clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Game Day: Louisville vs. Purdue

New, 53 comments

Go Cards.

NCAA Football: North Carolina State at Louisville Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

NO. 16 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (0-0) vs. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS (0-0)

Game Time: 7:30 p.m.

Location: Lucas Oil Stadium: Indianapolis, Ind.

Television: Fox

Announcers: Tim Brando (play-by-play), Spencer Tillman (analyst) and„ Holly Sonders (sideline)

Favorite: Louisville by 25

All-Time Series: Tied 0-0-1

Only Meeting: Louisville and Purdue tied 22-22 on Sept. 19, 1987 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Statistics:

Louisville Depth Chart:

Purdue Depth Chart:

Relevant Videos:

About Purdue:

Via Keith Wynne

OFFENSE

Former Louisville quarterback Jeff Brohm was a hot name in coaching over the last few years before he decided to take a surprising jump to Purdue. Brohm’s offense put up video game numbers at Western Kentucky and he was on the radar for a handful of schools this off-season. Purdue had plenty of success back in the 90’s under Joe Tiller and his pass-happy offense, so maybe Brohm saw that possibility.

Purdue has been flat out bad for about a decade due, in part, to the inability to recruit. Purdue went from having guys like Drew Brees and Mike Alstott to struggling to have guy even get a sniff from the NFL. You can blame some of that on the Big Ten in general, but I think the issue is that Purdue hasn’t been able to find those underrated kids that turn into key players. Brohm’s system finds those types of kids and fits them into what he does. He showed that over the last few years and his early recruiting at Purdue shows he’s continuing that trend.

David Blough is arguably the best player on Purdue’s team and he just happens to play the most important position. Blough led the Big Ten in passing yards per game as well as attempts per game. Blough is a “gunslinger” type of player that gets the ball out of his hand as quickly as he makes the decision to throw it. That, of course, leads to bad throws and poor decisions and that’s why he led the country in interceptions.

Blough is a kid who can extend plays with his legs and he really does a good job of throwing on the run. If he can find some consistency, Purdue could have some success on offense. Louisville has an experienced secondary, but Brohm’s offense has played well even when overmatched in the past. Brohm has had really impressive success with his quarterbacks.

As of now, Blough hasn’t been cleared to play next week because of a shoulder injury but I would be surprised if he can’t go. Conventional thinking would have Brohm benching him so that he doesn’t make the injury worse but he’s not one to take it easy or back down from a challenge. Western went toe-to-toe with SEC teams the last two seasons and they took on the personality of their coach and played like they belonged. Purdue will turn to Elijah Sindelar if Blough can’t go. I loved him as a recruit out of Caldwell County here in Kentucky, but he hasn’t been able to see the field much so far.

The running game for Purdue was fairly decent last season with Markell Jones leading the team with 616 yards. The issue was that they didn’t run the ball enough. Jones (and the offensive line) weren’t overly impressive, but they definitely good enough that Purdue should have tried to be more balanced in their play calling. The depth chart for Purdue list five (5!) co-starters at running back so we will have to wait to see how they utilize them all. I personally think that their best option might be former UofL target Brian Lankford-Johnson who averaged about 7 yards per carry last year.

While Brohm inherits a roster with experience in the backfield, he takes over a receiver core that lost pretty much everyone from last season. Brohm loves to throw the ball down the field but I think that his use of tight ends hasn’t been noticed much. Cole Herdman is the leading returning receiver for the Boilermakers and he has the size and receiving ability to be a focal point for the offense. Peter Sirmon’s defense gave a lot of cushion at MSU last year so if that holds true this year I could see Herdman being a popular target.

The receivers for Purdue will be almost completely new from last year. Gregory Phillips is a guy that impressed me in the limited snaps I saw him play last year. He’s got the type of quickness and speed that seems to work well in Brohm’s scheme. Corey Holmes is a guy that I’m interested in seeing out there. Holmes is a Notre Dame transfer that never got much playing time there. Notre Dame had a lot of talent at that spot so Holmes could have just been passed over. Jared Sparks is a real wildcard at receiver to me. He’s listed as a 3rd stringer there and at quarterback. I’d be shocked if Brohm didn’t find a way to involve him in a trick play as well as a true package at quarterback.

The Boilermakers are looking to replace three seniors from an offensive line that was on the bad side of “solid”. Purdue allowed too many sacks last year but weren’t nearly as bad when it comes to overall negative plays. Most of that can be attributed to their play calling. Also, David Blough stretched plays at times and took a few sacks that were more on him than the line. WKU had really strong offensive line play for Brohm even with substantial injury issues. I would expect his system to be able to help the line as well as a couple of grad transfers who are taking over starting spots.

