This will be the third time Nebraska and Purdue will meet. Before the Boildermakers joined the Big Ten last year, they defeated Nebraska 28-0 in 1958. This year, Purdue is struggling with a 3-5 season,while the Cornhuskers boast a 7-1 record. Purdue recently switched out quarterback Danny Etling for backup Austin Appleby, who has been far more successful on the field. But it will take more than a quarterback change for the Boilermakers to defeat Nebraska on its home turf.
Nebraska has a powerful weapon in running back Ameer Abdullah. A highly talked-about Heisman Candidate, he has over 1200 rushing yards and has logged 17 touchdowns so far this season. It’s essential that the Boilermaker’s defense stop Abdullah to keep the Nebraska scores at a minimum. For Purdue to even have a chance of rectifying its losing season, it will need to show up with a concrete defense. If the Boilermakers’ defense is soft, expect Nebraska to win in a blowout.
Appleby could push the Boilermakers to keep up with the Cornhuskers. He has started for the last three games, winning against Illinois, falling short by one point against Minnesota and staying within striking distance of Michigan State. Appleby has the talent; he has completed 60 percent of his passes. He also has tailback Akeem Hunt at his side, who is averaging 6.2 yards per carry. Alternating the passing and running game could give Nebraska’s defense a run for its money.
While Nebraska shouldn’t fully count out Purdue, having a consistent quarterback in Tommy Armstrong Jr. and an elite running back in Abdullah will put it ahead of the Boilermakers’ fledgling team. Expect the Cornhuskers to take control of the game fast and work the scoreboard and clock.
Prediction: Nebraska 42, Purdue 21