Deep Dive: Week Two
Time for the Deep Dive …
1. It is nice to start a year with a win. The last time Purdue opened 1-0? It was in 2016, Darrell Hazell’s final season, when Purdue knocked off FCS Eastern Kentucky.• The last 2-0 start? You have to go back to 2007, when Joe Tiller was coach and the Boilermakers began the season 5-0.• The last time Purdue won its Big Ten opener was 2011, when the Boilers took down Minnesota under Danny Hope.• The last 2-0 Big Ten start was in 2010, when Purdue won at Northwestern and vs. Minnesota.
2. It is rare for true freshmen to play along the offensive line. But Gus Hartwig looks like the exception. He played 13 snaps at center on Saturday vs. Iowa. The last true freshmen o-linemen who played meaningful snaps for Purdue were Jordan Grimes, Ken Plue and Dennis Kelly. Plue was at Milford Academy before Purdue, where he started six games at guard as a true frosh in 2008. That same season, Kelly played in five games. As a freshman in 2004, Grimes became the first true freshman in more than a decade to start on the Boilermaker offensive line, starting in one game and seeing playing time in 10. The staff loves Hartwig. Gonna be fun watching him develop.
3. David Bell was targeted an eye-popping 21 times in the opener vs. Iowa. How does that stack up with his targets in 2019? Bell's high target games were 20 times at Northwestern and 20 times at Wisconsin. His other double-digit target games i 2019: 14 Minnesota; 10 Maryland; 17 at Iowa; 14 Indiana. FYI: Rondale Moore never has been targeted 20 times in a game. His season-high in 2018 was 18 targets vs. Ohio State. Last year, it was 18 targets vs. Vanderbilt.
4. Will Rondale play Saturday? Won't he? Dunno. Purdue hasn't offered any real insight into the situation at all. My best guess: Moore is nursing an injury and doesn't want to play unless he's 100 percent. He has a lot on the line. Moore doesn't want to get hurt again ... and when he plays, he wants to make sure he is 100 percent. Besides: Purdue may not need him to win at Illinois. Let Moore get "all right." Heck, if Purdue's game at Wisco on Nov. 7 gets scrubbed, Moore may not play until Nov. 14, when Northwestern visits Ross-Ade Stadium. Again, this is all my guess at the situation. Stay tuned.
5. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Sanoussi Kane is gonna be a good one. The true freshman made his presence felt in his debut, when he laid a big hit on the opening kickoff. Kane played on kickoff coverage, kickoff returns, punt coverage and punt returns. And his two special-teams tackles tied for the team lead. I wonder how soon Kanes cracks the defensive lineup.
6. Champaign has been Purdue’s home away from home. Since 1994, the Boilermaker are 8-2 in their last 10 trips to Memorial Stadium, having won the last four and six of seven. The losses have come in 2010 and 2002. The Boilermakers walloped the Fighting Illini the last time they visit Chambana, taking a 46-7 decision in 2018.
Rick Trefzger helped Purdue shock Illinois, 22-16, way back in 1994. Where were you? I was there.
7. Purdue looks like it may have a magical QB in junior Aidan O’Connell, who already has engineered three-game winning drives. A look at each one:
2019 Nebraska: Trailing 27-24
Drive start time: 4:21
Drive end time: 1:08
O’Connell passing: 3-of-3, 43 yards
Result: David Bell 9-yard rushing TD
2019 At Northwestern: Trailing 22-21
Drive start time: 2:30
Drive end time: 0:03
O’Connell passing: 4-of-6, 26 yards
Result: J.D. Dellinger 39-yard FG
2020 Iowa: Trailing 20-17
Drive start time: 6:00
Drive finish time: 2:15
O’Connell passing: 3-of-6, 26 yards
Result: David Bell 6-yard receiving TD
The Cannon is no Old Oaken Bucket, but it's kinda cool. Kinda.
8. Trophy game this week! The Cannon is on the line. My ranking of Purdue's trophies from "cool" factor:
1. Old Oaken Bucket
My top five "cool" Big Ten trophies:
1. Floyd of Rosedale: Iowa-Minnesota
2. Old Brass Spittoon: IU-MSU
3. Bourbon Barrell (defunct): IU-UK
4. Old Oaken Bucket: Purdue-IU
5. Paul Bunyan's Axe: Wisco-Minnesota
The A-Train is a two-time member of Purdue's VERY exclusive 1,000-yard season rushing club.
9. Speaking of Zander Horvath, he is on a roll, having rushed for over 100 yards in each of the last two games. Makes you wonder: When will Purdue have a 1,000-yard rushers again? The last time it happened was 2008, when Kory Sheets ran for 1,131 yards. It’s the longest current drought without a 1,000-yard rusher in the Big Ten.
There have been just eight seasons—six different players—that featured a 1,000-yard rusher in the Boilermakers’ history:
1968: Leroy Keyes 1,003
1970: Otis Armstrong 1,009
1972: Otis Armstrong 1,361
1976: Scott Dierking 1,000
1994: Mike Alstott 1,188
1995: Mike Alstott 1,436
2002: Joey Harris 1,115
2008: Kory Sheets 1,131
The closest Purdue has come to having a 1,000-yard rusher since 2008 was Akeem Hunt in 2014, when he ran for 949 yards.
10. The true freshmen who appeared on the first depth chart:
WR Collin Sullivan
C Gus Hartwig
WR Maliq Carr
QB Michel Alaimo
DE Kydran Jenkins
OLB Antonio Stevens
CB Sanoussi Kane
LB Clyde Washington
KR/PR Marcellus Moore
P Brendan Cropsey
K Edward Dellinger
I was a bit surprised to see Stevens, Jenkins and Washington. Stevens actually played five snaps. Big surprise. I was hoping to see Moore as a WR ... or return man. Had heard raves about WR Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen. Eager to see him. Deep d-line probably hurts Greg Hudgins and Bryce Austin.
Thanks for reading!