It’s a Big Ten vs. Big 12 showdown between two programs that are looking to make a bit of a statement. Purdue, coming off a nice win against Vanderbilt to even its record at 1-1, hosts TCU, a team coming off a bye week after a not-so-inspiring victory against Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the season opener. With Purdue facing some questions about health and TCU hoping to have knocked off some rust on offense, expect a game with some bumpy moments for both teams.
TCU at Purdue
Kickoff: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET
TV: Big Ten Network
Spread: TCU -2.5
When TCU Has the Ball
Having played just one game, coach Gary Patterson’s offense will continue to form its identity on the road against Purdue. The quarterback position is still coming together with Max Duggan having the better performance against Arkansas–Pine Bluff in Week 1 compared to Alex Delton. The depth chart for this week suggests that both will get their opportunities against the Boilermakers, with the majority of snaps likely going to the hotter hand. Regardless of who is leading the offense, each should have a chance to find some yards against a Purdue secondary that is off to a bit of a rough start.
Patterson would like to see better results on the ground, too. Delton was the team’s leading rusher in the season opener, and Sewo Olonilua and Darius Anderson combined for 95 rushing yards. The Frogs are likely to keep both involved this weekend.
Purdue will be playing without one of its best defensive players for the rest of the season, after linebacker Markus Bailey suffered a season-ending knee injury earlier this week in practice. With last season's leading tackler out of action, coach Jeff Brohm will bump Cornel Jones into a bigger role to try to fill the void. Jones, a junior, has shown some promise and will now be asked to help plug some holes. It won't be the easiest task, but it is one Jones is capable of fulfilling with some success. Ben Holt will also help solidify things as he takes on a more defined role as the leader of the defense.
When Purdue Has the Ball
Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar is considered questionable for this week's game. Sindelar was diagnosed with a concussion earlier in the week following Purdue's win against Vanderbilt. If Sindelar is cleared to play, then the Purdue offense will be in steady hands. However, if Sindelar cannot play, that will likely leave Brohm to go with redshirt freshman Jack Plummer, who has yet to attempt a pass for the Boilermakers this season.
Whoever is throwing the passes will have one of the best targets in the Big Ten at his disposal. Rondale Moore is already racking up the yards this season with 344 receiving yards on 24 receptions, with two touchdowns. Moore also may get in some special teams work, but the bulk of his damage will be done at receiver. TCU just so happens to be strong against the pass (eighth nationally). TCU is one of 13 schools that has yet to allow a passing touchdown, and the Horned Frogs have picked off a pair of passes.
The Boilermakers are hoping that Sindelar will be available, but that is no guarantee. After losing the season opener, though, Purdue looked like it found itself against Vanderbilt last week, and that should be comforting to see if you are a Purdue fan. Expect the offense to be in fine shape once again at home this weekend as Moore makes a few big plays against a solid TCU defense. A fourth-quarter touchdown from Moore will be the difference.
Prediction: Purdue 30, TCU 28
— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. McGuire also contributes to College Football Talk and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Patreon, on Twitter @KevinOnCFB and Like him on Facebook.