Jeff Brohm’s Hilltopper teams took on his aggressive and confident mentality over the last few years. I don’t think that he’s inheriting the athletes that he had at Western, but I would be surprised to see him bow down in a game where he doesn’t have the athletes to match up. I would expect a good amount of trick plays and other misdirection plays to even the playing field, but I don’t think that Brohm will throw in the towel if his team gets down.

DEFENSE

Western Kentucky was able to do something over the last few years that most high octane offensive teams struggle with. They played good, and sometimes great, defense. Nick Holt and his defensive staff fit very well with Jeff Brohm’s aggressive mentality. The coaches have their work cut out for them this year as they won’t have the speed they had at WKU.

The Boilermakers will need to replace a good amount from their defensive line but they have moved some guys around to help. Gelen Robinson (The Big Dog’s son) will be moving to defensive tackle this year and Danny Ezechuckwu is moving from linebacker to defensive end. Robinson is one of the top players on the roster and the move inside could likely help the defense create more negative plays. He’s a disruptive type of player and could likely crash the line and blow up blockers or make plays himself. He will be the first test for a rebuilt interior line for Louisville. Robinson also pairs well with Eddy Wilson and Lorenzo Neal at nose tackle. Having a combo of speed and size could really help them push the pocket and fluster Lamar Jackson.

The most impressive player I saw for Purdue is middle linebacker Markus Bailey. As a freshman last year he led the team in tackles as well as interceptions. Bailey is a guy that Holt and co-coordinator Anthony Poindexter can build with but he can’t do it himself. Ja’Whaun Bentley is a jumbo backer that will play in the middle behind a solid tackle combo. Bailey is “the guy” on this defense in my opinion but I think teams will try to force Louisville to pass and Bentley is the key to stopping the run for them.

T.J. McCollum transferred in to Purdue from Western after an honorable mention all conference season. He will be the guy playing the spot that gave Louisville fits last year. The weakside linebacker spot has been a bugaboo for the Cards for the last handful of years but last year teams really liked to bring direct pressure from that spot. McCollum can really run and I think he could be a big factor in containing Jackson. Western played against Alabama last year and LSU the year before. McCollum is the type of leader that can really get these guys to believe they can win this game.

The Purdue secondary looked pretty good on the surface last season as they finished 38th in yards per game. However, that was mostly because teams didn’t have to throw the ball to beat them. Purdue only faced 26 passes per game but they allowed 59% of them to be completed and they gave up 22 touchdowns. They also didn’t do a very good job at forcing turnovers.

Purdue has a couple of new faces in the back end that they’re hoping can really improve things. Former UofL commit T.J. Jallow will start at free safety and should be able to match up in coverage as he used to be a corner. Josh Okonye is a grad transfer from Wake Forest that played in the nickel last year. In my opinion both of these guys are upgrades and they still have Da’Wan Hunte who was the top corner last year. I don’t know that Jeff Brohm could’ve asked for much more in his first year.

The changes that Holt and Poindexter have made with their existing personnel should really help them call the game that they want as opposed to playing it safe. The defensive line should be quicker and faster than they were a year ago. The question is how they handle a massive Louisville line. They’re strength is at the second level where I think McCollum really helps from an experience and athleticism standpoint. If they can get some pressure on Jackson, the back end has some decent talent that might be able to cause some issues. I’d imagine Nick Holt would take that.

Excitement Level: 9.3

Football’s back and it’s back in primetime on national television with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner taking the snaps. Let’s get this thing started right.

Game Attire: Black suit, white shirt, Cardinal tie

I don’t really feel like discussing it right now.

Pregame Meal: Wedding food, a thousand beers

Or vodka tonics. Whatever I can get the quickest and the most of.

Bold Prediction: Purdue does more than one funky punting thing

I have heard it through the grapevine that one of the Boilermaker quarterbacks has also discovered that he has the ability to kick the hell out of the ball. Expect some weirdness.

Zykiesis Cannon Interception Alert Level: Violet-Red (moderate)

I wasn’t sure where to go with this season’s alert level since Cole Hikutini has moved on and the new No. 18, freshman wide receiver Justin Marshall, is likely redshirting. I’m going a new route here with Zeke Cannon at least to start the season because I met his family before the Clemson game last year and they were awesome. And just like that I’m the biggest Zeke Cannon fan you know.

Predicted Star of the Game: Lamar Jackson

No reason to get cute here. Not after nine months of waiting for game one.

Motivational Opposition Tweets:

Nothing egregious out there at the moment, but it’s a long day until kickoff.

Notable:

--Louisville is is 54-38-6 all-time in season openers, and 13-4 in season-openers since 2000.

—This will be just the second time in the last 12 years that Louisville hasn’t opened the season at home. The only other exception was the Cardinals’ 31-24 loss to Auburn in Atlanta to start the 2015 season.

