The Penn State Nittany Lions have found much success against the Purdue Boilermakers in recent years. Since the Nittany Lions joined the Big Ten, they are 12-2 against the Boilermakers. Last season, Penn State dominated the game at Purdue, winning 34-9. This year, former Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell takes over at Purdue.
- Coach – Darrell Hazell, 1st Year
- 2012 Record – 6-7
- Key Departures– RB Akeem Shavers, QB Robert Marve, WR Antavian Edison
- Key Returnees– SS Landon Feichter, LB Will Lucas, CB Ricardo Allen, RG Justin Kitchens
Purdue struggled as a team last year, but the offense was a bright spot. The Boilermakers were fifth in the Big Ten in total offense and second in passing offense. Quarterbacks Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush both took snaps and were able to put up solid numbers. Marve threw for 1,734 yards and 15 touchdowns, while TerBush put up 1,150 yards with 12 touchdowns.
This season, both quarterbacks are no longer around. The likely replacement is Rob Henry, who put up 996 passing yards and eight touchdowns in 2010. He missed the 2011 season with an injury and saw limited playing time last year.
Also gone from the offense this year is leading rusher Akeem Shavers. He rushed for 920 yards with six touchdowns in 2012. He’ll be replaced by Akeem Hunt and it’s yet to be seen if he’ll be able to handle the featured back duties.
It’s bad enough to lose the top quarterback and running back, but Purdue also has to make up for the loss of leading receiver Antavian Edison. Gary Bush and OJ Ross will be the starters. Bush was second on the team last year with seven receiving touchdowns.
The Boilermakers have to replace a lot of talent and experience on offense. Don’t be surprised to see them struggle to put up points this season.
Let’s face it, Purdue was awful on defense last season. The Boilermakers ranked 11th in the conference in total defense and gave up 31.2 points a game. This year, several starters return and they will look to make an improvement.
The strength of the defense this year will be the secondary, as three starters return. Strong safety Landon Fietcher will once again play a pivotal role. Last season, he led the Boilermakers with 80 total tackles and four interceptions. Cornerback Ricardo Allen is a playmaker who will take a lead role as a senior this season.
Purdue also returns defensive end Ryan Russell, who led the team with four sacks and linebacker Will Lucas, who recorded 66 tackles in 2012.
Purdue has made it to a bowl in each
of the last two seasons. However, 2013 clearly looks like a rebuilding year. The Boilermakers will be adjusting to a new system, while replacing a lot of key starters on offense.
The schedule has Purdue taking on some of the best teams in the conference, as well as the traditional noon-conference tilt with Notre Dame. Trips to Wisconsin and Penn State always prove tough and this year will be no different. Games with Michigan State, Ohio State and Nebraska will also be very difficult.
It seems unlikely that the Boilermakers will qualify for a bowl game. This team could realistically be looking at just a three or four-win season.
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