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Big Ten breakdown: Purdue
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Big Ten breakdown: Purdue

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BIG TEN BREAKDOWN: Purdue

COACH: Jeff Brohm, 17-21 entering fourth season at Purdue, 47-31 entering seventh season overall

2019 RECORD: 4-8, 3-6 Big Ten (Tied for fifth, West)

OFFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (7): WR David Bell, RT Will Bramel, RB King Doerue, C Sam Garvin, LT Grant Hermanns,, QB Jack Plummer, RG Mark Stickford

DEFENSIVE STARTERS RETURNING (5): LB Jaylan Alexander, LB Derrick Barnes, LB Jalen Graham, DE George Karlaftis, FS Brennan Thieneman

SPECIALISTS RETURNING (2): PK J.D. Dellinger, P Brooks Cormier

RETURNING STATISTICAL LEADERS: Rushing. King Doerue 130-451; Passing, Jack Plummer 144-241-8-1,603-11; Receiving, David Bell 86-1,035; Tackles, Derrick Barnes 63; Interceptions, Dedrick Mackey 3

KEEP AN EYE ON…

WR RONDALE MOORE: His encore was impacted by injuries and then delayed when the Big Ten temporarily postponed the season, but the gifted Boilermakers’ receiver is back, looking to regain the form he showed in 2018 when he caught 114 passes for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. A hamstring injury limited him to four games and 29 receptions last season. The 5-foot-9, 180-pounder is part of a deep group of receivers that also features David Bell, who caught 86 passes for 1,035 yards a year ago as a freshman. 

DE GEORGE KARLAFTIS: Led Big Ten freshmen with 7.5 sacks last season and the defensive end finished third in the conference overall with 17 tackles for a loss last season. The 6-4, 265-pound native of West Lafayette finished with 54 tackles a year ago and will be counted on to lead a new-look 3-4 defense that returns just four other starters including senior Derrick Barnes, who is moving from an end position to linebacker this year after recording a team-leading 63 tackles a year ago. 

QB JACK PLUMMER: The 6-5, 220-pound sophomore is the most experienced quarterback in the program, throwing for 1,603 yards a year ago, but he finds himself in a battle for the starting role as the start of the season approaches. Junior Aidan O’Connell, who started the final three games of 2019 after Plummer broke an ankle, and UCLA graduate transfer Austin Burton have been pushing Plummer throughout fall camp. They are working behind a line that returns three starters and in an offense that should benefit from the return of running backs King Doerue and Zander Horvath. 

YOU NEED TO KNOW…

Former Hawkeye Bob Diaco is the Boilermakers’ new defensive coordinator and he is installing a 3-4 alignment that coach Jeff Brohm hopes will help slow opponents. A former head coach at Connecticut, Diaco arrived at Purdue after spending 2019 as the defensive coordinator at Louisiana Tech where his work include a 14-0 shutout of Miami (Fla.) in the Independence Bowl. Diaco is working with a former Hawkeye. Defensive back D.J. Johnson, who recorded 14 tackles and broke up two passes in 10 games for Iowa last season, has transferred back to his home state for his sophomore season. Johnson was slowed by injuries earlier this fall, but has been granted a waiver to play this season. 

THE BIG NUMBER

34

Injuries impacted Purdue as much as any team in the Big Ten a year ago. That led to the Boilermakers using 34 true and redshirt freshmen last season, something that impacted that consistency of the team a year ago but should benefit Purdue as it works toward the start of the 2020 season.

2020 SCHEDULE

Oct. 24 – Iowa

Oct. 31 – at Illinois

Nov. 7 – at Wisconsin

Nov. 14 – Northwestern

Nov. 20 – at Minnesota

Nov. 28 – Rutgers

Dec. 5 – Nebraska

Dec. 12 – at Indiana 

NUMEROLOGY

Where Purdue ranked in the Big Ten in 2019:

Scoring offense: 25.8 (Tied, ninth)

Rushing offense: 83.3 (14th)

Passing offense: 309.9 (First)

Total offense: 393.2 (Eighth)

Scoring defense: 30.6 (12th)

Rushing defense: 192.5 (12th)

Passing defense: 243.8 (12th)

Total defense: 436.3 (13th) 

TRENDS

The Boilermakers’ record over the last five seasons:

2015: 2-10

2016: 3-9

2017: 7-6

2018: 6-7

2019: 4-8 

EYE ON IOWA:

Record in the last five games vs. the Hawkeyes:

2015: Iowa 40, Purdue 20

2016: Iowa 49, Purdue 35

2017: Purdue 24, Iowa 15

2018: Purdue 38, Iowa 36

2019: Iowa 26, Purdue 20

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