The Boilers are preparing for a hot, physical game against a hungry Rice team that, for the most part, played well against Big 12 powerhouse, Texas, in its opener last Saturday.
With temperatures expected to be in the mid 90s, head coach Danny Hope is glad the Boilers played in warm conditions last week against Middle Tennessee State to prepare for this weekend.
“Saturday was great conditioning for our game in Houston where it will be hot,” Hope said. “Going on the road is a big step for our football team and we will have to play well on the road to have a good season.”
Hope sees Rice as a very similar team to the 2010 Boilers who fought through an injury-ridden season. He also knows they possess a very dangerous combination of the option and wildcat packages that could cause trouble for Purdue.
“Rice is a very physical football team,” Hope said. “They thought they would have a good football team and had a lot of injuries. They are very physical on defense. Offensively they have returned some weapons and have a tough option run game.”
One of the weak points in the Middle Tennessee State game was penalties on the offensive line. Though some can be explained as first game jitters, there is no excuse for a third-and-five to turn into a third-and-25 because of multiple penalties. Hope promises there to be a huge jump in fixing pre-snap problems from the first game to the second game.
“We came out with a brand new quarterback who hadn’t taken many game snaps since high school,” Hope said. “We also did a lot of no-huddle offense to try to slow the blitz down and doing that for the first time in a game with a new quarterback is hard. We didn’t take care of business prior to the snap.”
In his time at Purdue, Joe Tiller made it a priority to recruit the state of Texas and Hope is very excited to return to Texas where Purdue has a lot of fan support.
“When we had Drew Brees on the team we got a lot of publicity in the state of Texas and we did very well recruiting Texas,” Hope said. “We went back to Texas this last spring and rallied up a lot of Purdue football advocates in Dallas. We’re glad to be playing there.”
As Hope said last week, Rice is the most important game to this point. Senior kicker Carson Wiggs, who kicked 47 and 50 yard field goals last weekend, knows the team will be prepared for Saturday and won’t be looking forward to the October 2 showdown against Notre Dame.
“Any game that is coming up is the most important game,” Wiggs said. “You have to win that one to get to the next level. Rice is the only game we’re worried about right now because they are our next opponent and they are the most dangerous right now.”