Home openers typically have gone well for the Purdue football program lately.
The Boilermakers have won 22 of their past 24 home-opening contests at Ross-Ade Stadium, where they are set to host Oregon State on Saturday night.
Purdue edged Iowa in last season’s home opener, part of a 2-0 start that boosted the buzz around the team. That surge, however, was followed by four straight defeats to close the year, a cautionary tale coach Jeff Brohm has stressed with players as a new campaign opens.
“You’ve got to be tough enough to move on to the next game regardless of how good you played, which you can sometimes let your foot off the gas,” Brohm said. “Or how bad you possibly have played, where you sometimes start to second-guess and doubt and listen to a few naysayers.
“It’s important that our guys understand that. We talk about it. We communicate it. We always hope things go extremely well, but winning Game 1 is going to be priority right now, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that.”
The Boilermakers return seven starters on both sides of the ball, with wide receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis projected among the most talented players back in the fold. Karlaftis is healthy after missing much of the truncated 2020 season due to injury and COVID-19.
Jack Plummer, who passed for 334 yards and three touchdowns against Nebraska in last season’s finale, is set to lead the team at quarterback.
Oregon State was 2-5 in 2020, with each loss coming within two scores. Eighteen starters are back, nine on each side.
The Beavers will offer a new look at quarterback after transfer Sam Noyer, who came to the program from Colorado in June, won the competition for the starting spot, rising above a group that included last year’s starter, Tristan Gebbia.
While Noyer acknowledged that previous experience with Oregon State offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren at Colorado was helpful, he also knew adjusting to a new offense wouldn’t be a snap.
“I think that some of the terminology and some of the schematics are the same from when Lindgren and I were together at Colorado last, but there’s a lot of change in it, too,” Noyer said. “They’re throwing stuff at us every single day and it’d be like one day I get it down and next day they’re putting in something else.
“But I’ve learned that that’s how it works and it’s fast and I know that it’ll continue to get fast as you go up to the next level and so I think it was actually really good for me to just get used to that. I feel like right now I’m very confident in the whole playbook, I feel like I know it inside and out and continue to digest this game plan and just continue to work.”
Noyer threw for 1,101 yards with six touchdowns and seven interceptions for Colorado last season while completing 55 percent of his passes.
Oregon State won the only previous meeting between the programs, prevailing on the road 22-14 on Oct. 21, 1967.
–Field Level Media