2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Purdue at Rice
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Sept. 10 at Rice 24 ... Purdue 22
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) HOUSTON -- Justin Allen blocked Carson Wiggs' 31-yard field-goal attempt as time expired and Rice snapped its 10-year losing streak against Bowl Championship Series teams with a 24-22 victory over Purdue on Saturday.
The Owls (1-1) had lost 22 consecutive games to BCS opponents since a 15-13 win over Duke on Sept. 8, 2001. Rice had not beaten a Big Ten team since a 40-34 win at Northwestern in 1997.
The Boilermakers got the ball near midfield with 1:52 remaining, and three long runs by Ralph Bolden moved them inside the 20.
Purdue was content to let the clock run down so that Wiggs' kick would be the final play. But Allen surged through the middle of the line and blocked it, and the Owls' sideline emptied onto the field in celebration.
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Purdue (1-0) at Rice (0-1) Sept. 10, 3:30, CBS Sports Network
Here's The Deal … Purdue's glass these days—is it half-full or half-empty? On the one hand, the Boilermakers displayed a ton of perseverance and character by battling back twice in the fourth quarter to pull out the opener. On the other hand, the visitor to Ross-Ade Stadium was Middle Tennessee, an opponent that didn't figure to present so many problems. The pulsating victory snapped a six-game losing streak, which head coach Danny Hope feels can be the start of a new trend for his team.
Respectable as it may have been, Rice took its annual lumps from Texas, falling 34-9 in Austin. Getting thumped by larger programs in September is a common occurrence for the Owls, which always schedules well above its pay grade. The key, though, for David Bailiff's team is to execute better in the winnable contests, such as the home opener this Saturday.
Why Purdue Might Win: Scoring on Rice is never a problem, lending hope to a Boilermakers offense searching for more consistency and big plays. The staff is particularly excited about the future of QB Caleb TerBush who, in his first start on Saturday, threw the game-winning touchdown pass with less than a minute to play. He did a nice job of limiting his mistakes and spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. He'll also continue to be helped by the return of productive RB Ralph Bolden. After missing all of 2010 with an injury, the junior rushed for 120 yards on only 17 carries in his return to the lineup. The Owls rarely fare well when matching up with balanced offenses.
Why Rice Might Win: If Purdue turns this game into a track meet, the Owls harbor the sprinters to keep pace. Forget the fact that Rice managed just three field goals in the opener. On defense, the Boilermakers aren't in the same zip code as the Longhorns, as Middle Tennessee pointed out in Week 1. The Blue Raiders rung up 330 yards through the air on Purdue, a level of production the Owls can approach. Taylor McHargue is an exciting playmaker at quarterback when defenders aren't draped all over him. He'll improvise to move the chains or get the ball in the hands of one of his teammates. The sophomore likes to employ his big receivers and dangerous RB Sam McGuffie who hopes to be healthier than he was in Week 1.
What To Watch Out For: While McHargue clearly wants to test that vulnerable Purdue secondary, he might want to be careful which side of the field he attacks. No. 21, specifically, ought to be avoided if possible. Sophomore CB Ricardo Allen is one of the Boilermakers' rising stars on defense. A gifted playmaker and all-around athlete, he's liable to jump the route and make the Owls pay for challenging him through the air. Testament to his knack for game-changing plays, he preserved Purdue's opening day win by charging off the edge and blocking a potential game-tying field goal as time expired.
What Will Happen: Either Purdue is going to cop back-to-back games or Rice will pick up a rare win over a Big Ten opponent. Someone is going to be celebrating loudly on Saturday night. The Boilermakers took a step forward a week ago, even if it stumbled to get there. The program will build on its come-from-behind victory, further exposing the holes in the leaky Owls defense. While the Boilers will be sloppy at times, they'll get enough on offense from TerBush and Bolden to get out of Houston with a close victory.
CFN Prediction: Purdue 31 … Rice 24
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Purdue-1 O/U: 51
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