Since Purdue has no game this week, oh the humanity, I was able to take a look at some other teams in the B1G this week that generally play the same time as the Boilermakers. Notably I took time to watch the Boilermakers next foe, Nebraska. If you'd like to remain incredibly optimistic about Purdue's chances next week I'd recommend you just go ahead and skip this article and maybe watch this instead. Just saying Nebraska is good but probably more importantly they are good on offense where Purdue is weak on defense. Bad combination for fans of the Boilers.
if you're looking for more detail you did the right thing by moving down to this next paragraph. In case you've lived in a hole for the last, oh I don't know, 30 years or so Nebraska likes to run the ball and more specifically they like to run a read option. This is going to be struggle for the Purdue defense. Today Nebraska used this offense to great effect scoring 42 points against Rutgers. Yeah I know it's Rutgers but anytime you can score 42 points in a conference game opponents have to sit up and take notice and I'm sure that's what the Purdue coaches have done watching this Nebraska team on film. Nebraska ran for 292 yards and an astounding 7.1 yards per rush. Just a quick math lesson here to break up all the monotony of reading. You need 10 yards to get a first down. If you get 7.1 yards on first down that means for the remaining downs you need just 2.9 yards. That's not a good sign for the Boilermaker defense.
Purdue's struggles on defense and specifically against the run can be pointed squarely at the front seven. The linebackers are the main problem here for Purdue. Last week against Minnesota Cobb not only ran all around the field he literally was able to run over multiple Purdue players and barely slow down. I don't know what exactly happened, or didn't, during the Danny Hope era of Purdue football but recruiting linebackers clearly wasn't something he was very keen on. It doesn't help his case that Purdue's best linebacker was a converted QB. To make matters worse of course Sean Robinson is out for the season with the requisite Purdue ACL injury. So what do you get when you add up a porous Purdue run defense plus a depleted linebacking corps plus the best rusher in Nebraska history, Ameer Abdullah, and a quarterback who has great field vision and knows when to tuck and run? You get a Nebraska offense that is more than likely going to throw up big numbers against Purdue.
Not all hope is lost though. There are things that could possible be good signs for Purdue. I'm grasping at straws a bit here but much like Minnesota last week Nebraska does give up yardage. Against Rutgers the Cornhuskers allowed 348 yards. Rutgers isn't a world beater so that gives some hope to the Austin Appleby, Danny Anthrop, and Akeem Hunt led offense for Purdue. This is an offense that suddenly can score against good teams like Michigan State so we have every reason to believe that perhaps they can do the same to Nebraska.
One more slight positive is that Nebraska has a bit of a problem with turnovers. Right now they sit at 10 turnovers lost this season with five apiece coming by fumble and interception. Purdue has had good luck this year with interceptions and more importantly scoring off of those turnovers. If my memory serves me correctly only twice this year has Purdue failed to score off of a turnover and one of those came off of kneel downs at the end of the Illinois game. Purdue's best chance is to find ways to create turnvovers and convert those into points. Purdue's got their work cut out for them Saturday but stranger things could happen.