2011 Purdue Boilermakers Football
Bolden’s Return Helps Purdue Offense
For an offense that finished dead last in production and scoring last season, having your star tailback return to the lineup is a step in the right direction.
Junior running back Ralph Bolden will be back in a helmet and shoulder pads this Fall, after an ACL tear during a Spring practice in 2010 left him sidelined for the entirety of last season.
The 5-9, 190 lb. Jr. tailback was Purdue’s leading ball carrier and ranked third among Big Ten running backs in 2009, averaging 4.7 yards per carry and finishing the season with 935 yards. Bolden also ranked second in the conference in touchdowns with 11 (9 rushing, 2 receiving) and was a second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media.
Purdue was forced into a “running back by committee” offensive lineup last season. In addition to the loss of Bolden, running backs Dan Dierking and Al-Terek McBurse sustained minor injuries that left them in a cheerleader role for parts of the season.
Due to the injury bug forcing inexperienced players into starting roles, the Boilers finished last season averaging 311.6 yards of total offense and 19.7 points per game, both were good enough for last in the conference.
With Danny Hope yet to finish a season with a .500 record or better, Bolden’s return could provide Purdue with enough firepower to help Hope make a post-season appearance.
Purdue finished the 2009 season sixth in total offense with 391.3 yards per game and scoring with 27.8 points per game with Bolden as the primary man in the backfield.
Bolden’s productivity is not limited to the number of carries he receives, however. In 2009, Bolden also caught 20 passes for 261 yards and found the endzone twice via the passing attack.
Fr. Rob Henry (QB) led the Boilers in both rushing and passing last season but the re-admittance of Bolden into the lineup should relieve some of the pressure from the QB spot. Bolden’s return will also let Ross and Edison focus on running routes and catching passes, something they are much more suited to do.
Bolden’s landmark game came on the Purdue’s home opener in 2009 against Toledo. Bolden scored two touchdowns and amassed 234 yards, including a 78-yard jaunt to the goal line.
Bolden was named the co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week after the performance.
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