Northwestern vs. Purdue prediction and game preview. The Wildcats look to snap a two-game losing streak when they face the Boilermakers on Saturday.
Northwestern vs. Purdue Game Preview
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 – Noon ET
Where: Ross-Aide Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
TV Broadcast: Big Ten Network
Facing back-to-back top-10 opponents was too much for Northwestern, which played well at times but ultimately lost both matchups. The Wildcats had Ohio State on the ropes before losing, 24-20, and then fell at home, 21-7, to Wisconsin. They had their worst offensive performance since their season opener in terms of yardage against the Badgers and couldn’t get anything going on the ground.
Purdue’s running game has been even worse. The Boilermakers have dropped four in a row and didn’t exceed 47 rushing yards in any of those defeats. They rank 125th out of 128 FBS teams in rushing yards per game despite running for over 200 twice in their first five games.
What To Know About Northwestern
Justin Jackson was held in check last week, tying his season low with 42 rushing yards while dropping to third in the conference in rushing behind Saquon Barkley and Rodney Smith. Northwestern finished with a season-low 316 total yards and held the ball for fewer than 20 minutes against Wisconsin’s defense, going 5 of 18 on third-down conversions.
Still, the Wildcats were in the game until the Badgers iced it with a fourth-quarter touchdown, which is a testament to their defense that was on the field for most of the game. Wisconsin gained only 333 total yards, the fewest for a Northwestern opponent since it beat Iowa on Oct. 1.
What To Know About Purdue
Jackson might just need to face Purdue’s awful run defense to get back on track. Opponents are averaging 5.75 yards per carry against the Boilermakers, which is last in the Big Ten and 124th in the nation. Minnesota was the third straight opponent to go over 200 yards rushing as Purdue fell, 44-31.
The Boilermakers are putting plenty of pressure on David Blough to produce with a lack of running game. Blough has thrown at least one interception in eight of nine games and was sacked six games against the Gophers. His 13 picks are tied for the most in the Big Ten, but he also threw four touchdown passes last week.
Offense: Northwestern – Austin Carr leads the Big Ten in receptions (70), yards (1,010), yards per game (112.2) and touchdown catches (10).
Defense: Northwestern – Purdue simply can’t stop the run and could get even more exposed this week.
Special Teams: Northwestern – Solomon Vault is second in the conference in average yards per kick return and has taken one back for a touchdown.
Coaching: Northwestern – Gerad Parker has yet to win as Purdue’s interim coach.
Intangibles: Northwestern – Jackson ran for 116 yards and the deciding touchdown in the Wildcats’ 21-14 win last year.
Matchup To Watch
Carr/Clayton Thorson vs. Purdue’s pass defense
The Wildcats will give a hefty load to Jackson, but Carr and Thorson are going to connect as well. Opponents’ quarterbacks have a 139.19 rating against Purdue, which places the Boilermakers 13th in the the Big Ten in that category.
Spread: Northwestern -13.5
Northwestern vs. Purdue Prediction
Jackson and Carr each score twice, Blough throws three interceptions and the Wildcats cruise to an easy victory.
Northwestern vs. Purdue final score prediction: Northwestern 38, Purdue 21