Purdue Boilermakers Quarterback Austin Appleby Shows Potential Against Indiana State

By Evan Massey
Austin Appleby
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Purdue Boilermakers faced off against the Indiana State Sycamores yesterday afternoon for their home opener and took care of business in a big  38-14 win, which was a much needed win following the disappointing Week 1 loss on the road against Marshall. Austin Appleby came through with a big performance against the Sycamores and there is a lot of excitement around the Purdue fan base about his play.

Appleby ended up completing 20 of his 34 passing attempts for 289 yards and four touchdowns on the afternoon. He also picked up 50 rushing yards on 12 attempts.

Those numbers are what Purdue needs to see more of moving ahead. Appleby has the talent to be a starting quarterback for the Boilermakers, but he can’t afford to play inconsistent football. If he can continue making strong throws and big plays like he did against Indiana State, the future is bright for Purdue this season.

At 6-foot-5 and 239 pounds, Appleby is a very strong physical presence at the quarterback position. He displayed that strength in Week 1 against Marshall on a bootleg around the outside, stiff arming the defender in the face and completing a jump pass for a short touchdown. That kind of playmaking ability is going to be needed against Big Ten rivals.

Indiana State is not a quality opponent and the Boilermakers cannot find themselves treating them as such. It was a good win, but it was against a very easy team. Things can still be taken away from the game and confidence should rise, but things will get much more difficult from this point forward.

One thing that Purdue hasn’t had in quite some time is a leader at the quarterback position. If they truly want to make a run this season at a bowl game, they need Appleby to grab the bull by its horns and become that leader and consistent playmaker.

Taking care of the football is the biggest key for Appleby moving forward. Purdue cannot afford the careless interceptions that he threw during their game against Marshall. Turnovers kill football teams trying to rebuild and that will be the case once again this season for Appleby and his Boilermakers.

That being said, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic about the future for Appleby and the Purdue football program. They certainly look much better from a fundamental standpoint and it is obvious that head coach Darrell Hazell‘s plan is beginning to come to form.

Purdue is extremely tough on the ground with D.J. Knox and Markell Jones chewing up yardage left and right. Appleby doesn’t have to force the issue with a running game like the Boilermakers have, which is exactly the position that Hazell wanted his offense to be in this season.

Even in the loss against Marshall, Purdue was obviously the more conditioned team and had a tougher mentality than their opponent.

Assuming they continue having that type of a mentality, there is no team that they can’t beat. If they take care of the football and focus on playing their game, Purdue has a chance to have a very solid season throughout the remainder of 2015.

Evan Massey is a featured writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Massey_Evan and like him on Facebook.

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