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November 16, 2012

Matchup Preview: Purdue-Illinois





GoldandBlack.com breaks down how Purdue and Illinois might match up Saturday, when the Boilermakers visit Memorial Stadium.

When Purdue's running ...

It wasn't Purdue's best rushing game of the season at Iowa - it ran for far more yards against Eastern Michigan - but it was its most impressive, as the Boilermakers ran for 211 yards. Purdue got push at the line of scrimmage and Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers were the physical aggressors. Illinois, meanwhile, has gotten trampled against the run in Big Ten play.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

When Purdue's passing ...

Robert Marve played very well at Iowa, but more importantly, the protection was sound and the ball was caught. Those were major issues before. It's critical that Purdue be able to establish the run like it did last week, for the purpose of balance.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

When Illinois is running ...

Purdue's defensive front was very good at Iowa and would seem to be trending upward heading into a meeting with Illinois' anemic offense. The Boilermakers' tackling was as good as it's been all season in Iowa City. Illinois ranks 99th nationally in rushing, its best mark among major offensive categories.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

When Illinois is passing ...

Illinois has given up a staggering 34 sacks this season, and Purdue seems to be primed to exploit it. Its defensive line was very disruptive last time out and its blitz pressure is affecting games more and more in recent weeks.

Advantage: Purdue (decided)

Special teams

Purdue's kickoff return team has been dangerous this season and punter Cody Webster was excellent at Iowa. Purdue made a huge field goal last weekend. Illinois does nothing on special teams terribly well.

Advantage: Purdue (slight)

Intangibles

Look, we know Purdue is just 1-5 in the Big Ten and that was kept in mind when giving the Boilermaker the edge all across the board. It's just that Illinois is really struggling and Purdue, if last game is any indication, might be on an up-tick. The Iowa game was one of its best all-around performances of the season, certainly its best of the Big Ten season. If the Boilermakers perform at the line of scrimmage the way they did last weekend, that should go a long way toward a win.




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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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