College Football
Preview
Purdue at Illinois
When: 12:00 PM ET, Saturday, October 4, 2014
Where: Memorial Stadium, Champaign, Illinois

Wes Lunt is expected to return at quarterback when Illinois takes on Purdue Saturday, but unless he plays defense, too, the Fighting Illini’s recent struggles may continue. Lunt, who missed last week’s game at Nebraska with a right knee injury, might not have made much difference anyway, as the Illini were thrashed for 624 total yards in a 45-14 loss to the Cornhuskers. The 6-foot-5 sophomore, who is averaging a Big Ten-leading 309.2 passing yards per game this season, will be expected to move the chains and keep the Boilermakers' offense on the sidelines.

That’s a fate that Purdue has had quite often lately anyway. In a four-game stretch that has included three losses, the Boilermakers have averaged just 13.5 points, and last week, in a 24-10 loss to Iowa, they were shut out in the second half, while possessing the ball for just 25:30 overall. Raheem Mostert and Akeem Hunt have shared the workload in the backfield for Purdue, combining for 562 yards on 112 carries, but they have just two touchdowns, and quarterback Danny Etling has been inconsistent, at best, averaging just 160 yards through the air per game.

TV: Noon ET, ESPN2. LINE: Illinois -10

ABOUT PURDUE (2-3, 0-1 Big Ten): The defense will have to fight fatigue during a rugged five-game stretch that begins with the Illini. Purdue, which has allowed 30.7 points in its three losses, will face three ranked teams – No. 10 Michigan State, No.17 Nebraska and No. 16 Wisconsin – over the next five weeks, in addition to Illinois and Minnesota. The Boilermakers have talent on that side of the ball, namely defensive tackle Ryan Watson (four sacks), and the team overall has 13, good for third in the Big Ten, but they have had a tendency to wear down late in games.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (3-2, 0-1): Questions surround the future of coach Tim Beckman, as the Illini have lost two of the last three games, and looked terrible along the way. Washington and Nebraska ripped Illinois for 89 combined points, and Beckman’s crew even had trouble in a 42-35 win over Texas State. Josh Ferguson has four touchdown runs, but is averaging just 75.4 yards per game on the ground, and the Illini overall are averaging just 3.8 yards per carry, difficult numbers to go to battle with as the heart of Big Ten play kicks in.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Despite missing a game, Lunt is second in the conference and 16th overall in FBS with 11 touchdown passes.

2. This longtime Big Ten rivalry is known as the “Battle for the Cannon,” and Purdue leads the series, 32-27-2.

3. Now in his third season at Illinois, Beckman, as coach at Toledo, went 1-1 versus Purdue, and is 2-2 overall against the Boilermakers.

PREDICTION: Illinois 39, Purdue 25.
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Purdue 2-3 L1 23.8 27.8 2-2 0-1 2-2 0-0 0-1
Illinois 3-2 L1 29.0 35.0 3-0 0-2 0-0 0-0 0-1
Last Meeting
Purdue Illinois
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/23/13 ILL 20 PUR 16 283 120 163 380 123 257
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Purdue D. Etling 69.0 163 1 1
Illinois N. Scheelhaase 80.0 257 2 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Purdue A. Hunt 18 102 5.7 1
Illinois J. Ferguson 20 115 5.8 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Purdue C. Posey 4 52 13.0 1
Illinois S. Hull 10 169 16.9 2
Touchdowns Player TD
Purdue A. Hunt 1
Illinois S. Hull 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Purdue D. Etling 54.9 800 6 5
Illinois W. Lunt 65.4 1237 11 3
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Purdue R. Mostert 67 293 4.4 1
Illinois J. Ferguson 61 377 6.2 4
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Purdue D. Anthrop 18 237 13.2 2
Illinois G. Allison 21 418 19.9 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Purdue D. Etling 3
Illinois J. Ferguson 6
Quickchart Matchup
Purdue Off vs  Illinois Def
312 yards
468.6 yards
3.9 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
4.8 yards/attempt
7.6 yards/attempt
Illinois Off vs  Purdue Def
412 yards
387.4 yards
3.9 yards/rush
4 yards/rush
7.9 yards/attempt
6.5 yards/attempt