Jumbo Heroes (6-6):
Well, with my pick of Purdue over IU hitting last week I officially attained bowl eligibility. Sure, I might be going to play in the Detroit (insert sponsor name here) Bowl but I’ll take it. This Purdue team is so hard to get a read on. They have looked very good in spurts and downright awful in others. It’s that inconsistency that I think spells their doom for this game. I think Purdue has a puncher’s chance but maybe not enough to convince me to choose them here. Listen to today’s podcast episode if you’d like to hear more.
This is likely Jeff Brohm’s biggest challenge up to this point in his coaching career. I’m not sure UM is as good as they were last year but they are still an incredibly talented and fundamentally sound football team and I think last week against OSU showed that. If Purdue wants to win this game it will take a night like in 2018 against OSU type of aligning of the stars to happen. The fact that Purdue has little to lose and everything to gain will be a help to them as they tend to come out of the gates better when that is the case.
Blake Corum will miss this game and the rest of the season due to needing surgery and that is definitely something to watch for but that made little to no difference last week for the Wolverines against OSU. Purdue and OSU have similar defensive numbers against the rush so the key may in fact be holding the passing game from J.J. McNamara into check. If Purdue can hold them under 150 passing yards, prevent big plays over the top and get multiple turnovers, I’d like to think they have a shot here.
The reality is though that this Purdue team is wildly inconsistent, not only from game to game but from half to half and even quarter to quarter. Michigan is simply the better team and I don’t see a place where Purdue has a distinct advantage they can use consistently throughout the game. If Michigan can throw the ball down the field and pair that with as good a rushing offense as there is in the country, this could be a replay of many of those Wisconsin games under Darrell Hazel where Purdue just looks inept.
Well, all logic points to Michigan steam rolling Purdue. They don’t really have a weakness on defense and have a top 3 Big Ten QB on offense to pair with a great, albeit backup, running back. But screw it, AOC plays the game of his life, the defense forces 3 turnovers, and I’m going full homer.
This one is tough, Garrett and I have looked at this one from every angle, searching for a path forward. It’s going to take Purdue’s A game and Michigan B-/C+ game. Purdue’s best bet is trying to limit the run and hope Trice and CB2(whoever that may be) hold up relatively well in man cover coverage with little safety help. Consider Michigan a vintage Wisconsin team but with a quarterback and receivers. For that reason, I’m holding my nose and taking the Wolverines.
This will obviously be our toughest game yet and on the big stage. Michigan loves to punch you in the gut with their run game and wear defenses down. Lucky for us, their starting running back is out for the game Saturday. But behind him is Donovan Edwards who is averaging 7.5 yards per carry (doesn’t seem like much of a backup). Purdue fairs better with teams that try to beat you on ground and I think our defense has shown up with some big time plays when needed. But I don’t think this is going to be a defensive showdown, if Purdue wants to win, we’re going to have to outscore them. AOC is due for a big game and Purdue has been known to step-up when they face stiff competition. With the entire Boiler nation behind them and maybe a few trick plays from Brohm Purdue may just shock the world again. Purdue wins this one with a field goal and Fineran redeems himself.