Purdue Football Predictions 2020
Written by Ben Pekay
Sept. 5 @ Nebraska- Win
Sept. 12 Memphis- Loss
Sept. 19 Air Force- Loss
Sept. 26 @ Boston College- Win
Oct. 10 Rutgers- Win
Oct. 17 @ Illinois- Loss
Oct. 24 @ Michigan- Loss
Oct. 31 Northwestern (Homecoming)- Win
Nov. 7 @ Minnesota- Loss
Nov. 14 Wisconsin- Loss
Nov. 21 Iowa- Loss
Nov. 28 @Indiana- Loss
The 2020 Purdue football season will be a disappointment. The 2019 Purdue football season was hampered by injuries. Jake Plummer, their starting quarterback, was injured and their All-American wide receiver, Rondale Moore was also injured for a majority of the season. Through all of the injuries, Purdue had a lethal pass offense. They led the Big Ten in passing and were 12th in the nation in the same area. They ended the season with a disappointing 4-8 record. There is a reason for some hope in West Lafayette. They return starting Quarterback Jake Plummer who threw for 1,603 yards and 11 touchdowns last year. He should be poised for a big season if he can avoid injuries. In addition to Plummer, they return Running Back King Doerue who ran for 451 yards with 5 rushing touchdowns last year. The strongest part of the team is their wide receivers. They have 2018 All-American Rondale Moore and 2019 Big Ten Freshman of the Year David Bell. If this duo can avoid injuries, they will be a handful for any defense. The Boilermakers' defense is not as strong. This year they have a new defensive coordinator, named Bob Diaco. The best player on the defense is George Karlaftis. He was second-team All-Big Ten last year with 54 tackles and 7.5 sacks. Last year, the defense allowed 31 points per game and was second-to-last in the Big Ten in total defense. Their secondary was awful last year. They allowed 244 passing yards per game. For Purdue to compete in the Big Ten their defense needs to improve a lot from last season.
The first game of the season for Purdue is at Nebraska. Nebraska's starting quarterback will be Adrian Martinez. Martinez had a big freshman year, but did not deliver his sophomore year. He threw for 1,956 yards and 10 touchdowns in his sophomore year. Nebraska doesn't have much around Martinez on the offense. Last year, Nebraska was 102nd nationally on defense and gave up 4.82 yards per rush. This game will be a shootout between Martinez and Plummer. Purdue will win in a close game because they have more weapons at wide receiver and Plummer will play better than Martinez. This game will be an indicator of how the rest of the season goes. With a good start, Purdue will have momentum and confidence for the rest of the season. With a bad start, Purdue will be lucky if they win 3 games. Next up is Memphis. Last year Memphis went 12-2 and got a trip to the Cotton Bowl. In the Cotton Bowl, they lost to Penn State 53-39. Since then, their head coach Mike Norvell was hired by Florida State and replaced by Ryan Silverfield who was an assistant coach last year. Memphis returns Brady White who threw for 4,014 yards and 33 touchdowns last year and Kenneth Gainwell who caught 13 touchdowns and had 1,459 yards. Gainwell could be a first round pick next year. Memphis’ offense will be good but their defense is the question. Memphis' defense is returning 8 starters including linebacker Austin Hall who had 75 total tackles last year. This game will be a good test to see where Purdue is as a program and a good indicator for the rest of the season. This game will also be a shootout. I expect Memphis to beat Purdue because of the solid play of Brady White and Kenneth Gainwell. Memphis's defense will make enough stops to win.
After Memphis, Purdue has a game against Air Force. Air Force runs the flexbone offense which is unlike any non-academy university in the country. Air Force is a challenge for any team. Last year, Air Force went 11-2 and won the Cheez-It Bowl against Washington State. Air Force is led by Quarterback Donald Hammond III who had 13 touchdowns and a total of 1,316 yards last year. Air Force wants to control the ball and take up lots of time through long drives. Air Force will beat Purdue because they will destroy Purdue’s defense and control the ball the whole game. Next, Purdue faces Boston College. Boston College hired Jeff Hafley, who was Ohio State coordinator last year, as head coach to replace Steve Addazio. Boston College’s starting Quarterback is a transfer out of Notre Dame named Phil Jurkovec. He is a highly-touted recruit and would be a good addition to the team. His transfer waiver has not been decided yet but the NCAA is expected to allow it. One strength of Boston College is its offensive line who is returning three of its starters. Purdue will beat Boston College because Purdue’s defense is better and Plummer will outplay Jurkovec. Next up for Purdue is Rutgers. Well, everyone knows about Rutgers. After Rutgers, Purdue has an away game at Illinois. Illinois returns starting Quarterback Brandon Peters who threw for 1,884 yards and 18 touchdowns and Wide Receiver Josh Imatorbhebhe who caught 9 touchdowns last year and had a total of 634 yards. Illinois Linebacker Jake Hanson is poised for a big season after having 72 tackles last year and 7 forced fumbles. The Illini are going to beat the Boilermakers because Illinois' defense is much better than Purdue’s defense.
After Illinois, Purdue has a tough away game at Michigan. If Michigan is struggling at this moment of the season, Purdue could have the chance to pull the upset. I don't think Purdue will be able to pull off the upset. Michigan will have either Dylan McCaffrey or Joe Milton starting for them. I expect Dylan McCaffrey to start at the beginning of the season but by the time they play Purdue, Joe Milton could be starting if McCaffrey is struggling. I think this game will be closer than the experts think but Michigan will escape with the win because their defense will play better than Purdue’s defense. Next Purdue has a home game against Northwestern. Northwestern has a revolving door at quarterback with no good options. Their top four quarterbacks last year combined for 1,404 yards, 6 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions. Northwestern doesn't have enough talent on defense to carry their offense. Purdue should beat Northwestern because of their talent on offense.
Next is Purdue’s hardest part of their season. They play Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Indiana. I predict them to lose all of these games. First up is Minnesota. Minnesota, last year was a top 10 team and is returning most of their offensive talent including Tanner Morgan who threw for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns last year. Minnesota's defense lost their top players but have plenty of talent to make up for the losses. Purdue will lose in a blowout to Minnesota due to Minnesota’s talent. After Minnesota, Purdue faces Wisconsin. Wisconsin always has a strong defense and they are returning almost every player. They also return Jack Coan who threw for 2,727 yards and 18 touchdowns last year. Purdue’s defense will not be able to stop Wisconsin and Purdue will fall to a 4-6 record. After Wisconsin, Purdue has Iowa. Iowa, just like Wisconsin, always has a strong defense. Iowa also is returning their top five receivers including Ihmir Smith-Marsette who caught 5 touchdowns and had a total of 722 yards last year. Purdue will lose this game because it is at Iowa and they will be overmatched by Iowa’s talent. Next up for Purdue is Indiana. Indiana is Purdue’s rival and this game is always competitive. Last year, Purdue lost to Indiana in double overtime 44-41. Indiana is returning eight of its starters on offense. Michael Penix Jr. is the starting quarterback for Indiana. He threw for 1,394 yards last year and 10 touchdowns. He has plenty of talent around him. This game will be very close but Indiana will prevail because of the talent on their offense and the weakness of Purdue’s defense.
Purdue has plenty of talent on offense. They have two all-Americans wide receivers and a trusted quarterback. The Achilles heel is their defense who lacks talent. An offense will only take you so far in the Big Ten. If they were in the Big 12, it would be a different story. Purdue will also be hurt by injuries especially on offense. Last year, Purdue’s top wide receivers and quarterbacks were hampered by injuries for a large part of the season. Purdue will end the season with a 4-8 record and will miss a bowl game.