Purdue and Missouri appear to be teams who have come to early crossroads in their season, and both hope to head down the right path when they square off Saturday at Missouri. The Boilermakers and Tigers both sit at 1-1 and almost certainly have Saturday’s showdown circled as one they need to win to reach bowl eligibility.
Missouri showed a sense of urgency to get its season on track by firing defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross following Saturday’s 31-13 home loss to South Carolina. The Tigers’ defensive coaching staff has a tall task this week in preparing for the Boilermakers, who are enjoying an offensive revival under new coach Jeff Brohm. “We’ve been busy since Sunday morning getting to work on Purdue,” Missouri coach Barry Odom told reporters. “The staff is working really well together. We understand that there will be people that have got to do a little bit more and that’s OK.” It’s the teams’ first meeting since Purdue’s 28-25 win in the 1980 Liberty Bowl.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network. LINE: Missouri -7.5
ABOUT PURDUE (1-1): The Boilermakers have shown some offensive prowess under Brohm with quarterbacks Elijah Sindelar and David Blough splitting time and running back Tario Fuller having success on the ground. Most importantly, Purdue is cashing in its opportunities – the Boilermakers are 9-for-9 scoring in the red zone with six touchdowns and three field goals. The defense has given up 460 yards per game but has been tough with its back against the wall, holding Louisville to three touchdowns and three field goals in eight red-zone trips and stopping Ohio in Purdue territory three times.
ABOUT MISSOURI (1-1): The Tigers again are putting up big offensive numbers, averaging 619 total yards per game (fourth nationally) behind quarterback Drew Lock and running back Damarea Crockett. Missouri even outgained South Carolina 423-359 in last week’s loss, but the Tigers committed three turnovers that led to 21 points and made several special teams blunders. After being torched in a 72-43 win over Missouri State to open the season, the defense was much better against the Gamecocks but couldn’t seem to stay off the field in the second half.
1. Lock (383 passing yards per game, seventh nationally) and Crockett (149.5 rushing yards per game, ninth nationally) make Missouri the only team in the country with a passer and rusher in the top 10 nationally in yards per game.
2. Purdue has not played a team from the SEC since facing Georgia in the Capital One Bowl on Jan. 1, 2004.
3. Missouri’s offense has lost yardage on only four plays through two games, tied for the fewest in the nation after leading the nation with 2.92 negative plays per game a year ago.
PREDICTION: Purdue 37, Missouri 33