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Purdue Boilermakers vs. Missouri Tigers Preview and Prediction

David Blough

David Blough

Purdue travels to Missourifor a Big Ten vs. SEC matchup between two teams hoping to take positive steps forward. Purdue is fresh off a 44-21 victory over Ohio, the team's first win under new head coach Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers gave Louisville a scare in the season opener before ultimately losing 35-28 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

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Missouri was victorious in its season opener over FCS member Missouri State, winning 72-43. In last week's SEC opener against South Carolina, the Tigers scored first, but the Gamecocks had more answers pulling away in the second quarter for an eventual 31-13 victory. Missouri outgained South Carolina 423-359 but committed three costly turnovers.

This will be the ninth meeting between these two schools and the first since 1980. Purdue holds a 6-2 advantage against Missouri.

Purdue at Missouri

Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m. ET

TV Channel: SEC Network

Spread: Missouri -7

Three Things to Watch

1. Purdue's offense vs. Missouri's defense

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Purdue is averaging 451 yards of offense through two games, thanks to a decent balance of run (157.0 ypg) and pass (294.0 ypg). Missouri finds itself in a transitional state on the defensive side of the football after head coach Barry Odom fired defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross just two games into the season.

The decision was made after the Tigers’ 31-13 home loss to South Carolina, but the seeds were sown in the opener when Missouri gave up 492 yards (353 passing) and 43 points to FCS member Southeast Missouri State. As impressive as the Tigers’ offense has been (619.0 ypg, 42.5 ppg), the defense has not fared nearly as well, giving up 425.5 yards and allowing 37.0 points per game. Will Missouri’s defense be able to regroup following a coaching change made just days before matching up against the Boilermakers’ diverse offense?

2. Missouri's passing offense vs. Purdue's pass defense

As has already been referenced, offense has not been an issue for the Tigers in the early going. Drew Lock is among the nation’s leaders with 766 passing yards and eight touchdowns in the first two games. The Boilermakers have had some mixed results against the pass thus far. They have given up just three touchdown passes, but plenty of yards (300.5 per game) through the air as opponents have completed 62.5 percent of their attempts. It’s no secret that Lock will look to attack Purdue’s defense by hooking up with wide receivers J’Mon Moore and Johnathan Johnson early and often. The Boilermakers will have to find a way to come up with stops or a takeaway or two (no interceptions yet) otherwise their offense may be forced to match the Tigers’ big play for big play.

3. Missouri's home crowd

This game should feature plenty of offense based on the statistical performance of both teams through the first two games. This could be the type of a game where an ill-time mistake or penalty could end up being the difference. To that end, will the Tigers be able to capitalize on their home-field advantage? The average attendance for the first two games at Memorial Stadium/Faurot Field has been 52,577 or about 75 percent of capacity (71,168). A win over Purdue would not only be a quality victor over a Power 5 opponent, it would greatly increase Missouri’s chances of getting back to a bowl game. Will the fans show up on Saturday and do their part by making lots of noise when the Boilermakers have the ball?

Final Analysis

While Purdue has struggled the past few seasons, there is a wave of energy and enthusiasm surrounding the program for the first time in several years. Missouri's decision to replace defensive coordinator DeMontie Cross, while possibly a good move, might have come at a bad time, with an invigorated Boilermakers offensive attack coming to Columbia. This one looks like the type of game that favors the team that has the football last.

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Prediction: Purdue 42, Missouri 35

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting for www.theozone.net. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.