Last week, redshirt sophomore Nick Sipe decided to permanently retire from football for medical reasons, and fifth-year Elijah Sindelar continues to nurse his broken clavicle. Redshirt freshman Jack Plummer has struggled with making the offense tick, and redshirt freshman walk-on Aidan O’Connell is inching closer to taking his starting spot.
In the rain, Plummer completed seven of his 19 passes for a total of 69 yards with an interception and no touchdowns. O’Connell finally saw the field during the game and completed eight of his 16 passes for 67 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions.
Going into Nebraska, head coach Jeff Brohm wants both quarterbacks to be ready, and both could potentially see the field again.
“Right now, Plummer will start for us. We’ll get both quarterbacks ready to play,” Brohm said.
Purdue’s rushing corps is finally starting to get healthy, and they are becoming more balanced at the position.
Freshman King Doerue, sophomore Zander Horvath and senior Tario Fuller all got to see the field against Illinois and could all see the field once again this weekend.
Despite the number of players available at running back, they have not gotten a ton of production from anyone, and the team is still looking for a main player to lead the way.
Star sophomore receiver Rondale Moore continues to recover from his injury he suffered against Minnesota. Junior Jared Sparks continues to be day-to-day and not much is known on freshman TJ Sheffield.
Brohm does know that the team will look to freshman David Bell to be the main guy after multiple missed opportunities last week. On the first three drives against Illinois, Bell was the main target, but a combination of drops, route mistakes and quarterback miscues led to Bell not making the plays he was supposed to make.
“Well, after I watched the film, there was some missed opportunities to score on the first three drives,” Brohm said.
Besides the inability to get the ball to Bell, Purdue’s wide receivers struggled to catch the ball, and that must change if they want to move the ball this Saturday.
“We had at least four solid drops and probably a few more on some check-downs,” Brohm said.
With all the injuries, freshmen like Bell are being pushed into leadership positions early, but they say that this isn’t the case.
“It’s partially true, but we still have some older guys that talk. ... But we can be leaders because we are producing on the field,” Bell said.
Purdue will look to get the ball to Bell and other wideouts like redshirt freshman Amad Anderson Jr, junior Jackson Anthrop and the trusted fifth-year senior tight end, Brycen Hopkins.
Freshman tight end Kyle Bilodeau appeared on the depth chart last week, but Hopkins and redshirt freshman Payne Durham saw most of the reps, and it is possible Bilodeau won’t see much time on the field this weekend too.
Brohm remains optimistic about the offensive line’s play.
“Well, I’m seeing progress from our guys,” Brohm said. “But the negative plays continue to plague the line. Really, the negative losses are ones that hurt us the worst, not getting positive yardage.”
Purdue must win their final four games to become bowl eligible, but Brohm seems to only be focused on this week.
“Our focus is finding ways to get better this week. We’ve got to take the small steps in order to get that done. We can’t worry about anything beyond that,” Brohm said.