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2018

Purdue

College Football

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Things went to plan for Jeff Brohm in his first season with Purdue and that led to a 7-6 overall record that included a bowl win over Arizona. Because of that, Brohm was given a two-year extension through 2024 for the Boilermakers. But while this team improved last year, it’ll be tough to improve this year, especially with so many guys gone on the defensive side. It doesn’t help that both of their quarterbacks are returning from injury. Somewhat surprisingly, they were tied for the third-best odds in the Big Ten West coming out of the spring (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) slightly above Northwestern and tied with Iowa.

David Blough returned from ankle surgery and returned in the spring, but he lost the spot to Elijah Sindelar in 2017, who won’t be ready until the fall because of a torn ACL. Purdue’s offense managed 24.2 points per game last year and while that was an improvement, Brohm wants a little more from this group. That could be possible if everything works out at quarterback, especially with the line being in a much better situation than a year ago. That should help the Boilers find more consistency earlier in the season after they started 3-5 with a couple disappointing losses. To help, most of the skill players return with the backfield loaded between Markell Jones (566 yards) and D.J. Knox (561 yards), but also all of their backups. A couple receivers are gone, but top guy Jackson Anthrop (47 receptions) is still there with Terry Wright, Isaac Zico and the tight ends of Brycen Hopkins and Cole Herdman. As long as the quarterback position gets settled, this offense should be better.

The question is if the defense can be just as good after giving up less than 20 points per game, a massive upgrade from the 2016 squad (38.3 ppg). Unfortunately, a lot of those guys are gone and there could be freshmen starting at every level, which will have its ups and downs. The hope is that linebacker Markus Bailey can keep things flowing in the right direction with tackle Lorenzo Neal up front. Outside of those guys, there’s limited experience almost everywhere else in the lineup. Freshmen Jeff Marks and Giovanni Reviere are expected to see relevant time up front and the same goes for cornerback where Dedrick Mackey and Kenneth Major are both slated to start as freshmen. 

Reaching a bowl is the goal for Purdue again and this time around it may have to be the offense that gets the team there. That’ll be most important in the start of the season with the Boilers opening with fourth-straight home games against winnable competition, albeit they could be underdogs in three of them. Even if they can grab two wins from those, that’d be a good sign for the season. Of course, that also means they’ll have to win a game on the road against a team like Illinois, Minnesota or Indiana, unless they plan on upsetting Ohio State or Wisconsin in West Lafayette. The oddsmakers don’t have a ton of faith in the Boilermakers mainly because of the defensive side, but Brohm is an offensive specialist and should get this group churning more so than a year ago, especially with two quarterbacks in Blough and Sindelar, who know the system.

 

2018 Purdue Boilermakers Football Schedule

Aug. 30 vs. Northwestern

Sept. 8 vs. Eastern Michigan

Sept. 15 vs. Missouri 

Sept. 22 vs. Boston College

Sept. 29 at Nebraska

Oct. 13 at Illinois

Oct. 20 vs. Ohio State

Oct. 27 at Michigan State

Nov. 3 vs. Iowa

Nov. 10 at Minnesota

Nov. 17 vs. Wisconsin

Nov. 24 at Indiana

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