#66 Purdue 2018 Football Preview

Purdue Boilermakers
Overall Rank: #66
#9 Big Ten
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Purdue finished last season on a high note. They had to beat Iowa and rival Indiana to even get to six wins and reach a bowl game and they managed to do it. And then in the Foster Farms Bowl, the Boilermakers knocked off Arizona 38-35. That was a very good debut season for Coach Jeff Brohm and now he will look to keep the bowl run going in 2018.
2017 Record: 7-6, 4-5
2017 Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl vs. Arizona (W 38-35)
Coach: Jeff Brohm (7-6 at Purdue, 37-16 overall)
Offensive Coordinators: Brian Brohm, JaMarcus Shephard
Defensive Coordinators: Nick Holt, Anthony Poindexter
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Markell Jones, RB, 566 yards
Passing: Elijah Sindelar, QB, 2,099 yards
Receiving: Jackson Anthrop, WR, 853 yards
Tackles: Markus Bailey, LB, 89
Sacks: Markus Bailey, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Jacob Thieneman, S, 2; Navon Mosley, S, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB D.J. Knox, QB David Blough, TE Cole Herdman
Key Losses: WR Anthony Mahoungou, WR Gregory Phillips, OL David Steinmetz, LB Ja’Whaun Bentley, CB Josh Okonye, LB T.J. McCollum, DE Gelen Robinson, DTLorenzo Neal, LB Danny Ezechukwu
The Boilermakers brought in Coach Brohm for his offensive prowess. The team ranked fifth in the Big Ten in total offense and with eight starters returning on offense and a year in the system, it should only get better. Quarterbacks David Blough and Elijah Sindelar are both back and expect both of them to see action again in 2018. Blough is a little more mobile and is a very good senior leader. Through an injury riddled 2017, he threw for 1,103 yards and nine touchdowns, while completing 65.0 percent of his passes. Sindelar is not as efficient, but he does have a big arm and threw for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns last season. Jackson Anthrop is a solid possession receiver, but others need to step up. Isaac Zico and Terry Wright have some experience, but eventually freshman Rondale Moore might steal the show. At running back Purdue certainly does not lack options. Markell Jones and D.J. Knox were the most productive players last year, but Tario Fuller and Richie Worship will be in the mix as well. Fuller looked very good in his three games before an injury ended his season, rushing for 261 yards and two scores on just 43 carries.
The defense made drastic improvements in 2017, but many of the key players are now gone. The run defense ranked 29th in the nation, yet there are only two starters back in the front seven. Tackle Lorenzo Neal will have to anchor an inexperienced line, while Markus Bailey moves back to his middle linebacker spot after tallying 89 tackles a season ago. The secondary returns safeties Jacob Thieneman and Navon Mosley, but could be starting two freshmen at cornerback. Dedrick Mackey and Kenneth Major are talented freshmen, but throwing on Purdue could become relatively easy, especially if the front seven is not getting consistent pressure on the quarterback.
The Bottom Line:
Once again bowl eligibility could come down to the season finale against Indiana. Purdue starts the season with four home games against Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, Missouri and Boston College. Those are not easy games and, of course, there are tougher games coming up later on the schedule. The most winnable Big Ten games come on the road against Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana. If the defense can do enough though, the offense has enough firepower to win six of those games.
Projected Bowl: Foster Farms Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 151.5 (82nd in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 251.5 (46, 5)
Total Offense: 403.1 (61, 5)
Scoring Offense: 25.2 (91, 8)
Rushing Defense: 132.9 (29, 7)
Pass Defense: 242.5 (93, 13)
Total Defense: 375.5 (52, 10)
Scoring Defense: 20.5 (24, 8)
Turnover Margin: 0.31 (40, 6)
Sacks: 2.23 (51, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 2.54 (98, 11)

Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#216 Rondale Moore