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Coach Jeff Brohm excited the fan base as his first two years in East Lafayette produced 2 bowl trips. But the Boilermakers have gone 6-12 since then and seem to be treading water. The schedule is difficult and might be too much for Purdue to make up enough ground in the West.
Offense: Brohm has produced exciting offense in his tenure and there are two QBs returning with experience. Aidan O’Connell and Jack Plummer both played last year and Purdue averaged 309 passing yards per game. The receivers have a star in the making in David Bell (139 receptions, 15 TDs in his career. Zander Horvath and King Doerue return at running back and they combined for 1,334 yards rushing in 2020. The offensive line is the main question mark as only 2 starters return from last year’s team. The Boilers will have to retool and find replacements. But, all in all, the offense appears adequate to compete.
Defense: The defense will be under the guidance of the third coordinator is three years. Brad Lambert will try to get this side of the ball to play better than they have. They have second-team All-Big Ten George Karlaftis to build around upfront. DaMarcus Mitchell is an end/linebacker that can help a pass rush that only registered 5 sacks in 2020. They have two linebackers coming back and Auburn transfer OC Brothers was a star in the spring. The secondary returns CB Cory Trice and brought in two transfers that could step in and help also. On paper, the defense look better.
9/4 Oregon State
9/11 at Connecticut
9/18 at Notre Dame
The non-con schedule is not as easy as it looks. Oregon State comes in to open the season and they aren’t awful. This is a toss-up game. The trip to UConn should be a win but what if Purdue loses against the Beavers and are flat. And then there is Notre Dame and they probably ain’t winning that one. 2-1 would be nice but they could go 0-3 also.
10/16 at Iowa
10/30 at Nebraska
11/6 Michigan State
11/13 at Ohio State
11/20 at Northwestern
The schedule makers were not kind to the Boilermakers. They do have 5 home games and Illinois and Michigan State are critical games they need to win. Minnesota and Indiana are possible but can’t be expected and Wisconsin is a loss barring a huge upset. The road isn’t too kind either as they have trips to Iowa, Nebraska, Ohio State, and Northwestern. Getting more than one win out of that bunch is pretty far-fetched.
Summary: Purdue will probably be improved in 2021 but with their difficult schedule will that produce enough wins to become bowl eligible. They will need an upset or two along the way and then beat the teams they should. I don’t see it happening.
Predicted Finish: 6th Place in the West Division
Overall Record: 4-8
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