Purdue Football: Slim bowl hopes rest on shoulders of Northwestern game

Purdue football travels to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats in hopes of keeping their slim bowl hopes alive.

What the Purdue Boilermakers did last weekend was nothing short of amazing. The Purdue roster has been ravaged by injuries.

Officially, the Boilermakers have six quarterbacks on their roster — Nick Sipe retired from football for medical reasons. They are on quarterback No. 3 after Jack Plummer, who stepped in admirably for the injured Elijah Sindelar, broke his ankle and will be lost for the rest of this season. Walk-on Adian O’Connell will start against the Wildcats this weekend with freshman Paul Piferi as second string, and junior Danny Carollo as the third-string.

This latest quarterback injury is in addition to the eight players out for the Boilermakers and the six players either questionable for Saturday’s game. Do the math, Purdue could have 14 players that are either starters or contributors to the team out for Saturday’s game.

Northwestern has been hit by the injury bug, but not to the extent that Purdue has. The Wildcats’ issue is they aren’t any good. Their offense is awful; they are averaging 9.8 points per game — let that sink in for a moment. The Wildcats’ leading receiver is averaging 6.9 yards per catch. For reference, Clemson running back Travis Etienne is averaging 9.0 yards per rush.

Here’s more information about the game:

Date: Saturday, Nov. 9
Time: 12 p.m. ET
Location: Evanston, Ill.
Venue: Ryan Field
TV: Big Ten Network
Live Stream: FOX Sports Go

Keys to Victory

If the Wildcats have a shot in this one, they have to muck this game up and make it ugly. They are going to have to find a run game and keep the ball out of Purdue’s hands.

If Northwestern can’t sustain drives, Purdue is going to wear down their defense and it’s going to be a long day in Chicago’s north suburbs. Purdue has to make sure they score points when they get a chance. They have a simple advantage: Northwestern doesn’t have much film on Aidan O’Connell, save the game winning drive he had against Nebraska. When you debut like that, you don’t know what you don’t know yet.

Purdue’s playing with purpose and the Boilermakers want the Old Oaken Bucket to have a chance at a bowl on the line.

Bettings Odds

Courtesy of The Action Network

Line: Northwestern -2.5
Over/Under: 39.5

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Unless they get Isaiah Bowser back in this game, I don’t see how Northwestern is going to score points. Even with Bowser, I don’t know how much of a difference it’s going to make. They can’t do anything on offense, and they are playing a rag-tag bunch that believes in their coaches and each other. Northwestern’s defense — which has been playing decent — keeps them in it, but wears down in the second half.

Final Score: Purdue 21, Northwestern 3