It’s finally game day...wait...checks calendar...double checks calendar...it’s Thursday? Yes, that’s right Purdue football is playing on a Thursday! I guess that’s...good? I’m not sure how I feel about it but I suppose it means I get Purdue football two days early so I’ll take it. As I’m writing this post I’m going to take the liberty of giving my prediction first. I’ve also included the previous season’s prediction record for each contributor
Jumbo Heroes (10-3)
Northwestern seems to start the season notoriously slow under Fitzgerald. Purdue football lost a lot of players on defense. Northwestern’s QB is coming off a knee injury in a bowl game. Both of Purdue’s QBs are coming off injuries suffered during the regular season. Purdue needs to find answers at WR, along the defensive line, and at linebacker. Northwestern lost their running back. What I’m trying to say is that neither team is perfect and both teams have problems. This may be a bit of a struggle for both sides but if I learned anything last year it’s that I should just trust Jeff Brohm with all my hopes and dreams.
I am assuming Clayton Thorson is going to play. That gives Northwestern their best chance by far and they have been practicing quite a bit. They lose an all-timer of a running back in Justin Jackson. The thing is, we stopped Jackson last year and Thorson threw for nearly 300 yards in the win. They still only scored 23 points, and I think the Purdue offense can do better. We have a ton of momentum right now and we’re playing at home. I think it is going to be an electric atmosphere much like last year against Ohio. The crowd puts us over the top.
Purdue is riding the momentum off of a bowl win. While we lost a ton on defense, we return playmakers at all positions on the offensive side of the ball and have some newcomers that will play vital roles. Defensively, I am a bit worried about what we will look like, but on offense we will score a bunch of points. I like Sindelar slinging the ball all over the field with the combination of Knox, Jones and Fuller running. The offensive line is improved, to the point where Shane Evans is a back up at both guard spots.
If Thorson plays, which is unknown at this point, this could turn into a shoot out. If he doesn’t, we should control the game with ease. I am thinking Thorson will play, but won’t be 100% quite yet. Playing at home under the lights will be a huge advantage for us. The atmosphere will be great, the band will be loud and the offense will be zooming.
As I said in the podcast (which you should listen to if you haven’t yet), I said this game would be a toss-up that could go in Purdue’s favor given that it is at home. Purdue also hasn’t lost a home opener since 2003 when they lost to Bowling Green. Of course, Northwestern is probably tougher than the usual Indiana State or MAC teams Purdue faces in home openers. I say Purdue wins a close one, as the clock runs out on a Northwestern drive to win the game.
This is going to be an old fashioned shoot out. I think it will go back and forth for most of the game, but Purdue will have enough in the end. Thorson is at his best moving out of the pocket and making plays. This is his first game back after a major knee injury. Even if he’s healthy, I question how much he will trust that knee in the first game. The Boilermakers should have enough fire power to pull it out in the 4th quarter.
Sports are weird. As much as the game takes place on the field, it often feels like there is a greater narrative at play. Last years 6-6 record and bowl game win felt like the first chapter in a new legacy of Purdue football. We are now bearing witness to the Coach Brohm era and this narrative makes a momentum building win to start this season off as necessary and fared. As always, belief is based off of nothing but hope and wants. And I want a win. This offense should be good all year. Brohms had half a year to plot. I expect Ross-Ade to be filled with the kind of fire that hasn't been seen since Brees. These are good days for the gold and black. It starts tonight.
Editor’s note: Holmes is a bum and only sent me a score despite asking to be included. Let’s see if he actually will read this post.