Purdue is not looking like the team capable of taking advantage of an easy Big Ten schedule after stacking up their second loss on the season, a heartbreaking last second 32-29 defeat to Syracuse has the Boilers at 1-2 with both losses a combined 7 points.
So it might make sense that even against a softer Conference USA team like the Owls, Purdue is only a 16.5 point favorite. Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
But Florida Atlantic hasn’t exactly been world beaters. They’ve lost to Ohio, Middle Tennesse State, and UCF.
But Purdue’s biggest strength might not be available this game - Aiden O’Connell is a game time decision with an undisclosed injury against Syracuse. The fifth year senior has led a prolific if not efficient passing game this season.
With O’Connell possibly out, you get a little extra juice and a few less points as Coach Brohm’s Boilers look to bounce back big under the lights in Ross-Ade.
If he does miss, you have to expect Brohm to go to senior Austin Burton in his place. Burton decided to stay at Purdue, you can reasonable assume, for this reason. He’s a change of pace quarterback at times in the offense with his ability to rush the ball, but it’ll be his first time with the keys and an offense potentially designed towards his strength.
Which is why you should take the Boilers gleefully. If O’Connell plays, expect a lot of Charlie Jones and a lot of Purdue’s front on defense controlling the game. Purdue’s been stout against the run, holding Syracuse’s dangerous running back last week Sean Tucker to 42 yards on 18 rushes. Purdue’s defense has been good enough all season as long as the opposing team wasn’t driving late in the fourth quarter that is.
Don’t expect the Owls to be able to keep up. Their offense is middling at best despite playing a not very impressive slate of opponents. They are 54th in yards and 48th in the nation in points a game. They’re completing just over 50% of their passes on the season while Purdue’s defense is holding teams to under 50% completions.
And if O’Connell can’t play, expect Purdue to have something they haven’t had all season - a running game. Burton provides Brohm an ability to design a running game around his quarterback. Purdue needs that blocking advantage to create lanes. Burton’s ability to move the sticks and Purdue’s play makers should be enough to give Purdue a comfortable lead going into the game no matter what, and throw in the energy of a night game for homecoming?
Give me the Boilermakers for a big bounce back before Big Ten action kicks up in full.