Normally we would not advocate watching another football game when Purdue is on, but this weekend can be an exception.
1. Purdue starts at noon (shocking) and LSU-Florida starts at 1pm
2. As a result, the competitive phase of Purdue-Wisconsin will likely be long over by 1pm and you can change the channel without guilt.
3. You have a damn smartphone! Set up a score alert and change the channel if a miracle occurs.
4. It’s the Boiler QB Bowl!
That’s right! In Baton Rouge on Saturday the hurricane delayed matchup from October 8 will take place between LSU and Florida. Because Luke of the River has been ineffective for the Gators Appleby is back behind center. He’ll face off against his old Purdue rival Danny Etling. And the Valley Shook, our excellent SB Nation LSU blog, even contacted me this week to talk about it.
Let’s look at how our former guys are doing:
Austin Appleby – Appleby has been the security blanket QB that has ended up playing because Del Rio has been banged up. He has made three starts, going 2-1 against Tennessee, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina. He also played at the end of blowouts against North Texas and Kentucky, but only attempts a total of five passes in those two outings.
His best game was probably his first start against Tennessee, where he got the Gators off to a great start before the defense collapsed. He was 23 of 39 for 296 yards and 3TDs with a pick. In his other two starts the offense has been hampered. He threw for 144 yards in a 13-6 win over Vanderbilt and 201 yards and two TDs in a 20-7 win over South Carolina. He officially has 671 yards and five TDs against only two picks, which is a vast improvement for him since he threw exactly as many TD passes as interceptions in his Purdue career.
The start last week against South Carolina was his first since October 1st at Vanderbilt and he was really accurate too, going 17 of 21. He even ran six times for 34 yards.
Danny Etling – Like Appleby, Etling was not the starter from day 1, but he took over for an ineffective Brandon Harris in the second game of the season and has not looked back. He now has seven consecutive starts and he is doing pretty well. He has yet to complete more than 20 passes in a game because of LSU’s run-heavy offense. He is doing what they need him to do, however.
Etling’s best game was an 11 for 18 performance where he threw for 276 yards and 3 TDs in a 45-10 win over Southern Miss. Just two weeks later he was held to 11 of 24 for only 92 yards, but htat was against Alabama, who is, well, Alabama.
His time away for a year allowed him to forget everything John Shoop attempted to teach him and calm his jumpiness from running for his life behind a terrible offensive line. At LSU he doesn’t have to be the star. There is a wealth of talent around him. He doesn’t have to be the single-handed savior that Purdue asked him to be.
On the season he has a career high completion percentage of 58.8% for 1,378 yards and 7 TDs. Those last two are still lower than his 2013 Purdue season, but remember: in his last game that year he threw for 485 yards and 4 TDs. He also only has four interceptions this year. As a bonus, he has positive rushing yards for the year with 30 yards and a TD.
What happens in this game? Do deposed coaches Darrell Hazell and John Shoop show up and try to mess with things since htey have nothing else to do? Do the two meet at midfield and shake hands before the game? Is the postgame a steel cage match between the two? Does Appleby win to give his team a Division title and a shot at Alabama? We’ll find out! It is probably going to be a lot more interesting than Purdue’s game. Tune in to SEC Network at 1pm.