Behind Enemy Lines: Purdue Boilermakers

We have talked about the upcoming game with Purdue from just about every angle outside of what they are saying from the Purdue side.

So that is exactly what we are going to do. We have hit all of the factoids of what this series has been, long term and short term.

Let’s just catch up with Tom Dienhart of to get the latest from the Purdue side of things and head behind enemy lines.

Every game and every season is different but Purdue is 5-3 against Ohio State in West Lafayette since the 2000 season. While there may be no unifying thread between all those games, why is Purdue just such a tough place for the Buckeyes and how does that time in with the Spoilermakers moniker?

Tom Dienhart: I have no idea why OSU has struggled at Purdue. It makes no sense. The Boilermakers never have the more talented team and often are two- or three-TD underdogs. Maybe it’s a case of the Buckeyes overlooking the Boilermakers. No other way to explain OSU’s struggles in West Lafayette.

How is the Purdue offense different now under Ryan Walters? What does Hudson Card do well and where may he still not quite be there?

Tom Dienhart: This is an Air Raid-based offense that will take whatever defenses are giving it. The running attack arguably has been the strong point of the offense, led by Devin Mockobee. But sidekick Tyrone Tracy likely will be out with injury. Card is a savvy passer who can make all the throws and extend plays with his feet. If he needs to run, he will. But know this: Card is pretty banged up as this game approaches. He was last week, too, and that impacted how he played, often holding the ball too long.

How is the Purdue defense different now under Ryan Walters? Where does this defense really make its stand?

Tom Dienhart: This is a five-man front flanked with OLBs on each end (a Fox and a Buck). Purdue has been good at getting pressure off the edge. Watch OLBs Kydran Jenkins and Nic Scourton. The interior is big and deep. But the back seven is worrisome. The ILBs are pedestrian. And one of the starting corners—a spot that lacks depth—will be a true freshman.

This team appears to be pretty banged up, what are some key subtractions and how impactful will that be on Purdue this week?

Tom Dienhart: As mentioned, Tracy likely won’t play. Marquis Wilson, a Penn State transfer and probably the team’s top corner, is done for the year, as is precocious TE Max Klare. And OT Marcus Mbow suffered a season-ending injury last week. He arguably is the team’s top blocker. Before the year began, Jahmal Edrine (FAU transfer) suffered a season-ending knee injury. He was thought to be the team’s top wideout.

How do you see this game playing out and what is your final score prediction?

Tom Dienhart: Hard to see Purdue staying in this one. Ohio State will have to have multiple turnovers and the Boilers will need to strike for some big-play TDs to stay in this one. And maybe OSU will be looking ahead to the Penn State game. But, bottom line, this Purdue offense lacks the explosiveness needed to beat a foe like this. And will the corners hold up vs. Ohio State’s elite wideouts? On and on the questions go.

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