Inexperience and a brutal schedule will be tough for Purdue to overcome

Posted: July 19, 2018 in College football
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Bailey_Markus (2)RIGHT

WLB Markus Bailey and the rest of the Purdue defense will have their work cut out for them in 2018.

The Purdue Boilermakers had a magical season in 2017 under new head coach Jeff Brohm. Among the many feats accomplished were winning back-to-back games for the first time since 2012, winning on the road by the largest margin since 1999, selling out Ross-Ade Stadium for the first time since 2008, winning a game in November for the first time since 2012, the largest margin of victory in a Big Ten game since 2012, and winning the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 2012.

It’s no wonder why Brohm’s name was brought up for the Tennessee head coaching job. After the rumors of Brohm’s departure to Knoxville were put to rest, Purdue beat Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl. Brohm joined legendary Purdue head coach Joe Tiller in winning a bowl game in his first season in West Lafayette.

Brohm has his work cut out for him in 2018 if Purdue is to reach back-to-back bowls for the first time since 2011-’12. Known for his offense, it was his defense, coordinated by Nick Holt with eight returning starters, that showed major improvement last year in going from allowing 446 yards per game and 38.3 points per game in 2016 to 375 yards per game and 20.5 points per game in 2017. Purdue must replace seven starters from the defense including middle linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley, who also led the team in tackles for loss and was drafted by the New England Patriots.

The main hurdle in front of Purdue this season is a schedule that noted college football prognosticator Phil Steele rates as the second toughest in the nation! While all three non-conference games are at home, two are versus Power Five conference schools that made a bowl last year in Missouri and Boston College. Both are expected to be improved in 2018. The Boilermakers three Big Ten crossover games are versus Ohio State, at Michigan State, and of course at Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket. All three of those teams are projected to reach a bowl with Ohio State expected to return to the playoffs.

Purdue returns nine starters on offense, including quarterback Elijah Sindelar. While the Boilermakers offense will be improved over the 2017 version, the difference is not likely to compensate for the drop-off the defense is likely to suffer due to inexperience. There’s little doubt that Holt will have the defense prepared, but the opposing offenses will be too much for Purdue to overcome and make a bowl this season.

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