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Game 12: Indiana Hoosiers v. Purdue Boilermakers (preview).

Purdue Boilermakers

2009 record:  4-7 (3-4)

2008 record:  4-8

2008 Sagarin: 78

2009 Sagarin: 78 (IU is 91)

Coach: Danny Hope (first year, 4-7)

Series: Purdue leads 69-36-6

TV: 3: 30 p.m., Big Ten Network

Blogs: Hammer and Rails, Boiled Sports

IU and Purdue renew their annual rivalry in  Bloomington tomorrow.  As I noted earlier in the week, Purdue dominated the series during the Tiller era.  While IU never beat Tiller in West Lafayette and played only one competitive game there (a 28-19 loss in 2006), the series was more respectable in Bloomington.  Four of the last last five Bucket games played in Bloomington have been competitive (IU wins in 2001 and 2007, Purdue wins in 1999 and 2003).  Purdue comfortably won the 2005 game.  Of course, last year, IU lost 62-10.  The IU players have talked about it quite a bit, as have Purdue fans, who seem to think that a blowout win last year somehow innoculates them from defeat this season (don't tell them what happened after IU's 45 point win in 1988, or after Purdue's 37 point win in 1995).

Ultimately, history will not decide this game.   How do the 2009 teams measure up?

category PURDUE
356 (74) total offense 397 (51)
407 (94) total defense 369 (70)
24 (87) scoring offense 27 (65)
29 (87) scoring defense 30 (92)
124.7 (76) pass efficiency 125 (72)
135 (86) pass efficiency defense  
114 (32)
246 (35) pass offense 259 (30)
245 (95) pass defense 197 (37)
109 (83) run offense 137 (73)
162 (82) run defense 171 (92)
1 (8) turnover margin -.8 (107)
1.9 (60) sacks 2.64 (24)
1.2 (25) sacks allowed 1.45 (42)


It's very striking how statistically similar the teams are.  Both teams rely heavily on their passing games for yards, but neither pass offense is a model of efficiency.  Really, the only categories that differ markedly are pass defense/pass efficiency defense (Purdue's is good, IU's isn't), and turnovers (IU has been one of the most turnover-blessed teams in the country, and Purdue has been one of the most cursed).  While not in the table, Purdue's rushing offense has been better than IU's on a per-play basis (4.3 to 3.6).  According to Sagarin, Purdue has the #31 schedule in Division I-A and IU is #59.

Who are the individuals to watch?

  • Purdue QB Joey Elliott has been a big part of Purdue's offense, and he is averaging 256 yards per game and has thrown 18 touchdowns.  On the other hand, he has thrown 13 interceptions and is completing 60.2 percent of his passes, a solid but not overwhelming number.  His numbers are pretty similar to Ben Chappell's (Chappell has is completing 63 percent of his passes and has 15/13 TD/INT).
  • Ralph Bolden has been Purdue's primary rushing threat.  He has run for 931 yards and 9 TD and is averaging 4.7 yards per carry. 
  • Freshman junior receiver Keith Smith (the details of my cluelessness is outlined in the comments) has been a pleasant surprise for Purdue, catching 86 passes for 1015 yards.

"Throw out the records" is the cliche thrown around regarding rivalry games, but that's not necessary this year.  These teams are in the same ballpark.  Certainly, Purdue has modestly better statistics against a tougher schedule, and the win over Ohio State far exceeds anything IU has accomplished.  Aside from that game, however, their profiles are pretty similar, and I can't say that any result would surprise me.

It's not going to rain tomorrow.  We didn't gain an unfair motivational advantage from the death of our coach.  In other words, unlike in our two wins over Tiller, if IU wins tomorrow, Purdue might have to admit that it counts.