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August 27, 2012

First Look: Eastern Kentucky

Purdue opens its 2012 season Saturday at 3:30 p.m., when Eastern Kentucky visits Ross-Ade Stadium.

Here is a quick look at the Colonels. GoldandBlack.com will have much more on the opponent throughout the week.

Eastern Kentucky is one of the top FCS teams in the country, ranked 21st nationally, and the preseason favorite in the Ohio Valley Conference.

The Colonels return 17 starters from last season, including an OVC-leading 10 preseason all-conference picks. That includes preseason FCS All-America running back Matt Denham, a Kentucky transfer who ran for nearly 1,600 yards last season, along with nine touchdowns.

He works behind a line that features two of the best linemen in the FCS ranks: Patrick Ford and Aaron Adams.

Eastern Kentucky returns all but one starter on offense.

Starting quarterback T.J. Pryor, though, has battled a hamstring injury, putting his availability for Saturday into question.

Sophomore Jared McClain would start in Pryor's place.

In 2011, Pryor threw for 1,600 yards on 56-percent passing with 18 TDs and eight interceptions.

McClain played in six games last year and was said this summer to be pushing Pryor for the starting job anyway.

Much of the Colonel staff worked with Purdue head coach Danny Hope or assistants Donn Landholm, J.B. Gibboney and Shawn Clark, who worked the 2008 season in Richmond before joining Hope in West Lafayette.

Purdue is 6-0 all-time against I-AA/FCS teams and riding a string of seven straight wins in season-openers at home.

Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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