Western Michigan Broncos and Purdue Boilermakers Square Off in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Ford Field – Detroit, Michigan
Western Michigan Broncos vs Purdue Boilermakers
Tuesday, December 27, 2011, 4:30 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Purdue -2 1/2
Current Line: Purdue -3
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 60
Opening Money Line: Purdue -140 / WMU +120
Current Money Line: Purdue -150 / WMU +130

The Purdue Boilermakers take on the Western Michigan Broncos in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Tuesday afternoon in Detroit. The Boilermakers are 3 point favorites.

The 7-5 Western Michigan Broncos of the MAC, coached by Bill Cubit take on the 6-6 Purdue Boilermakers of the Big Ten, coached by Danny Hope in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. This is the third Big Ten team the Broncos have faced this season. Western Michigan lost at Michigan 34-10 to open the season and lost 23-20 at Illinois. The Broncos also have losses to Northern Illinois 51-22, Eastern Michigan 14-10, and Toledo 66-63 all on the road. The Broncos have wins over Ball St 45-35 and at Connecticut 38-31. Western Michigan is 0-4 all time in bowl games. Their last bowl appearance was in the 2008 Texas Bowl against Rice. The Owls won 38-14.

Purdue started off the season on a bad note when quarterback Rob Henry tore his ACL during pre-season practice. The Boilermakers have losses to Rice 24-22, Notre Dame 38-10, Penn St 23-18, Michigan 36-14, Wisconsin 62-17, and Iowa 31-21. Purdue has wins over Minnesota 45-17, Illinois 21-14, Ohio St 26-23 in overtime, and Indiana 33-25. Purdue is 8-4 in Bowl games all time. The last bowl game for Purdue was the 2007 Motor City Bowl, where the Boilermakers beat Central Michigan 51-48. Purdue and Western Michigan have played twice in history. Purdue leads the series 2-0 but they haven’t played since 2002.

Western Michigan is averaging 456.2 yards a game and 35.6 points a game. The Broncos average 328.8 passing yards and 127.4 rushing yards a game. The passing attack is ranked #8 in the country. WMU  has 27 turnovers and has allowed 22 sacks this season. The Broncos are 84/179 on third and fourth down conversions, and 50/55 scoring in the red zone with 40 touchdowns. Western Michigan is allowing 434.1 yards a game and 28 points per game on defense. The Broncos give up 218.2 passing yards and 215.9 rushing yards a game. The overall defense and defense against the run are among the worst in the country.  WMU has forced 27 turnovers and 26 sacks this season. Bronco opponents are 70/182 on third and fourth down conversions and 31/44 scoring in the red zone with 24 touchdowns. The Broncos average just under 8 penalties for 58 yards a game. WMU has one defensive touchdown but has allowed 6.

WMU quarterback Alex Carder is 299/445 passing (67.2% completions)  for 3,434 yards, with 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, plus 114 carries, 253 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Carder is probable with a shoulder injury. If he can’t go, back-up Tyler VanTubbergen will get the start. he has 7 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in 36 attempts this season. He also has a rushing touchdown.  Running back Tevin Drake has 102 carries, 570 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Brian Fields has 65 carries, 285 yards, and 2 touchdowns, along with 11 catches for 99 yards. Antoin Scriven has only 24 carries, but has 4 touchdown runs, plus a touchdown catch. Receiver Jordan White has 127 catches, 1,646 yards, and 16 touchdown catches. White has almost 1,900 all purpose yards as he also returns punts. Caleb Ravenell has 59 catches, 769 yards, and 8 touchdowns. Robert Arnheim has 49 catches, 662 yards, and 4 touchdowns. Arnheim has thrown 2 touchdown passes in 4 attempts this year. Kicker John Potter is 54/54 on extra points and 15/21 on field goals with a long of 45 yards. Running back Calvin Smith and tight end Blake Hammond are both suspended for the bowl for violating team rules.

Purdue is averaging 71.4 yards a game, including 196.7 rushing yards and 174.8 passing yards. The Boilermakers score 26.1 points a game. Purdue has 16 turnovers and has allowed 27 sacks this season. Purdue is 79/189 on third and fourth down conversions, and 40/47 scoring in the red zone with 30 touchd0wns. Purdue is allowing 388.2 yards a game, including 202.8 passing yards and 185.4 rushing yards. The Boilermakers are allowing 26.4 points a game. Purdue has forced 14 turnovers and 21 sacks this season. Purdue opponents are 80/189 on third and fourth down conversions, and 37/42 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns. Purdue has two defensive touchdowns this season. Purdue averages 7 penalties a game for 61 yards a game.

Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush has replaced Henry but Robert Marve also takes some snaps. TerBush is 163/264 passing (61.7% completion)  for 1,804 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 6 interceptions, along with 80 carries for 226 yards and one touchdown. Marve is 55/102 passing with 557 yards, 3 touchdowns and 5 picks, along with 24 carries for 56 yards and a touchdown. Running back Ralph Bolden has 148 carries, 674 yards, and 6 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 129 yards. Bolden is doubtful for the Bowl with a knee injury.   Akeem Shavers has 89 carries, 370 yards and 6 touchdowns, along with 5 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown catch. He is probable with a concussion. Akeem Hunt and Raheem Mostert each have 2 rushing touchdowns. Receiver Antavian Edison has 43 catches for 561 yards, and 3 touchdowns and has 2 rushing touchdowns. Justin Siller has 45 catches for 430 yards and a touchdown. O.J. Ross has 33 catches for 356 yards and 3 touchdowns, but is suspended for the game. Gary Bush has 23 catches and 2 touchdowns. Jared Crank has only 2 catches, but both went for touchdowns.  Kicker Carson Wiggs is 35/46 on extra points and 16/21 on field goals with a long of 53 yards. Besides the injuries to the running backs, Purdue ahs 3 defensive players listed as questionable or out.

Purdue is 5-6-1 against the spread, and the total is 6-4-2 this season. Western Michigan is 8-4 ATS and the total is 7-5 this season. The Broncos are 7-1-2 after a win and also after a cover, 8-3 overall, 7-3 on turf, 3-7-2 after allowing 20 points or less, 5-13-2 as an underdog, 1-3-1 in Tuesday games, 2-7-1 in non-conference games, 1-5 against Big ten teams, and as an underdog of 3 points or less. The Boilermakers are 4-9-1 ATS as a favorite, 1-3-1 overall, 1-5 after a straight up win, and against MAC teams, 0-4 in Bowl games, and as a bowl game favorite, 0-5 in non-conference games, and 0-6-2 on turf.

Neither of these teams have been to bowl games in several years, so complacency shouldn’t be a problem. The two defenses struggle to stop people so this should be a shootout indoors at Ford Field in Detroit. I like Purdue to pull out a narrow win.

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