Nebraska vs. Purdue prediction and game preview. The Cornhuskers look to remain unbeaten when they host the Boilermakers on Saturday.
Nebraska vs. Purdue Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 22 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Memorial Stadium, Lincoln, Neb.
TV Broadcast: ABC/ESPN2
The Darrell Hazell era at Purdue finally is over after athletic director Mike Bobinski fired Hazell on Sunday. Hazell went 9-33 overall and 3-24 in Big Ten play in three-plus seasons, leaving Bobinski little choice but to make a change following a 49-35 loss to Iowa. Saturday will be the debut of interim coach Gerad Parker, who was promoted from receivers coach.
Parker’s first test won’t be an easy one as the Boilermakers travel to Lincoln to face No. 8 Nebraska, which jumped two spots in the AP Top 25 after winning, 27-22, at Indiana. The Huskers are 6-0, but they haven’t been all that impressive lately in victories over lower-tier teams in the conference. They enter as big favorites in this one, though, and are hoping for a much easier victory.
What To Know About Nebraska
Nebraska jumped two spots in the AP Top 25 to No. 8, its highest ranking since 2011. The Huskers also are off to their best start since 2001, but they nearly blew a 17-point lead at Indiana last week before holding on for a 27-22 victory. It marked a fourth straight scare for Nebraska, which squeaked past Oregon by three, led Northwestern by only three at halftime and trailed Illinois in the fourth quarter before pulling out its previous three.
Tommy Armstrong needs to play better. He did spend most of the bye week in a walking boot, but coach Mike Riley said Armstrong was healthy as he completed only 38.5 percent of his passes against the Hoosiers while throwing two interceptions and finishing with just 36 yards on the ground. Of his 208 yards passing, 72 of them came on a touchdown pass to Stanley Morgan.
There is good news, though. Running back Devine Ozigbo is expected to be back, and there’s a chance receiver Jordan Westerkamp could return from a back injury, although his status still is in doubt.
What To Know About Purdue
Hazell’s firing was inevitable, and making the change now was a smart move to try and light a spark under the Boilermakers under Parker. Purdue can exceed the win its win total of each of the last three seasons by pulling off the upset, which it might have a chance for if David Blough has another big game.
Blough, trying to rally Purdue from a quick 28-0 deficit, finished 30 of 60 for 458 yards and five touchdowns in last week’s loss to Iowa. He threw just one interception, a positive considering he tossed five in 57 attempts against Cincinnati earlier this year.
Offense: Nebraska – Huskers’ 6.15 yards per play is tied for third in the conference.
Defense: Nebraska – Purdue is allowing 446.3 yards per game to rank 105th in the nation in total defense.
Special Teams: Nebraska – De’Mornay Pierson-El is second in the Big Ten in average yards per punt return.
Coaching: Nebraska – Riley has the Huskers nationally relevant again.
Intangibles: Purdue – Blough threw for four touchdowns in Purdue’s 55-45 win over Nebraska last season.
Matchup To Watch
Blough vs. Nebraska’s pass defense
Purdue didn’t win many games under Hazell, but it knocked off Nebraska last year, mainly because of Blough. He went 28 of 43 for 274 yards with two of his touchdown passes going to DeAngelo Yancey. The Huskers’ pass defense is tied for seventh in the Big Ten this season.
Spread: Nebraska -24
Over/Under: No line as of post
Nebraska vs. Purdue Prediction
The Huskers get revenge for last season as Armstrong has a bounce-back game with three touchdowns. Blough throws two picks and Nebraska wins easily.
Nebraska vs. Purdue final score prediction: Nebraska 35, Purdue 10