9/28/19 Minnesota, King Doerue, Viktor Beach, Mark Stickford

Sophomore linemen Viktor Beach and Mark Stickford clear the way for freshman running back King Doerue. Doerue would score his second of two touchdowns on this play. 

After the first two weeks of the college season, football fans were eyeing this week’s matchup with great interest. Purdue was on track to put up some dominating performances in the Big Ten West, and University of Maryland had just run a ranked team out of Baltimore. These teams were looking to make their divisions really interesting.

And then everything else happened.

Purdue replaced its entire roster with copies of the “glass bones and paper skin” guy from that episode of SpongeBob SquarePants, and at this rate, they may have to hold open tryouts for offensive positions in advance of their last four games. The underclassmen talent shows some serious promise, but the ratio of points scored to injuries suffered might doom the season.

Maryland ran up a frightening 63-20 score against then-No. 21 Syracuse University in Week 2, but it’s been pretty inconsistent since then. Two blowouts against cupcakes in addition to the above slaughtering looks good, but it’s counterpointed by a weak loss to Temple University. In addition, the Terrapins were on the receiving end of a blowout in Week 4, losing 59-0 at home against Pennsylvania State University.

This is our critical point of examination. By the transitive property of football, we can simulate Purdue versus Maryland by comparing their stats against a relatively consistent Penn State team.

Based on these statistics, Purdue looks pretty good. Or at least, better than Maryland. The individual scores tell a story, for sure. Purdue’s 35-7 loss isn’t great, but it’s certainly better than 59-0.

The Boilermakers lost the total yards battle, even if we remove the -19 rushing yards. However, they came close to Maryland’s total yards — a paltry 128 — with their passing attack alone. They nearly doubled Maryland’s passing yards — 123 to 68 — and put up 4.4 yards per attempt to Maryland’s 2.8.

Purdue also allowed fewer yards. Penn State’s 619 all-purpose yards against Maryland decreased by about 25% against Purdue, mainly thanks to Purdue’s pass defense. The Boilers allowed 264 passing yards on the day to Maryland’s 421.

Purdue’s defense will stop Maryland from producing, but its offense probably won’t produce much either. This will be a big ol’ punter’s duel.

ESPN’s current spread favors Maryland by a field goal, which is the same line Purdue had against Texas Christian University and University of Minnesota. We’re going against the spread this week. Purdue will cover and then some.

Look for special teams play from freshman punter Brooks Cormier and junior kicker J.D. Dellinger to make an impact, as they’ve been pretty solid all year. Purdue is currently No. 16 in the nation in gross punt yardage with 271.4 yards through five games.

Score Prediction: Purdue 13-10

Miscellaneous Prediction: Rutgers is still a Big Ten team purely because the NCAA hasn’t found a replacement team yet.

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