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Purdue vs Nebraska – Predictions

As the Huskers leave the bye week in the rearview mirror we asked some of our team to take a look at the Huskers matchup this weekend against the Boilermakers.

Chris Wahl – Contributor, @Husker_Hype

The bye week gave me new hope for how the Huskers could potentially finish the second half of the season. While Purdue played Wisconsin close, they dropped their recent matchup with Rutgers last weekend which bodes well for the Huskers. A look around the Big Ten shows a western division with teams cannibalizing each other every weekend in hopes that Wisconsin will drop a game and throw the division into a complete frenzy.  With 5 games left in the season, the odds of winning 3-4 of those matchups is not yet out of reach for the Huskers.

On the other hand, Purdue is playing some of their best football in recent years right now. Yes, they are still Purdue but a win in West Lafayette this Saturday would be a big shift in momentum for the Huskers. The Boilermakers have used 2 different quarterbacks this year in Sindelar and Blough who have combined for 14 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. While they spread the ball around well, their big target at wide receiver is 6’3″ senior Anthony Mahoungoa. The Blackshirts will look to lock him up this weekend and hope that a finally healthy secondary can force a few turnovers on the road.

After getting embarrassed at home by Ohio State the Husker are the early underdogs as they hit the road but the line has shifted slightly in the Big Red’s favor the last 24 hours down to +4 from +6.5. Getting healthy and rested off of the bye week the Huskers should have all the motivation they need to go out and get a win. The key for the Huskers will be to impose their will and play with some confidence. Devine Ozigbo appears to be the starter and has been running well as of late and should have a big day. The Blackshirt defense was exposed against Ohio State but has the chance to get back on track Saturday night. I see it being a close game but the Huskers earn a hard-fought conference win on the road.

Prediction: Nebraska 24-20

Offensive MVP: RB Devine Ozigbo

Defensive MVP: DE Carlos Davis

 

Tyler Shafer – Husker Cuz Cast Podcast, @ShafeMafia

The Huskers return after a much-needed bye week to face the Boilermakers this Saturday. Over the last two games, the Huskers defense has struggled to stop anyone. However, those were against two of the best teams in the country in Wisconsin and Ohio State.  Purdue is neither of those teams and has only scored a single offensive touchdown in their last 2 games.

This isn’t the same Purdue we’ve seen over the last few years. They have played some quality football this year, including a competitive game in Madison and beat the Gophers at home earlier this season. Purdue has the 26th ranked scoring defense and the Huskers offense has struggled at times this year. However, Purdue has failed to effectively pressure quarterbacks which bodes well for the Big Red as the offensive line ranks 20th in sacks allowed this year. (They gave up 0 sacks to Ohio State).  I think in the end the Huskers do enough to win one in West Lafayette on the road.

Prediction: Huskers 27-24

Offensive MVP: QB Tanner Lee

Defensive MVP: S Aaron Williams

 

Derrick Stafford – Huskers Cuz Cast Podcast, @cuzcastderrick

The last time the Huskers were in Indiana for this game they had second-string quarterback Ryker Fyfe in for the injured Tommy Armstrong. 5 turnovers later, they left West Lafayette in dismay losing 55-45 thanks to a defense that couldn’t find its way off the field. That was Purdue’s second and last win for them that season. This season they have a similar record (3-4) as Nebraska and both teams need to win this game in order to reach bowl eligibility.

Statistically speaking, this game is about as equal as it can possibly be. Purdue holds a slight edge over the Huskers in most major statistical categories. The battle this weekend should really come down to who wants it more. Through seven games, Nebraska has yet to show me that they want it more than the other team with the exception maybe being against Illinois.  I hate to pick Purdue for the win, especially after the bad loss to Rutgers, however, they have impressed me slightly more this season with their game against the Badgers going down to the wire.

Prediction: Purdue 20-17

Offensive MVP: QB Tanner Lee

Defensive MVP: CB Chris Jones

 

John Swedlund –  Husker Hype Editor, @johnswedlund

Over the last few years, the bye week probably hasn’t come at a better time for Mike Riley and this squad. With a depth chart lacking in seasoned depth the Huskers took this weekend to rest of up many of their playmakers and make some important roster updates.  Notably, the Huskers are the healthiest they’ve been all season in the secondary with their top-3 safeties all back and the wide receivers took the bye week off to rest up several nagging injuries.

From a statistical standpoint, the Boilermakers and Huskers are pretty eerily similar in almost every major statistical categoryHalloweenalloween?). That said, the Huskers offensive line appears to continue to gel in the passing game allowing zero sacks against an overmatched Ohio State defensive line. The better news from the offensive line is that talented freshman Brenden Jaimes continues to hold up at right tackle and Matt Farniok is pushing for playing time on the interior of the line.

While evenly matched, if the Huskers come out with a chip on their shoulder and finally get a complete game from the offense Nebraska should take care of business on the road and earn a firm grip on 2nd place in the Big Ten West.

Prediction: Huskers 35 – 16

Offensive MVP: Stanley Morgan Jr

Defensive MVP: CB Chris Jones

 

Justin Fielder – Huskers Cuz Cast Podcast, @cuzcastjustin

Purdue opened up as 6.5 favorites over Nebraska, but that line has dropped as the Huskers left Lincoln for West Lafayette. It’s very disappointing to see the Huskers as an underdog to a 3-4 Purdue team so thank goodness for bye weeks!

Coach Riley and Langsdorf placed urgency on offensive production and consistency during the bye week to help cure the offense’s woes. Because of that, I think we will see some good offense out of the Huskers this weekend. There are certainly things to be optimistic about, Tanner Lee has shown continuous improvement of late and  J.D. Spielman has blossomed into a stud who continues to get better each week. Even the offensive line has shown positive signs of progression.  Personally, I want to see more consistency running the ball this week against Purdue and I think we can get it done. While Purdue has a good defensive front they aren’t on the same level as Ohio State and I expect we see a 100-yard rusher this Saturday.

The Blackshirts will have their work cut out yet again but thankfully Purdue isn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut. They’re averaging just under 16 points a game over their last 4 – including 12 in a loss against a dismal Rutgers team last week.  With a bye week leading to improved health for the defense, coordinator Bob Diaco will look to have the Blackshirts dialed in against Purdue.

Thank goodness for bye weeks as the second chapter of the season begins Saturday night in Indiana.

Prediction: Nebraska 31-24

Offensive MVP: WR J.D. Spielman

Defensive MVP: CB Chris Jones

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