As Central Michigan enter it's fifth season with Dan Enos at the helm, the fans in Mt Pleasant are looking for the wins to come more regularly. Two consecutive seasons reaching bowl eligibility with a bowl victory included is nice, but Enos and the Chippewas will be looking for more in 2014. A (likely) win over FCS Chattanooga to start the season will make the Chips 1-0 as they travel to West Lafayette to take on Purdue.
Purdue 2013 In Review
Needless to say 2013 was a disappointing season for the Purdue Boilermakers. Last season the Boilermakers lost 11 games by an average of over 25 points including two shutout losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, and a 31 point loss at home to MAC power Northern Illinois.
Purdue will open their season at home against another team coming off a 1-11 season in Western Michigan before the Chippewas come to West Lafayette.
The Boilermaker name was started by a reporter who referenced the train-like fashion in which Purdue dominated Wabash College in a game in 1891.
Naturally the best way to personify such a powerful force is with a sledgehammer-weilding, large-headed rail worker outfitted in Purdue garb. Purdue Pete as he is known climbed out of the deepest depths of the uncanny valley alongside Tom Hanks' character from The Polar Express, and now can be seen at Purdue athletic events cheering on the Boilermakers while simultaneously being ready at a moments notice to hammer down any loose rail ties.
Ross-Ade Stadium has been home to the Boilermakers since 1924. The stadium holds just over 56,000 fans due to the south side end zone bleachers being removed after the 2013 season. Over the past 15 years Ross-Ade stadium has undergone over 70 million dollars in renovations, none of which was used to install permanent lights.
The Boilermakers are lead by former Kent State head coach Darrell Hazell. Purdue and Hazell are entering their 2nd season together, and are still looking for their first win over an FBS opponent.
Five Key Players
DeAngelo Yancey, Wide Receiver
Danny Etling, Quarterback
Danny Anthrop, Wide Receiver
Akeem Hunt, Running Back, Kick Returner
Thomas Meadows, Punter
The Boilermakers were led by true freshman quarterback Danny Etling in 2013. Etling took over for a struggling Rob Henry after just four games. The next week Henry was moved to safety where he played the remainder of the season. Etling's youth showed periodically throughout the year passing for only 10 touchdowns while throwing 7 interceptions. Four of Etling's TD passes came in the last game of the season against Indiana. It's not likely that such an offensive explosion will become the norm for Etling just yet, but still look for him to improve on 2013 having a full offseason to prepare.
The Boilermakers didn't have much of a running game in 2013. Akeem Hunt got the bulk of the rushing attempts in 2013 racking up a massive 464 rushing yards and despite playing consistently the whole season, scored only one rushing touchdown. Much of the blame for the offensive struggles for the Boilermakers can be put on the offensive live. In addition to being unable to open holes to run through, the O-line allowed Etling to be sacked 31 times in the 8 games he started.
In an attempt to sure up their offensive line, Purdue signed junior college transfer David Hedelin. Coach Hazell has said that the 6'8'' 390-pound transfer will start at one of the guard positions in 2014.
Look for this young offense to improve in 2014, but struggles are still very likely for the Boilermakers.
Despite seeming to allow teams to score at will in 2013, the Boilermakers did have a few bright spots on their defense this past season. Ricardo Allen let the Boilermakers with 6 picks last season and was drafted by the Atlanta Falcons in the 5th round of the NFL Draft. And former quarterback turned safety Rob Henry even finds himself on the Oakland Raiders roster heading into the preseason. The bad news for the Boilermakers is that the rest of their defense was completely anemic this past season. No one player recorded more than one sack last season, and opponents were able to rush the ball at will against the soft Boilermaker defense.
In 2013 Purdue allowed their opponents to gain well over 100 more first downs then they achieved, as well as allowing their opponents to rush for over 2000 yards more than they gained over the whole season. The Purdue defense allowed an average of 5.3 yards per carry and 235 yards per game on the ground in 2013.
Purdue allowed their opponents to score over 40 points seven times last season. The only FBS opponent they held under 20 points was Michigan State in their 14-0 loss in Spartan Stadium. Over the span of three weeks last season Purdue were outscored 114-7 by Nebraska, Michigan State, and Ohio State.
Field goal kicking was an issue for the Boilermakers last year as well. Paul Griggs made only 50% of his field goal attempts last season. Though he did make a respectable long field goal of 47 yards. Griggs led the Boilermakers in points scored.
The punter Cody Webster saw the field almost as much as any of his teammates last year. In his 70 punts he averaged 43.5 yards per punt as well as booting 17 of those punts over 50 yards. He also managed a longest punt of 73 yards. While he was no Zac Murphy, Webster was certainly a solid and well-practiced punter. Thomas Meadows will be stepping into the full-time punter roll, and he will have some big boots to fill.
The most successful facet of the Boilermakers game last season was perhaps their kick returning. Akeem Hunt took one 99 yards to the house last season and averaged just over 26 yards per return. He's certainly not setting the world on fire, but those are some solid numbers which is more than you can say for the rest of the team.
It can't get much worse after last season for the Boilermakers. I expect improvement from last season from the Boilermakers, but boy they sure were awful last season. I think CMU has made enough strides the last few seasons that they will come out on top against Purdue. Expect a few touchdowns in this one. Chips win 38-28