Week 12 – Purdue at Illinois

Posted Nov 15, 2012

Week 12 Fearless Prediction & Game Preview – Purdue at Illinois

Purdue (4-6) at Illinois (2-8) Nov. 17, 3:30, BTN

Here's The Deal: Is it really possible that Purdue can make the turnaround? After a brutal five-game losing streak with defeats coming in a variety of ways, the Boilermakers came up with the desperation victory they absolutely needed to have with a 27-24 thriller over Iowa last week. Now there's no excuse to not get to six wins with Big Ten lightweights Illinois and Indiana to close things out. If head coach Danny Hope's fate is sealed, there could be an interesting ride out if his team can win its final three games and go off to a bowl game.

Illinois is simply looking for something positive in a lost year. On a seven-game losing streak, the Illini haven't even been close with all the defeats, including an embarrassment against Arizona State, coming by 14 points or more. Nothing is working offensively, the defense has been awful, and the special teams have struggled. Other than that, everything is going fine in Tim Beckman's first season. Beating Purdue wouldn't exactly turn things around, but it would give the program a little bit of momentum going into the season finale at Northwestern.

Why Purdue Might Win: Illinois still isn't scoring. Instead of the offense getting better as the season is going on, things keep getting worse. With 139 yards of total offense against Michigan, 170 against Ohio State, and three points against Minnesota, the Illini can't seem to find anything to count on. Even against a Louisiana Tech defense that's getting ripped apart by anyone that can field 11 live bodies, Illinois managed just 324 yards in the shootout loss. The passing game isn't generating anything down the field, the 23 turnovers on the season aren't helping, and the pass protection has been a disaster. If Purdue can come up with any sort of lead it should be able to coast.

Why Illinois Might Win: It's not like Purdue has been a model of offensive consistency. The passing game has been among the best in the Big Ten in terms of yards, but it doesn't generate too much down the field and it can't seem to get the receivers to make big plays unless they're catching the ball in stride on the move – the Illini secondary isn't going to get beaten by Boilermakers getting behind them. This isn't likely to be a shootout, and there's a chance for Illinois to win the field position battle with a punting game that leads the Big Ten averaging close to 39 yards per kick. Purdue isn't doing enough on punt returns with a paltry four yards per shot. If they have to go on a long field, the Boilermakers could struggle.

What To Watch Out For: It has been a long, rocky, crazy career for Purdue quarterback Robert Marve. The former Miami Hurricane hasn't had any luck whatsoever with injures and now is closing things out fighting through a knee injury and a torn ACL. Finally, the offense seems to have a quarterback to work around after he completed 25-of-33 passes for 266 yards and two scores, but it might be just a wee bit too late. Marve is fiery, tough, and with a ton of moxie, and against Illinois, that might be enough.

What Will Happen: Purdue will keep on producing well enough to take the next step forward before having a shot against Indiana for bowl eligibility. The offense will be balanced and will come out how, and while the Illini will be able to run a bit, there won't be nearly enough production to be able to keep up the pace.

CFN Prediction: Purdue 26 … Illinois 13
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Purdue -7 O/U: 50.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Killing Them Softly, 1 – The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2): 2