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Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers: game preview, stats, odds, kick time, channel and more

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Nothing on the line for the Hoosiers except a fifth-straight Bucket and third-straight bowl appearance— both unprecedented.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Indiana Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Game Info / How to Watch

Who? Purdue Boilermakers (5-6 [3-5], #38 S&P+) at Indiana Hoosiers (5-6 [2-6], #51 S&P+)

When? Saturday, November 18 12:00 PM, Bloomington, Indiana

Channel? ESPN2

Vegas? PURDUE -2.5

S&P+ Projection? Purdue 26 - Indiana 22

____________________________________

“Who needs a bowl when you’ve got a Bucket?!”

That’s what I would post on Facebook for all my Purdue friends to read when Indiana would win a Bucket game to finish with four or five wins that season. For an excruciatingly long period of time, the Bucket was the closest thing Indiana had to a bowl game in a given year. The same could be said for the Boilermakers as they navigated the post-Tiller fog.

But not this year.

This year the Bucket is a ticket. The destination is unknown, sure, but it doesn’t matter where you’re going— it only matters that you’re going.

This year: if you’ve got the Bucket, you’ve got a bowl as well. If you don’t have a Bucket? Well, start scrambling together your APR scenarios and hope for the best.

LET’S GET TO IT.

FIVE FACTORS

- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
- Explosiveness (86%) Efficiency (83%) Field Position (75%) Finishing Drives (72%) Turnover Margin (73%)
INDIANA (#98 offense) 1.03 (118th) 38.2% (112th) 29.5 (74th) 4.76 (38th) -7 (109th)
PURDUE (#27 defense) 1.14 (51st) 37.2% (26th) 29.0 (56th) 3.69 (17th) 3 (45th)
- - - - - -
PURDUE (#75 offense) 1.12 (83rd) 43.0% (54th) 29.9 (60th) 4.18 (96th) 3 (45th)
INDIANA (#26 defense) 1.08 (29th) 37.1% (24th) 29.5 (76th) 4.65 (90th) -7 (109th)

The most bizarre thing about Purdue’s resurgent season is the way in which they’ve achieved it. Jeff Brohm came to West Lafayette with promises of dazzling offenses and, instead, took a hopelessly under-gunned roster essentially left for dead by Darrell Hazell and Tom Allen’d them. A squad that just one year was 99th in defensive efficiency is now 27th, one station below Indiana.

He hasn’t (yet) had that same magic touch with the offense, but one would assume that’s coming.

PASSING

Much like in Bloomington, Purdue’s back-and-forth QB timeshare was settled via injury, as David Blough went down against Illinois, turning the keys over to sophomore Elijah Sindelar for the remainder of the season. Sindelar hasn’t set the world on fire, and his season numbers seem oddly familiar:

  • ELIJAH SINDELAR: 1544 yards, 56.3% comp. rate, 12 TD / 6 INT, 5.5 YPA, 5.4% sack rate
  • RICHARD LAGOW: 1563 yards, 59.6% comp. rate, 12 TD / 7 INT, 5.9 YPA, 5.2% sack rate

That is SOMETHING ELSE. So if you’ve seen Lagow play this year, you’ve got a general idea of Sindelar’s bottom-line. He’s not terribly accurate or efficient, but he’s got a big arm. If he can keep the ball on target (big if), you’re in trouble. He’s also not a threat in the running game (13 carries, 55 yards).

Purdue’s leading receiver, catch-wise, is Jackson Anthrop (39 / 371 / 5), he’s approximately the 98th Anthrop to suit up for Purdue and I imagine there are at least 50 more behind him. At 5’11” he doesn’t look the part of a downfield threat and his numbers back that up, his 9.5 YPC and 6.9 yards per target are Luke Timian-esque. His role is that of a chain-mover, and his 51.9% success rate shows it’s something he excels at. That said, he started the year white hot, racking up 17 catches, 139 yards, and 4 TDs through the season’s first three games. He could be hitting the proverbial “Freshmen Wall” as he has just six catches for 49 yards in his last three games.

