Nevada has its hands full when the Purdue Boilermakers come to Mackay Stadium on Aug. 30. Both teams have faced off just once dating back to 2016, which Purdue won 24-14. But there is plenty of firepower to kick-off the next contest.
Let’s take a look at what the Boilermakers have on both sides of the ball.
Purdue’s 443.9 yards per game was good for 29th in the nation. The Boilermakers’ potent pass offense is led by electrifying sophomore wide receiver Rondale Moore. As a freshman last season, he led the team with 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 14 touchdowns. Fifth-year quarterback Elijah Sindelar is the expected starter under center. He appeared in two games with one start last season, finishing with 283 passing yards and two touchdowns. Running back Zander Horvath returns for his sophomore season. He had just 42 yards on nine carries and a touchdown in 13 games.
The Boilermakers boast a solid offensive line as well to keep Sindelar upright in the pocket. Nevada’s young secondary will be put to the test against Purdue’s heavy passing offense.
Purdue ranked 30th in the nation in points allowed, giving up 30 points per game on 456.2 yards per game, as well. Fifth-year linebacker Markus Bailey will look to build off a solid 2018 season in which he totaled 5.5 sacks and 115 tackles. He was named to Second Team All-Big Ten as a result. Defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal can force some pressure in the front seven, but the cupboard is pretty empty after that. The Boilermakers’ leaky secondary can be a weakness Nevada can attack on each drive.
With redshirt freshman Carson Strong under center for the Wolf Pack, he may find some open reads down the field to put up some points on the other end.
Despite the defensive holes, Purdue has the offensive personnel to put up a ton of points on Nevada’s defense. The Wolf Pack must contain and check Moore at the line of scrimmage, or he may toast the secondary down the field. On the other end, Nevada can expose Purdue’s defensive weakness to make this a closer one than the spread suggests. But the Boilermakers’ potent offensive attack is too much for Nevada to handle in the season opener.