The Nebraska Cornhuskers are as hungry for a conference title as any team in the country after losing to Michigan State just three weeks ago. Nebraska feels it is just as good of a team as any in the nation and, with a favorable schedule remaining, winning out seems likely.
After beginning the season with a 1-2 record overall, the Purdue Boilermakers were being called one of the worst teams in the nation. However, after a change of quarterbacks, the Boilermakers have been much more competitive, despite just a 3-5 record.
The Cornhuskers have one of the best rushing offenses in the entire nation behind Ameer Abdullah and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. who lead the seventh-best offense in terms of rushing yards per game this year. Abdullah is one of the nation’s best backs and a Heisman candidate as he has accounted for four 200-yard games and at least one touchdown in every contest this season. On the year, Abdullah has racked up 1,249 yards and 17 touchdowns while catching 13 passes for 169 yards and another two scores. Armstrong Jr., a sophomore QB, has passed for 1,709 yards and 12 touchdowns while sitting at second on the team with 501 yards rushing and three touchdowns — Abdullah and Armstrong Jr. have been a lethal combo this year. Senior wide out Kenny Bell — 33 catches for 572 yards and two scores — and junior Jordan Westerkamp — 30 receptions for 532 yards and four scores — have led all receivers by a wide margin.
It will be interesting to watch as the somewhat-lethargic offense of Purdue tries to keep up with the Cornhuskers on the road. The Boilermakers have a lackluster passing attack, despite an improvement at quarterback in the past few weeks, to go along with a solid rushing attack. Austin Appleby has been a bit more accurate than his fellow sophomore QB Danny Etling, completing 60 percent of his passes to Etling’s 55 percent. In just three starts this season — along with some other limited time — Appleby has passed for 655 yards and six touchdowns to go along with just four interceptions. Danny Anthrop has been the team’s leading receiver no matter who the quarterback is, catching 34 passes for 536 yards and four touchdowns while the next closest receiver, Justin Sinz, has just 196 yards and a score. Akeem Hunt leads the run game with 640 yards and five touchdowns while Raheem Mostert has added 466 yards and three scores.
Defensively, Purdue has struggled to keep up with a majority of its opponents. The Boilermakers rank just 85th in total yards allowed per game while securing the 91st-ranked scoring defense in the nation. Nebraska has been far more impressive, ranking 25th in total yards allowed per game as well as 22nd in points allowed per contest. The Memorial Stadium crowd will be rocking, hungry for a win that will put the Huskers one step closer to a Big Ten West Division title.
Purdue will travel to Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers at 3:30 p.m. EST on Saturday, Nov. 1. The game will be broadcasted on ABC and ESPN 2.
PREDICTION: Purdue 16, Nebraska 38
Want to see the Boilermakers take on the Cornhuskers in week 10? Check out ScoreBig for tickets.
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.