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Big Ten Football Countdown: No.12 Purdue

With little returning talent to a team that was mediocre in 2012 with a new head coach can only expect struggles in 2013.

QB Rob Henry must lead an inexperienced offense in 2013.
QB Rob Henry must lead an inexperienced offense in 2013.

Since I'm sure everyone here lauds Purdue as one of the Big Ten's most perennial football programs, it must come as a shock to see the Boilermakers picked to finish dead last in the Big Ten in 2013. Purdue disappointed in 2012, with expectations high and many starters returning, finishing with a 6-6 record that resulted in the firing of Head Coach Danny Hope. Purdue quickly picked up their new head coach in Darrell Hazell. Hazell, in his two years at Kent State, took the Golden Flashes from 5-7 in 2011 to 11-3 in 2012 and almost crashed the BCS party. Hopefully Hazell can work his magic for the Boilermakers in 2013, who return little on the offensive end.

2012 record: 6-7 (3-5)

Returning Starters: 16 (5 OFF, 9 DEF, 2 Kicker/Punter)

Key Losses on Offense: QB Robert Marve (1734), QB Caleb TerBush (1150), RB Akeem Shavers (871 rush-370 rec), RB Ralph Bolden (325), WR Antavian Edison (652), TE Crosby Wright (283)

Key Losses on Defense: CB Josh Johnson, LB Robert Maci, LB Sean Robinson, DE/DT Kawaan Short

Head Coach: Darrell Hazell: 0-0 (1st year)

Strength: Defense

One positive thing for Hazell is that he will be able to work with a pretty experienced Defensive Line and Secondary. The Defense all together returns 9 defensive starters (2 Special Teams) to a defense that ranked 89th in the nation in points allowed with 32.1 per game. CB Ricardo Allen (45 TOT), S Taylor Richards (51 TOT) and S Landon Feichter (80 TOT) all return to a Secondary that ranked 61st in the nation in pass defense with 233.9 allowed per game. The Defensive Line also returns quite a bit with DT Ryan Isaac (14 TOT), DT Bruce Gaston (28 TOT) and DE Ryan Russell (37 TOT) all coming back to a front that ranked 78th in rush defense with 182 yards allowed per game. Purdue will be strong at the Linebacker position as LB Will Lucas (66 TOT), LB Joe Gilliam (57 TOT) and LB Sean Robinson (27 TOT) all return.

Weakness/Questions: Offense

Purdue may experience an offensive setback in 2013. The Boilermakers were "creative" when it came to the Quarterback position, constantly switching out QB Robert Marve (1734 yds.) and QB Caleb TerBush (1150 yds.). The favorite to start at QB is the veteran Rob Henry (216 yds.) though freshmen QB Danny Etling, the prized jewel of the Boilermakers 2013 recruiting class, may make a couple appearances in 2013. The Backfield took a hit with the departures of Running backs Akeem Shavers (871 yds. rush-370 yds. rec) and Ralph Bolden (325 yds.), leaving Akeem Hunt (335) the favorite to start. Henry loses many of his top targets, including receivers Antavian Edison (652 yds.) and Crosby Wright (283 yds.), and will heavily rely on WR O.J. Ross (454 yds.) and WR Gary Bush (360 yds.) to carry the load. The Offensive Line remains relatively in tact with OT Kevin Pamphile, OT Trevor Foy, and OG Devin Smith all returning.

Projected Record: 2-10 (1-7)

Bowl Game: None