Friday, November 24, 2006

Purdue Hawaii Prediction

Purdue travels to the island of Oahu this weekend to take on the Warriors of Hawaii in Aloha Stadium. Hawaii has put up some gaudy numbers on offense this year behind the performance of their star quarterback Colt Brennan. Brennan has thrown for better than 4,000 yards and 48 touchdowns in thrashing just about every defense in the WAC. Can they inflict the same damage on a defense from the Big Ten, albeit a weak one?

Much has been made of this being an unnecessary road trip for the Boilermakers at the end of a very grueling 13 game season. This will be the 13th game in as many weeks for Purdue, and one that requires 13 hours of travel. Purdue doesn't have much to play for this weekend, as their bowl destination is already known. Purdue has already punched their tickets for the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando. Also, there is no financial motive to play this game as Tiller said that the Purdue Athletic Dept could actually end up losing money as a result of this trip.

It's been well documented that Tiller has tried to get this game cancelled on numerous occasions and who can blame him. Who wants to risk injury for a game that doesn't count for much of anything? Perhaps the only thing that Purdue has to play for is a chance at 10 wins, something that no other Tiller coached Purdue team can claim. "We've talked a lot about an opportunity to win a game against a quality opponent on the road," Tiller said, "try to win the ninth game of the year. We've challenged them with that." Hopefully that will be enough motivation for the Boilers.

There are two keys to the game for Purdue. One of them is Anthony Spencer. Spencer leads the nation in tackles for loss and is a disruptor on the defensive side of the ball unlike any Hawaii has seen this year. If Spencer can get to Brennan it will disrupt the timing and rhythm of the Hawaii offense, a key to their success. The second key for Purdue is its rushing offense. Kory Sheets and Jaycen Taylor have hit their stride in recent weeks and make for a great 1-2 punch running the ball. For Purdue to win, the offense needs to play ball control and keep the Hawaii offense on the sideline.

This game won't be nearly as high scoring as most think. Spencer will make a living in the Hawaii backfield bolstering his case for an All-American selection. Like recent weeks, the Purdue offense will do just enough to get the win.