41 of 55 games; they have only won 14 of 23 in West Lafayette and 11 of 18 in Ross-Ade Stadium. In close games in the series, the record is 10-10 between the schools when the victory margin has been 7 points or less, and in games decided by 3 points or less, Purdue hold an 8-7 advantage.

On offense, the Boilermakers have been decimated by injuries; as a result, they have the worst offense in the Big Ten in total, scoring and passing offense. They also have the worst offense in first downs and 3rd down conversions in the Big Ten. They lost first string quarterback, Robert Mavre, Backup Quarterback Rob Henry, starting running back, Ralph Bolden and wide receiver, Keith Smith. The Boilermakers plan to start Freshman Sean Robinson for the second week in a row. Against the Badgers last week, he completed 19 of 38 for 141 yards and a TD, but had 3 interceptions and 3 sacks. Redshirt Freshman Skyler Titus is his backup. Their leading receivers are Senior Cortez Smith, 5th Year Senior Tight End Kyle Adams, Sophomore Antavian Edison, former Quarterback Justin Siller and Freshman O.J. Ross. There is no doubt that it has been Purdue's lack of a passing game that has caused their overall offense to sputter. They have only 8 passing TDs in 9 games. Senior Dan Dierking is their leading running back; he has 458 net yards in 83 carries for a 5.5 yard per carry average and 3 TDs. Keith Carlos is his backup. Their offensive line is good; they average 173 net yards rushing per game. They have 5th year Senior Justin Pierce at Left Guard, Junior Dennis Kelly at Left Tackle, Sophomore Peters Drey at Center, Junior Ken Plue at Right Guard and Junior Nick Mondek at Right Tackle.

The Boilermaker defense is led by Senior Defensive End and Captain Ryan Kerrigan. Kerrigan leads the nation in tackles for loss and sacks, and is a finalist for the Bednarik and Butkus Awards. Kerrigan is a one man wrecking crew; he has 8 sacks, 19 tackles for loss and 3 forced fumbles, and could easily knock a quarterback out of a game, perhaps two. Junior Gerald Gooden is the other Defensive End, Sophomore Kawann Short and Freshman Bruce Gaston are the Defensive Tackles. Short has 13 tackles for loss, 7 passes batted down and 6 sacks. Robert Maci may also see action at Defensive End. Sophomore MIKE Linebacker Dwayne Beckford is their leading tackler. Junior Joe Holland is the WILL Inside Linebacker and the Outside SAM Linebacker is 6th Year Senior Jason Werner. Freshman Will Lucas may see actin at Linebacker. Freshman Ricardo Allen and Sophomore Josh Johnson are the cornerbacks, Junior Logan Link is the Strong Safety and Junior Albert Evans is the Free Safety. Junior Charlton Williams may also see action with multiple receivers.

Purdue's Special Teams are about as bad as ours. They are ranked 105th nationally in punt returns, and 112th nationally in kickoff returns; we are ranked 78th and 95th in both categories. They are ranked 65th nationally in net punting, and we are ranked 62nd. Junior Carson Wiggs is their placekicker; he has made 10 of 14 field goals including a 49 yarder. Freshman Cody Webster is their punter. Junior Waynelle Gravesande is the punt returner. O.J. Ross is their kickoff returner.

Michigan is sky high coming off a huge win against Illinois. Is this the week that the defense gains confidence after the big stop in triple overtime against Illinois? Our offense has improved, and can roll against anyone while Purdue will be hard pressed to mount an offensive attack. They should not come close to their output against Michigan in the last two years of 48 and 38 points while Michigan should score even more than their previous 42 and 36 points. One must like our chances to win this one, and go 7-3 on the season with closing games at home against Wisconsin and on the road against arch-rival Ohio State. Go Blue!!!

Michigan 52 Purdue 20