Much like Indiana, the Boilers struggle to hit the big play through the air, coming in at 103rd in passing IsoPPP. Only two players are averaging 10 yards or more per target: senior Anthony Mahoungou (10.8) and junior TE Cole Herdman (10.0). Mahoungou (32 / 497 / 5) is your prototypical WR-X, standing 6-3, 210. His numbers would look even better if he hauled in a few awful drops, something that has plagued the entire Purdue receivers room all season long.

Given that Purdue’s success rate through the air as a team is only 40.4%, if an opponent can shut down Anthrop and the short passing game, things can get ugly quick for the Boilermakers. Staying on schedule is important for any passing game, but for teams like Purdue and Indiana, it’s absolutely critical.

RUSHING

On the season, Purdue has the 38th best rushing offense per S&P+ thanks largely to their great success rate (46.7%, 33rd). They’re rather pedestrian when it comes to big plays (79th) despite being top-30 in opportunity rate and adj. line yards. The offensive line is doing their job, but the running backs aren’t doing much with the space they’re given.

Injuries have decimated the position, with Richie Worship (257 yards, 4.8 YPC, 3 TDs) and Tario Fuller (261 yards, 6.1 YPC, 2 TDs) both out for the year. Markell Jones, who was injured earlier in the year, is coming off his best game of the year against Iowa but is still averaging only 4.3 YPC with 1 one touchdown through 7 games this season.

Jeff Brohm just doesn’t have the Boilermakers running it a lot, Purdue is 120th in standard downs run rate and 117th in passing downs run rate. They’re putting the ball in the air early and often, no matter the situation.

DEFENSE

Purdue has the 6th best rushing defense in the nation.

Seriously.

They’re 8th in success rate, 79th in explosiveness, 16th in stuff rate, and 4th in opportunity rate. They’re not just stopping the run, they’re not giving opponent running backs any room to breathe. Linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley (currently questionable for Saturday) has 23 run stuffs this season. That is some AGGRESSIVE ASS linebacking and I think we can all agree that Bentley has earned himself a day off this Saturday to heal up from that injury. The next closest are linebacker Markus Bailey and defensive end Gelen Robinson, tied with a more mortal 12 stuffs this year.

Purdue is leakier against the pass, ranking 81st overall. They’re 79th in success rate but 26th in limiting explosive plays, which tends to reveal a conservative pass scheme in which the utmost concern is keeping the ball in front of you. They’ll give you the short gains and dare you to string enough little plays together to get in the endzone. It’s hard to argue with the results, as they’ve been lights out in conference play, allowing more than 17 points just three times.

STUFF TO WATCH FOR

  • Strength v. Weakness? It’s a strange matchup, as Purdue’s defense excels at things Indiana is already bad at anyway. It doesn’t really discourage me to find out a team can stop the run and limit big plays in the passing game, because SURPRISE Indiana has been dealing with that allllllll season (except against Rutger lmao). Does that mean I’m any less terrified of the notion that Richard Lagow will have to string together multiple completions in the short and intermediate fields to move the ball? Hell no!
  • Defensive balance: With both teams struggling to create big plays, the game will likely come down to who can string plays together more consistently. Indiana has good balance in defensive success rate, 40th against the run and 17th against the pass; while Purdue, as previously discussed, is 8th against the run and 79th against the pass. That’s a split Indiana can exploit that doesn’t really exist on the other side of the ball for Purdue.
  • Stupid whacky-ass play that probably decides the game: A rivalry game between two bad offenses? Oh hell yeah something gloriously stupid is going to happen and it’s going to be the reason one of these teams goes to a bowl and the other doesn’t. When there’s 60+ points to distribute in a given game, the crazy plays mean a little less. When you’re looking at like, 40 points tops? Oh god that snap over the punter’s head is basically the ballgame.

PREDICTION

I predicted Purdue to win on the Hammer and Rails podcast earlier this week before I had really dove into this game. That was based on Purdue being slightly better and playing at home, which is a tough combo to overcome. THAT SAID, given how Purdue’s strengths matchup with Indiana’s I think there are more things for the Hoosiers to exploit than vice versa so I’m going with: Boilermakers 6, HOOSIERS 9