Quarterback Tanner Lee and the Nebraska Cornhuskers try to salvage their season when they head to West Lafayette to play returning star rusher Tario Fuller and his Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network (live stream)
Mike Riley’s tenure as head coach has thus far been a disappointment for Cornhusker fans everywhere. Nebraska’s coach has not inspired much confidence or reverence in his team’s abilities. Still, Nebraska sits in a tie for second place in the Big Ten West.
To stay in that position, Nebraska will need improvement on a defense that allows 395.4 yards per game and 30.9 points per game. The Cornhuskers struggle to stop anyone, and they won’t be able to beat Purdue in a shootout with their middling offense. The tone of this game will be set by how well Nebraska plays defense.
Unlike Nebraska, Purdue feels it has its coach of the future in Jeff Brohm. Even though the Boilermakers were crushed by their loss to lowly Rutgers, many still have faith in their new coach and his program.
In the second year of his rebuild, Brohm — an offensive specialist — has not had a spectacular offense. Purdue has averaged 24.1 points per game, ranking fourth worst in the Big Ten. The Purdue offense hasn’t even been able to live up to that scoring average. In the last two weeks Purdue has scored only 21 points and had just one successful trip to the red zone. Purdue’s offense has been out of sorts for weeks, but Nebraska’s defense might be just what the doctor ordered.
Time, TV Channel, and streaming info:
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- Location: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
- TV: Big Ten Network
- Stream: BTN2go.com
- Odds: Purdue is favored by 3 points vs Nebraska
Nebraska vs. Purdue news:
- Tanner Lee and JD Spielman have combined for 475 yards and two touchdowns, and those two will need to continue to develop that relationship if Nebraska wants to win:
The Tanner Lee to JD Spielman combination could develop into one of the more exciting quarterback to receiver partnerships we've seen in quite a while. It could be historical. Unfortunately, one has to wonder if anyone will notice.
- A lot of talk at Nebraska has been about Mike Riley and how much longer he’ll be Nebraska’s head coach due to the team’s poor performance:
80% probability he’s gone. He might be able to save himself but his team better come around very very fast and win all its games except Penn State where they’d better at least be competitive. Other way he isn’t gone - if nobody else wants the Nebraska job, a distinct possibility.
99.5%. Sure, he COULD still pull out a winning season, but along those lines, I have all my eligibility left and COULD walk on tomorrow as a 53-year-old Slash Stewart QB/Flex Back and amass 1200 all-purpose yards in our last 5 games.
- It’s unclear who Purdue will start at quarterback: Either David Blough or Elijah Sindelar will be behind center. According to fans, Blough should be the starter:
OK, let’s break down the chosen starter. There is no doubt about this: David Blough has all of the leadership qualities you look for in a quarterback, on and off the field he appears to be best kind of teammate. He leads by example, sometimes not by play but by his attitude. Another pro for DB is that he has the ability to run, which is an important trait to have if 1. the offensive line allows pressure, 2. holds on too the ball too long (see cons), sometimes he relies too much on his running ability.
OK, so you guys said the backup should be Sindelar. Here is what I got on him so far this year. Elijah has a large arm, he can throw the deep ball with the best of them. This is for two reasons, 1. He has one ball speed and that is hard and fast, 2. He is a big imposing quarterback that can see down field better. He seems to be better at that than DB, but we lack big plays with both quarterbacks.
- Purdue’s defense shouldn’t have a hard time stopping the Cornhuskers offense. On the other hand, the return of Fuller could spell trouble for Nebraska:
Nebraska has struggled in the red zone (13th in the conference at 76%), stopping teams on third down (12th as opponents convert 46.6% of the time) and the run defense is uncharacteristically bad (165.9 yards per game, 11th). The only team in the conference giving up more points per game is Maryland at 36.7.
Can Fuller inject life into Purdue’s offense?
Purdue’s offense woes have been well-documented and it needs to figure out a way to score. Before he went out with an injury, Fuller had 261 yards on a 6.1 yards per carry average. Brohm should be running the ball all game against a defense that struggles to stop the rush. If Fuller can return to form, it should be another long day for the Nebraska Cornhuskers.
Nebraska vs. Purdue prediction:
This game is a story of two programs trending in opposite directions. Even with their loss to Rutgers, there is a lot of hope surrounding the Boilermakers, and Brohm has inspired confidence in the fan base. Nebraska, on the other hand, has its coaches ready to personally pack up Riley’s belongings and buy him a ticket away from Lincoln. I think these programs will continue to trend in opposite directions with Purdue picking up a victory over Nebraska.