Coming off their best win against Buffalo last week, Nevada now must move on and turn their focus on their second and final Power-5 team on the schedule, the Purdue Boilermakers. Despite the P5 status, Purdue has not looked very good this season, and their outlook is not great coming into this game. From SB Nation’s Purdue blog, Hammer and Rails:
Purdue is only 1-1 on the season, with a blowout win over FCS Eastern Kentucky 45-24, and a blowout loss to Cincinnati 38-20. Purdue’s best chance of success comes with running the ball against the Wolf Pack. Nevada has been awful at stopping the run this season, ranking 124 out of 128 teams in rushing yards per game. Despite their struggles to run block, lead back Markell Jones has been excellent this season, rushing for 192 yards on 29 carries in just two games, a 4.9 YPC average.
Overall, the offense has looked good, but has struggled with turnovers for much of the season. Quarterback David Blough has thrown for 646 yards but has six interceptions to go with that. Averaging three picks per game isn’t a winning formula, and he will need to cut down on them to give Purdue a chance on Saturday.
Defensively, the Boilermakers are much less settled. The defensive line has been very weak all around. They rarely pressure the quarterback, totaling just one sack this season. They also have trouble stopping the run, something Nevada needs to exploit on Saturday. Getting off the field on third down has been a major issue for Purdue and they’ve shown no signs of getting better.
The key for both teams on Saturday will be stopping the run. For the Wolf Pack, they will need to play bend-but-don’t-break defense and force Purdue to make a decision on forth downs. Their kicker J.D. Dellinger has only hit 1-of-3 field goals this season and the extra points haven’t looked fantastic either. If Nevada can keep Purdue out of the endzone, they may be able to keep them off the board completely.
For Purdue, they need to contain James Butler and keep him from breaking a big run. Shutting down the Wolf Pack’s run game in check will force them to move the ball through the air, something they have struggled to do for the past two seasons.
Overall, Purdue and Nevada look to be trending in opposite directions. The Wolf Pack are coming off a win where they played very well, where the Boilermakers look like they may have deep issues. If Nevada can carry over their play from last week, they should come away with this one pretty easily.
Prediction: Nevada 31, Purdue 17