2014 Purdue Boilermakers Team Preview
Head Coach: Darrell Hazell
2013 record: 1-11 overall, 0-8 Big Ten Leaders
2013 Bowl result: None
2014 Returning Starters: 8 offense, 7 defense
Odds to Win 2015 College Football Championship Game: Field 30/1
Odds to Win 2014 Big Ten Championship Game: 300/1
Odds to Win 2014 Big Ten West Division: 100/1
Regular Season Wins: over 3.5 -150 / under 3.5 +120
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The Darrell Hazell era did not get off to a very good start as he came over from Kent State to coach the Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue only won one game in 2013 against Indiana State 20-16. The highlight if you can call it that was a touchdown loss at home to Notre Dame. The Boilermakers lost by 4 points to Illinois and by 14 to Michigan State and Penn State. They lost every other game by 20 points or more.
Fifteen starters are back for Purdue, but they still have a long way to go in 2014.
There is no way to sugar coat how dreadful the offense was in 2013. Purdue was dead last nationally in rushing at 67 yards per game and the passing game wasn’t much better at 216 yards per game. There were only four teams that were worse in total offense than Purdue’s 283 yards per game. Purdue was #122 in scoring out of 125 teams in scoring at 15 points per game. The Boilermakers lost 56-36 to rival Indiana in the last game of the season. Apart from that they didn’t score more than 24 points in any other game . Eight starters return from the offense last year.
True freshman Danny Etling took over as the starting quarterback from the ineffective Rob Henry. Henry has graduated, so the now sophomore Etling is the man at quarterback. Etling completed 55.8% of his passes for 1,690 yards with 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Austin Appleby is a capable back-up but barring injury Etling will be the starter.
Running back Akeem Hunt had 123 carries for 464 yards and a touchdown, along with 38 catches for 340 yards and 2 touchdowns. He will split time at both running back and receiver. Brandon Cottom also returns after he had 45 carries for 154 yards and a touchdown, plus 7 catches. Raheem Mostert won the 60 meters and 200 meters at the Big Ten indoor track and field championships. Purdue thinks his speed will be an asset in the running game.
DeAngelo Yancey had 32 catches for 546 yards and 2 touchdowns as a true freshman last year. Senior tight end Justin Sinz had 41 catches for 340 yards and 4 touchdowns last year. Cameron Posey is also back after making 26 catches for 297 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Aside from center Robert Kugler the rest of the line is a question mark. Hazell hopes a influx of JUCO transfers will improve the line which struggled at both pass protection and run blocking.
If your offense is only going to score 15 points a game, then your defense had better be very good. That was not the case with Purdue last year as they gave up 460 yards 38 points per game. Seven starters return from that unit.
Defensive end Ryan Russell will anchor the line. Jake Replogle and Kentucky transfer Langston Newton will compete for the other end spot.
Senior linebackers Sean Robinson and Joe Gilliam bring experience to the unit. Galen Robinson, the son of Purdue basketball legend Glenn Robinson, is a highly recruited freshman and could start sometime this season.
Three starters return in the secondary with corner Frankie Williams and safeties Taylor Richards and Landon Feichter. Feichter battled injuries in 2013, but Purdue fans hope he can get back to the high level of play she showed in 2012.
Purdue must replace All-Big Ten punter Cody Webster. Look for Thomas Meadows to take over that job. Meadows could also challenge Paul Griggs for the kicking job after Griggs only made 6 of 12 field goals. Mostert and Hunt each returned a kick for a touchdown last year. Either could handle the punt return job as well, but Purdue only had 9 punt returns all season.
Purdue hosts Western Michigan, Central Michigan and Southern Illinois in non-conference games. They play Notre Dame in Indianapolis. In conference, they host Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Northwestern. The Boilermakers travel to Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska and Indiana. They should go 3-1 against a soft non-conference schedule, but apart from maybe Illinois I don’t see another winnable game on the schedule.
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