Purdue Football 2020: Week 2 Matchup Preview – Illinois

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics

Kick Off

12:00 PM ET

Location

Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois (Cap. 60,670)

2012 Record

Purdue (1-0) 

Illinois (0-1)

S&P+ Rankings

Purdue- 36

Illinois – 75

All-Time Series Wins

Purdue- 44

Illinois- 45

Ties – 6

Last Win In Series

October 13th, 2018 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois (46-7)

October 26th, 2019 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana (24-6)

Projected Starting Lineups

Purdue

Offense

QB: Aidan O’Connell

RB: Zander Horvath

LT: Grant Hermanns

LG: Spencer Holstege

C: Sam Garvin

RG: DJ Washington

RT: Will Bramel

WR: David Bell

WR: Amad Anderson

WR: Milton Wright

Defense

NT: Lorenzo Neal

DE: George Karlaftis

DE: Anthony Watts

OLB: DaMarcus Mitchell

ILB: Derrick Barnes

ILB: Jaylan Alexander

OLB: Jalen Graham

CB: Cory Trice

FS: Cam Allen

SS: Brennan Thieneman

CB: Dedrick Mackey

K: JD Dellinger

P: Brooks Cormier

LS: Nick Zecchino

KR: Marcellus Moore

PR: Zander Horvath

Illinois

Projected 2 Deep for Illinois from Ourlads.com

2020 Stat Comparison

430PurdueIllinois
Offensive Points per game247
Offensive Rushing Yards Per Game104131
Offensive Passing Yards Per Game28287
Total Offensive Yards Per Game386218
Defensive Points per game2045
Defensive Rushing Yards Per Game195182
Defensive Passing Yards Per Game265248
Total Defensive Yards Per Game460430

What to Watch For

“Do or do not.  There is no try.” That is the motto I am applying to Purdue this season.  To be frank Purdue has a very good inside track to the Big Ten West title this year.  Purdue has already beaten one of three teams that would be considered contenders heading into 2020, Iowa.  The other two Minnesota and Wisconsin seem like manageable tasks.  Minnesota as I am writing this is currently down 21-7 against Maryland in the first quarter.  Needless to say Minnesota’s defense is spoty at best.  The Boilers will roll into Madison next weekend with the Badgers on an extremely short week of preparation and will likely be without starting QB Graham Mertz or his back up Chase Wolf.  Wisconsin will be on it’s 4th string QB when they face off against the Boilers.  Combine that with favorable crossovers against Indiana and Rutgers, Purdue seems to be looking good.  It would be very vintage Purdue for them to drop off against Illinois after a big signature win against Iowa last week.  This will be a test of Purdue’s culture they have built.  Do the Boilers have the focus to go in to Champaign and give Illinois their best and come out with a W?  Let’s find out.

On offense we do not expect Rondale to be returning to the lineup despite reports last week that he would.  Purdue will once again turn to David Bell to carry the load for Purdue on offense, but he will have a great cast of supporting athletes.  Milton Wright shined against Iowa, can he have a huge breakout against Illinois, I wouldn’t be surprised.  Can the Purdue offensive line open up the running game for the bull-like Zander Horvath again?  Can Jeff Brohm keep Horvath running north-south and bulldozing defenders?  Will Aidan O’Connell make better decisions in the pocket and settle in?  Great season debut for AOC, but he will need to improve and remain consistent.

Zander Horvath hurdles an Iowa defender on a 33 yard scamper (Purdue Athletics)

On Illinois’ defensive side of the ball the Fighting Illini seemed to be just one step behind the Badgers last week as Graham Mertz picked apart the Illinois secondary.  When Wisconsin is throwing all over you, you know you might have some serious problems.  The Illinois front seven is big and strong and could pose a threat to the Purdue passing and running game.  Will the Purdue offensive line be up to the test?  Purdue rotated many guys at the offensive line in last week and good thing because Cam Craig appears to be out at LG, he shined in the Purude’s win against Iowa.

David Bell walks into the end zone for his second touchdown of three against Iowa (Purdue Athletics)

On the defensive side, Purdue did well containing a stout traditional Iowa offensive line and running game.  The Boilers benefited greatly from penalties last week and were able to get off the field.  If Illinois plays a clean game can Purdue do the same a second week in a row.  DaMarcus Mitchell is the real deal, look for him and standout George Karlaftis to get to the quarterback.  Speaking of, Michigan transfer Brandon Peters returns to the helm of the Fighting Illini offense.  He didn’t look good in the opener, can the Purdue secondary shut down the Illinois receivers for a second week in a row?  Geovonte’ Howard thinks so, he says “Purdue has the second best secondary in the Big Ten.”  It’s not out of the realm of possibilities in week 2.

George Karlaftis celebrates a big play against Iowa (Purdue Athletics)

Bottom line is Purdue needs to win this game and keep the momentum rolling. Purdue hasn’t started the season with back to back wins since 2007, under Joe Tiller with Curtis Painter at Quarterback.  This will be a big test for Purdue’s culture and discipline early in the season.  Let’s see what these boys are made of.

Milton Wright snags one of 7 receptions against Iowa (Purdue Athletics)

Radio/TV

Radio: Purdue Radio Network

TV: BTN

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