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Nebraska At Purdue 2013: H&R Staff Picks

The staff of Hammer & Rails is not optimistic going into Saturday's game with Nebraska.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

It is that time of week again as the writing staff here (and select others) make thier picks for the week's game. As expected, they are colored red:

Rachel Van Gessel

Danny Etling is our QB and things are looking up. Etling and company have a tall task trying to take down the Nebraska Huskers. Nebraska has one of the top running games in the country. We haven't fared well defending the run this season. That said I don't think Nebraska is going to put up the same number of yards that Wisconsin hung on us. I think it would be impossible for us to tackle worse than we did in Madison. Putting Danny Etling under center is a great, great thing for us. First of all, he can throw the ball farther than 10 yards. Losing BJ Knauf hurts, but having Dan Monteroso on the field for the first time this season will take some of that sting away. Our backs also stand to benefit from the quarterback change.

We've had two weeks of preparation for this game and I think we'll be able to do some nice things. It's pretty much understood that having Etling at QB makes us better. We'll have to wait and see how much better... Maybe I'm just being too optimistic and/or gullible believing a bunch of hype about Etling and the progress we've made during the bye week, but I think we'll pull out a close one. Also writing up losses is getting old, gotta mix things up. Purdue 31 Nebraska 28.

Paul branham, Pilot, Boilermaker Special VII

Purdue is fielding a very young team as the coaching staff looks to the future, so expect to see some mistakes this weekend. Hopefully, these mistakes will diminish over the course of the season as each player matures through good coaching and learns from those mistakes. Danny Etling acknowledged that he's going to make mistakes, but one of his top priorities is to avoid making the same mistake twice. On that note: Since coming into the spotlight, several articles have been written about him and his path to play football. If you haven't yet, do yourself a favor and go take a look at some of these articles. Based on what I have seen and read of him so far, Etling has three attributes that make me excited for the future of Purdue football: a cannon of an arm, a winning mentality, and he doesn't take "no" for an answer. I don't know how long it will be before we see dividends on this, but it's hard not to be excited about his potential and the team we can build around him.

As for the game itself, I just hope it doesn't look like a Nebraska home game in the stands like they did to Notre Dame back in 2000 ( They aren't ranked #1 in the country this time around, but they still travel well. They also are probably aware that Ross-Ade Stadium is the only remaining Big Ten venue in which they have not won, so they are looking to make history on Saturday. It's going to be a battle of freshman QBs, so that should be interesting, if nothing else, but Ameer Abdullah is one heck of a running back, and he's probably going to get to the second and third levels of our defense all day unless something magical has happened in Mollenkopf since letting Wisconsin part the red sea. If our defense has no answer for the running game, Tommy Armstrong won't even have to shine in order for Nebraska to win. However, I think Danny Etling can keep the offense energized enough to at least keep us within striking distance. Growing pains may seal our fate late though. In a game where both defenses could struggle, I expect a fairly high score. Maybe not quite a Matt18Jones basketball score, but high. Nebraska - a lot, Purdue - a little less, but still covering the spread.

Thomas Chapman

Nebraska 35 Purdue 17


It is a freshman QB battle as Tommy Armstrong Jr. will get the start for the Cornhuskers against our own Danny Etling. The Boilers have had a week off to prepare for a return to Big Ten play and the crazy thing is that even though Purdue has looked bad, I can be talked into beating each of our remaining seven opponents in a one game situation:

Nebraska - Shaky defense and freshman QB in his first road start.

Michigan State - More than questionable offense.

Ohio State - We own them in Ross-Ade for reasons no one knows.

Iowa - AIRBHG struck down Weisman and their offense is very vanilla.

Penn State - They somehow couldn't run the ball on Indiana.

Illinois - Was their early season run a little premature?

Indiana - They're Indiana.

Yes, those are shaky reasons at best and Purdue has to play a lot better than it has, but what else do we have to hope for at this point?

In truth, We're heavy underdogs for a reason here. Ameer Abdullah is possibly the best back in the Big Ten and we've already been shredded by his competition for that honor, Melvin Gordon. Purdue's experienced players continue to be pushed aside for freshman as Hazell is clearly building for the future with his guys, but they are limited at this point.

Purdue probably has to play a near perfect game on both sides of the ball, and I don't think they are capable of that just yet. Nebraska 41, Purdue 24