Purdue still has a chance to win the Big Ten West Division title despite a 1-2 record in the past three games.
Beginning with Saturday’s visit from struggling Northwestern in West Lafayette, Ind., the Boilermakers must win their final two regular-season games while hoping Iowa loses at least once over the next two weeks.
“I think that our guys have worked hard to put ourselves in a position to achieve hopefully a good season if we continue to play well,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “But just like every week, there is a lot of football left to be played, and we have to find ways to continue to improve.
“In most of our wins against (Football Bowl Subdivision) opponents, it’s been by a touchdown or less. We have got beaten handily a couple times in the past months, (as well).”
Purdue (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) improved to 2-0 against ranked foes this season with a 31-24 victory at No. 21 Illinois last week.
Aidan O’Connell passed for 237 yards and three touchdowns, twice connecting with Payne Durham, while Devin Mockobee rushed for 106 yards and a score.
However, the status of linebackers Kieren Douglas and Clyde Washington is in doubt after both were injured against Illinois.
Northwestern (1-9, 1-6) hasn’t tested opposing defenses often since defeating Nebraska in Ireland in the season opener. The Wildcats are coming off a 31-3 loss at Minnesota that extended their skid to nine games, a grueling stretch in which the team has been outscored 256-122.
Minnesota outgained Northwestern 366-278 while rushing for 302 yards on 58 carries, an average of 5.2 yards per tote.
Northwestern must figure out its starting quarterback situation after injuries prompted the team to use Brendan Sullivan, Ryan Hilinski, Carl Richardson and Cole Freeman under center against the Gophers. Sullivan was 9 for 11 for 94 yards before exiting the game late in the first half with an injury.
“We had a lot of guys that probably didn’t expect to play as much as maybe they anticipated going into the game that played a ton,” Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. “It’ll be great lessons learned for them.”
–Field Level Media