—Bobby Petrino is 11-1 all-time in season openers, and his teams have scored 30 points or more in six of their last seven openers.

—Jeff Brohm’s last three teams have each ranked in the top five nationally in touchdowns scored.

—Jeff Brohm played at Louisville. Coached there too. Swear to God.

—Louisville is 75-24 all-time when playing as a team ranked in the current AP Poll.

—This will be Louisville’s second appearance ever on Fox. The only other time the Cardinals played on the network they defeated Wake Forest in the 2007 Orange Bowl.

—In the only other meeting between these programs, Louisville was held to -31 rushing yards. It’s still the last time Purdue has held an opponent to negative rushing yards.

—This will be the third time Purdue has opened a season in Indianapolis. The Boilermakers played the first game in program history there against Butler in 1887, and defeated Notre Dame in the city to kick off the 1984 season.

—Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy.

—Louisville is 34-4 under Bobby Petrino when winning the turnover battle, something the Cardinals only did twice last season.

—Louisville is 21-5 in the month of September under Petrino.

—Purdue is 4-0 all-time in games played on Sept. 2.

—Ohio State running back Archie Griffin played against Purdue in the first game of his second Heisman Trophy-winning season. He remains the only player in college football history to win the award twice.

—Purdue is 14-14-2 all-time against teams currently in the ACC.

—Boilermaker LB Ja’Whaun Bentley is the first three-time captain in program history.

—Louisville is 11-20-1 all-time against Big Ten opponents.

—Louisville is 11-11-1 all-time in neutral site games, including a 1-1 mark in neutral site regular season games.

—Louisville is 13-8 all-time in domed stadiums.

—Purdue will honor Bob DeMoss, the patriarch of the Cradle of Quarterbacks and a member of the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame with a helmet sticker. DeMoss, a former Boilermaker quarterback and head coach, passed away in July at the age of 90.

—Louisville DE Trevon Young will be seeing his first action since dislocating his hip in the 2015 Music City Bowl. Young had 8.5 sacks in 2015.

—Purdue quarterback David Blough has thrown a touchdown pass in 12 straight games, one of just six FBS quarterbacks with at least as many.

—For eight seasons in a row, the Boilermakers have had a different quarterback take the season-opening snap than the year prior. Blough would be the first since Curtis Painter in 2007 and 2008 to start back-to-back openers.

—Louisville had won 15 consecutive games when kicking off to start before the team’s loss to LSU in the Citrus Bowl to end last season.

—Louisville is currently riding a consecutive game scoring streak that spans 212 games dating back to the 2000 season. The streak ranks as the third longest in the ACC behind only Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech.

—Louisville is 176-11 all-time when scoring 35 or more points in a game. The Cards are also 5-103 all-time when allowing opponents to score 40 or more points.

Quotable:

—“I am excited for Jeff, but he is the enemy now. When I went to Western Kentucky, Jeff and I talked and he said that he was ready to be a head coach. I knew then he had the desire to work nights, recruit and do all the things it takes to win.” —Bobby Petrino

—"I think that everyone is ready for the football season. I know our team is excited to get the season underway. As we get closer to Game 1, our guys are starting to get that itch and that feel that it is time to get out there on the field and showcase what we are all about and put all the talk behind us." —Purdue coach Jeff Brohm

—“I’m very eager (to play) A lot of people don’t know what’s going on inside with us and I’m ready to let them know. Nothing has changed.” —Lamar Jackson

—“We haven’t spent a lot of time on the past. Adversity happens every day in life and it happens on game day. Good defenses and good football teams overcome that. We have to be mature enough to handle that when it happens.” —Purdue co-defensive coordinator Nick Holt

—”Whether we can contain him at the line of scrimmage is really going to decide whether we have a chance to win or not. Lamar is an unbelievable talent, a guy that can change the outcome of a game in one play. He has gotten better as a quarterback, but where he really is a danger is with his feet.

“He is kind of like the LeBron James of college football He is that incredible athlete that doesn’t come along very often, and he is playing the quarterback position. While he probably is the best athlete on the field, he has quarterback skills, which make him more dangerous.” —Purdue coach Jeff Brohm

—"It feels good. It's almost like the first day of school, everyone's excited. The locker room vibe is totally different. I can see a big difference, I can tell we're really excited about this game." —Jaire Alexander

—"Our guys are very confident in their ability. They have seen improvement, and we want to go out there and try to compete and fight, try to win a football game against an outstanding opponent. There are a lot of challenges for us to try to match up against those guys, but that's why you play the game. I know we're looking forward to Saturday night." —Purdue coach Jeff Brohm

—"A national championship, that's what I want. We need to get it. We've got the team to do it, too." —Lamar Jackson

Card Chronicle Prediction: Louisville 48, Purdue 21