The bowl game is right about 48 hours away and I am so excited to watch our Purdue Boilermakers vs Auburn. For being only 6-6, I feel like there is quite a bit of hype leading into this game. Auburn was ranked high, like most SEC teams, to start the year, then expectations quickly fell, like most SEC teams and are now unranked.
But, there is a certain feeling about playing a team that just won a national championship, less than 10 years ago and appeared in another, that gets me ready to play these guys.
I have five things we should watch for during the Bowl Game Friday, that will be vital to the success of our Purdue Boilermakers.
- How will Auburn try and neutralize Rondale Moore - Teams have tried to do this all year, it just lead to Rondale becoing an unanimous All-American selection, with over 100 catches and over 1,000 yards as a true freshman. Will Auburn try anything different that any other team has yet to do? I doubt it. Teams have tried to cloud cover him with a safety over the top and man coverage to start, didn’t work, short routes won. Teams tried to go zone on his side of the field, didn’t work, he finds the holes. Teams tried to go just straight man, you know how it ended. So, what will Auburn try to do? My bet is they try to do some cloud coverage over the top of him with help underneath to at least prevent the deep ball and make him earn it on short catches. That is fine, I think he will still be effective.
- Auburn Defensive Line vs Purdue Offensive Line - Auburn has a couple of defensive lineman that are more than likely going to play on Sundays. Our offensive line will be up to the challenge, one is a defensive tackle, so he will see a bunch of Kirk Barron, Shane Evans and Dennis Edwards, three seniors that can be trusted. As for their defensive end, Grant Hermanns will be back and will do a good job on him. We often forget how good Hermanns is, as he tore his ACL last year and sustained another long injury this season, but he is an athletic, mean, Left Tackle.
- Special Teams - I think this will be pretty even. We both have struggled in the kick game, but, both have pretty good returners. Joe Schopper gives is the edge in the Punting game, as he is one of the best in the nation and can easily flip a field. They say you need to win two of three phases in a football game to win the game, we need to win this one.
- Will Jarrett Stidham show up for Auburn? - Stidham, the highly sought after JuCo quarterback a year ago has really been a let down for Auburn. They thought he would be the next great thing and he has failed to live up to those expectations. Which Stidham will we get? Will we get the one that has struggled all year or will we get the one who tore defenses up at Baylor and then in Junior College after the Art Briles fiasco.
- Jeff Brohm Effect - I will take Jeff Brohm over Gus Malzahn every day of the week. Gus has not met expectations there over since their last National Championship run and has become kind of mundane in their fan’s eyes. His offense has taken a step back and the defense has struggled in the SEC with all of those top tier recruits. Coach Brohm is winning with guys who, really aren’t even his guys yet. He is winning with upper classmen he inherited and that is just so impressive. I think the Jeff Brohm effect looms large in this one and he out coaches Gus.