2010 Purdue Boilermakers Football

Big Ten football fans

Purdue Boilermakers @ Michigan State Spartans Football Preview



The Purdue Boilermakers travel to Michigan State this weekend knowing they have to win their last two games to become bowl eligible.

While the Purdue defense has been good enough to get the job done, the offense will need to improve dramatically if the Boilermakers have any hope of overcoming the 12th-ranked Spartans (9-1), who are tied for first in the Big Ten.

Michigan State could take control of the Big Ten race with a win on Saturday.  If the Spartans win, and Ohio State loses at Iowa, Michigan State would have sole possession of first place, and would be one win away from locking up a BCS berth.

Michigan State is coming off a bye week.  In their most recent game, the Spartans blasted Minnesota 31-8, one week after suffering their first loss of the season, a 37-6 blowout by Iowa. 

The Boilermakers have lost four in a row, including last week’s 27-16 loss to Michigan.  The Purdue defense bottled up Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, one week after slowing down Wisconsin’s powerful attack, but the offense, young and decimated by injury, couldn’t put the Boilermakers over the top.

The injury woes continue for Purdue’s offense, which hopes to have Rob Henry at quarterback on Saturday.  The redshirt freshman has been limited the last three weeks with a finger injury suffered at Ohio State, forcing Purdue to turn to true freshman Sean Robinson.  In three starts, Robinson has thrown two touchdown passes and five interceptions.

Henry’s finger seemed to be an issue last week against Michigan.  He completed five of nine pass attempts, but made a couple of wobbly throws that were far off the mark. 

Henry was effective as a runner, especially when he lined up next to Robinson at running back, but opposing defenses know they don’t have to worry too much about the pass no matter who’s taking the snaps.


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It’s difficult for Purdue to break down opposing defenses with a one-dimensional attack, especially when it turns the ball over.  In losses to Wisconsin and Michigan, 38 of the 61 total points allowed were the result of turnovers.

Anything can happen, however, and the Purdue defense, led by standout defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, has proven over the past couple weeks that it can compete with just about anyone.  Michigan’s prolific offense struggled at Ross-Ade Stadium last week, and the outstanding offense of Wisconsin was hardly dominant the week before that, despite being the beneficiary of four takeaways, including three key second-half interceptions.  The Badgers and Boilermakers were dead even at 303 total yards each; the biggest difference in that game, a 27-16 Wisconsin win, was the turnovers.

Last November, Michigan State won a nail-biter at Ross-Ade to hand Purdue its seventh loss and make the Boilers bowl-ineligible.  Revenge would be sweet, but the Spartans might be the best team Purdue has faced this season, and it will take something awfully special for the Boilermakers to pull off the upset and keep their postseason hopes alive. 


By: James Lambert
DFN Sports Staff Writer



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