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Purdue Football: Keys to Keeping the Bucket

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It is win the bucket and get a bowl berth or bust.

Wisconsin v Purdue Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

It is the Bucket Game. One of the best rivalries in the Big Ten, both teams on the verge of a bowl berth. Both want to the bucket and a bowl, but only one will win.

We were in this same situation last year, then came the Purdue blow out. Will the same thing happen this year? Who knows.

There is a lot on the line. Brohm. Bowl. Bucket. The three B’s of Thanksgiving Week.

So, what are the keys to keeping the bucket? I am here to tell you.

  1. Stop the Run. - This has been our defense’s Achilles heel our last two weeks. Wisconsin and and Minnesota both have destroyed us running the ball. IU, who have a freshman that is over 1,000 yards on the season, will look to establish the run with their young back and read option offense with Ramsey. This will be a key to winning the game, if we do not stop the run again, we will struggle.
  2. Establish the Run. - In our losses this year, there has been one major trend. We haven’t ran the ball well at all. In our wins against top 25 teams, we ran the ball great, against Iowa, Ohio State and Boston College, Purdue established the run early and had a more balanced offense in those games. When we are one dimensional, we tend to lose those games, and they really are not that close.
  3. Win the Special Teams Battle - Again, we win football games when we win this part of this game. What we will need is a great return game to win the field position battles. Rondale Moore had a touchdown last week that was negated on a holding penalty. We need those type of big returns in both the kick return and punt return game this week. IU will try and work the clock a bit to keep our explosive offense off the field. If we stop them, we need to get major yards on returns.
  4. Linebackers, please show up. - The linebackers have been pretty quiet the last few weeks. Barnes, Jones and Bailey have all just been okay. This is a major concern, as when they do not play well, our defense gives up a ton of rushing yards. Again, for like the 3rd time, we have to force IU to throw the ball this week and we will be in good shape. We cannot afford to give up over 250 yards rushing, again, which has become commonplace.
  5. Rondale Moore - We could put this for any game. Rondale is vital to the success of the Purdue offense and special teams. Rondale is the one who drives this train. The freshman is now leading all freshman in receiving yards, catches, all purpose yards and touchdowns. He is the most important player on the Purdue roster and the most talented, it isn’t even close. If Rondale has another huge game, we will have a great chance to get the bucket and a bowl berth.