The 2017 campaign created a lot of excitement for the Purdue football program. The arrival of Jeff Brohm and his explosive offensive system brought seven wins and their first bowl win since 2011. Now, Coach Brohm has had an entire year to hit the recruiting trail and the excitement for Purdue football is growing with every commitment. This 2018 team is no longer viewed as an easy win on the schedule.
PROS: EXPLOSIVE OFFENSE
Purdue returns nearly all the of their key starters from last year’s surprise team and have added an explosive freshman (more on that later). Quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and David Blough both suffered injuries last year, but both are expected see the field this season. Sindelar ended last season on an absolute tear, throwing for over 1100 yds with 11 TDs and just 2 INTs… while playing on an ACL tear. How is that… What were the trainers… Is this guy human?
In the backfield, Purdue played 4 different guys due to injury. Markell Jones, D.J. Knox, Richie Worship and Tario Fuller all played last season and led a surprisingly efficient rushing attack. The group accumulated over 1600 yards, which speaks to the versatility of Brohm’s offensive system.
The receiving corp lost a playmaker from a year ago in Anthony Mahoungou, but still have plenty of explosiveness. Tight Ends Brycen Hopkins and Cole Herdman combined with a ridiculous amount of dependable wide receivers makes this a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. The QBs will spread the rock like they did last year with nearly 3000 yards in passing yards, with the highest receiver gaining only 480 yards.
CONS: OVERHAULED DEFENSE
The defense will lean heavily on its only two returning starters on the front 7 in linebacker Markus Bailey and Lorenzo Neal (not that Lorenzo Neal). Bailey will need to continue his dominance as a playmaking linebacker if Purdue has any hope of replicating its success from 2017.
Cornerbacks are also a little thin on experience and will heavily rely on the veteran safeties behind them in Jacob Thieneman and Navon Mosley. One bright side of having so many new starters on defense is it provides a lot of opportunities for young players to get some valuable experience.
NEWCOMER TO WATCH
Coach Brohm has built a solid recruiting class in his first full offseason at Purdue, and leading the way is four-star wide receiver Rondale Moore (Twitter:@Rondale_Moore03). This former Texas commit, surprised a lot of folks when he flipped to Purdue. Brohm’s offensive system is a perfect fit for the 5’8 playmaker. Brohm recently said, “We’re going to give him every opportunity to play this first year and to do his thing and give him a chance to showcase what he’s all about right from the get-go.” Moore can line up all over the field and Brohm clearly has big plans for the freshman.
2018 PURDUE SEASON PREDICTION
In the 2017, Vegas set the over/under for Purdue’s win total at a measly 2.5. Purdue hit 3 wins by week 5, and went on to finish at 7-5. Expectations are now much higher in year two of the Jeff Brohm era, and Vegas has taken notice. This year’s over under win total is set right at 6.
The schedule sets up for Purdue to have a fast start. They start with four straight home games vs Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Missouri, and Boston College. Then it is off to Nebraska, where Scott Frost is trying his best to turn that storied program around. A road game vs an upstart Illinois follows a BYE week, and then Purdue faces an absolute brutal stretch. They play Ohio State, at Michigan State, Iowa, at Minnesota, Wisconsin, and at Indiana.
Purdue has a legitimate shot at being 5-1 heading into that matchup vs Ohio State. Then reality hits them as we predict they lose 4 out of the last 6 to finish 7-5 for the second straight year, earning another bowl game. Fan excitement will still be on the rise as Jeff Brohm continues to put the program in the right direction.