By Ryan Clark
In 2018, the Purdue Boilermakers went 6-7 (5-4 in the conference), including a head-scratching beatdown of #2 Ohio St (49-20). The season started with three close losses to Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, and Missouri before things started clicking for them. Throughout the season, they won and lost some close games. In the Music City Bowl, well, let’s just say it was Auburn’s lucky day.
Coach Jeff Brohm brings a 13-13 (9-9) Purdue head-coaching record into 2019. Prior to Purdue, he was the head coach of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, where he went 30-10 from 2014-2016. His alma mater is Louisville, and towards the end of last season, they came a-calling. Ultimately, Brohm decided to stay at Purdue, but it cost them.
The Boilers have recruited pretty well, and Brohm is now in year three. This is the year when things need to start coming together.
So, how will the year play out for Purdue? Let’s take a look at the crystal ball:
Week 1 (Aug 30) – at Nevada: The Boilers hit the road for this Fri night opener. Purdue scores a couple of quick TD’s, and the Wolf Pack can’t quite catch up. Purdue wins this one, 27-17. Record: 1-0.
Week 2 (Sep 7) – vs Vanderbilt: Oh boy, this one is going to be a dandy. You can’t find two more evenly-matched teams than these two. The home crowd is the difference in this one, as the Boilers win in OT, 27-20. Record: 2-0.
Week 3 (Sep 14) – vs TCU: The Horned Frogs come to town for a game under the lights. The Boilers do what they can, but TCU is simply more athletic. The Frogs take this one, 28-20. Record: 2-1.
Week 4 (Sep 28) – vs Minnesota: The Gophers are going to turn some heads this season, and it starts with this game. Minnesota’s O-line bullies their counterparts for most of the day, as the Gophers walk out with a 31-17 victory. Record: 2-2.
Week 5 (Oct 5) – at Penn St: As anyone will tell you, Beaver Stadium is one imposing place for visiting teams. Some are predicting a down year for the Nittany Lions, but I’m not one of them. Penn St wins this one, 38-14. Record: 2-3.
Week 6 (Oct 12) – vs Maryland: Purdue returns home for what figures to be an easier game. The Terrapins put up a fight, but the Boilermakers win this one, 28-21. Record: 3-3.
Week 7 (Oct 19) – at Iowa: The Hawkeyes show why they’re one of the preseason favorites to win the B1G West by pushing Purdue around on both sides of the ball. Iowa wins this one, 41-14. Record: 3-4.
Week 8 (Oct 26) – vs Illinois: Ahh…Nothing like a game against Illinois to lift the spirits. This one though is a little closer than people think it will be, but the Boilers take this one, 27-17. Record: 4-4.
Week 9 (Nov 2) – vs Nebraska: Brohm will have the Boilers ready for this one. He dials up a couple trick plays that work. A late Adrian Martinez interception seals it for Purdue, as they hang on for the upset, 23-20. Record: 5-4.
Week 10 (Nov 9) – at Northwestern: So far this year, B1G road games have been tough for Purdue. This one will be no exception. Turnovers prove to be too much for them to overcome, as Northwestern gets the W, 28-17. Record: 5-5.
Week 11 (Nov 23) – at Wisconsin: There’s a reason why Badgers RB Jonathan Taylor is a Heisman candidate. The Badgers impose their will on the Boilers, as Taylor rushes for 150 yards and two scores. Wisconsin wins this one, 27-14. Record: 5-6.
Week 12 (Nov 30) – vs Indiana: In what will be a fight to get to a bowl game, as Indiana and Purdue come into this game with identical records. This one is a coin flip, but being a home game for Purdue, they have the edge. The Boilers win this one, 24-21. Record: 6-6.
So, there you have it. The crystal ball has foreseen a 6-6 (4-5) record for Purdue. In time, Brohm might be able to compete for the B1G West if he can keep the quality recruits coming in, but it won’t be this year. But for now though, given their 6-6 record, the crystal ball sees the Boilermakers playing their bowl game against:
Armed Forces Bowl (Jan 4) – vs Air Force: Purdue hasn’t seen anything like Air Force’s offense all year, but they’ve had a month to prepare for it. The Falcons put up a couple of quick scores, but the Boilermakers adjust. Over the course of the game, Purdue’s more physical lines eventually wear down Air Force, and wins their bowl game, 33-24. Final record: 7-6.