I have been including the staff predictions this year as part of the game's open thread, but with the new story stream I can get to it earlier and make it a prominent part of the Friday coverage. Three members of the crew have already sent me their predictions for tomorrow's game against the Thundering Herd, so here they are.
This game is chance for the defense to prove themselves. Yes, they did a great job stopping Notre Dame's powerful running game and gave their receivers trouble, but considering how stagnant Notre Dame has looked on the offensive side of the ball since that game, and the fact that Cierre Wood was suspended for that game, I'm sure some people will put an asterisk next to the defensive stats (but at least Purdue is the only team so far to score two touchdowns against their powerful defense). Marshall comes into Saturday's game as the best passing offense in FBS, averaging almost 385 yards a game, 51st in rushing, and 16th in scoring. This game will be a true test for the defense, and if they can hold Marshall to under 250 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, then I think they can make a case for having one of the best defenses in the B1G. Granted, if the defense gave up those numbers against other teams, I'd be like WTF, but considering how powerful their offense is, those numbers would be respectable. On the offensive side for Purdue, if they don't get more than 3 touchdowns against one of the worst defenses in the country, I'm going to be disappointed. I think this game will be back and forth for a little bit, but I think Purdue's defense will tire out their offense, and I think it's time for a Ricardo Allen or Josh Johnson pick-6. This game won't be over until sometime in the fourth quarter, but Danny Hope will enter B1G play with a winning record for the first time under his tenure at Purdue.
Purdue 38, Marshall: 24
The Thundering Herd have the best passing offense in the nation, as you probably have heard by now. Even with our great defense this year, it worries me. As bad as the Herd defense seems to be, I think Marshall comes out of the gate ready to go and takes a lead early. However, I see Terbush and the offense rebounding and having a big day with Purdue pulling away in the second half.
Purdue 37 Marshall 23
I think this game will be a good measuring stick for the team. They'll be more of a challenge than EMU or EKU, but we should still handle them comfortably. I think Marshall's defense continues to be leaky (43 points per game given up) and Purdue rolls up another big day on the ground. Caleb TerBush should have another passable day (see what I did there?) against them. On the other side of the ball, The D-line should get after Cato enough to limit their attack, but not completely shut it down.
Purdue 41, Marshall 24
I think the key to Saturday's game is for the defense to play tight coverage and force Cato into making mistakes. If they can do that, stopping the run shouldn't be hard to do as well, especially since Marshall's offensive strong suit is the pass. On top of that, I expect our offense to have a solid day. Caleb TerBush won't put up huge numbers and Akeem Shavers won't get a ton of touches, but most of the time our offense is pretty good at two very important things: clock management and securing the football. Overall, we have some impressive weapons on the team this year, and I just don't see Marshall getting the better of us, on either side of the ball.
Purdue 42, Marshall 10
Purdue faces a pass happy offense this Saturday, but with one of the best defenses in the conference we should be fine. Marshall's defense is incredibly weak and Purdue will definitely take advantage of that. Look for Antavian Edison, Akeem Shavers, and TerBush to have good games. We need to keep the momentum going with the ground game as well. I see this as another win for Purdue where we have little trouble putting points on the board.
Purdue 41, Marshall 21