9/18/21 Notre Dame, Jalen Grahm celebrates

Junior safety Jalen Grahm taunts the Notre Dame running back after tackling them for a loss of yards. 

The Purdue football offense is looking to play a big part in helping the team bounce back in this Saturday’s game against the University of Illinois.

Despite the tentative status of junior wide receiver David Bell, the Purdue football team is confident about its offensive depth heading into this weekend’s game against Illinois.

Bell was carted off the field in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame, and is currently in the concussion protocol, the team said.

With his status undecided for the upcoming game, junior wide receiver Milton Wright will likely be the Boilermakers’ starting receiver. Wide receivers coach JaMarcus Shephard expects the guys who have been practicing this week, especially Milton Wright, to take advantage of this opportunity and to showcase their talents.

“He has to catch the football,” Shephard said about Wright, who was criticized for his drops on Saturday. “That’s what him and I have talked at length about.”

“To be quite honest, I don’t think he has as far to go as people think.”

The rest of the Purdue receiving group, including fifth year Jackson Anthrop and junior Broc Thompson, will see expanded roles behind Wright.

Anthrop reiterated that while Bell is a huge part of the Purdue offense, the team has emphasized a “next man up” mentality, and all of the players are ready to step in and make plays.

While the Boilermakers are favored by 11 points against Illinois (1-3, 1-1 Big Ten) heading into Big Ten play, junior quarterback Jack Plummer said the Illini defense has played well and offense will need to be able to match their skill level and take advantage of good field position.

“We got weapons across the board,” Plummer said about the receiving corps’s depth. “I think guys will step up. We got a ton of guys that are hungry and that want to prove themselves.”

The rivalry matchup features a number of players Purdue will need to look out for, including Illinois linebacker Jake Hansen, who has 17 solo tackles, two forced fumbles and a sack on the season.

Sophomore cornerback Devon Witherspoon is also a potential lock down secondary player if David Bell is not active for this game.

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