Good Morning Boilermaniacs! Lots of news and excitement this week in God's Country so let's get to it. First, I'd like to make a plea for folks to show up tonight at Mackey Arena and help the Boilermaker Basketball programs get off to a strong start. The Event is FREE AND Midnight Madness is back this year with doors opening at 10pm and a men's alumni game beginning around 10:30 pm. Three of my favorites from the late 80's will be on hand in Todd Mitchell, Troy Lewis, and Everette Stephens. After the alumni game, there will be slam dunk and 3pt contests, students attempting half court shots for the prize of a semester's free tuition, and then introductions of both teams. Once the clock hits midnight, both teams will scrimmage in their first official practices of the season. IU is expecting 10k at their Midnight Madness tonight and I'd like to think that we can at least get 7.5k at Mackey. If you're NOT heading to Wisco for the football game this weekend, you're welcome to join some serious hoop junkies for pregame raiment and sustenance at Brunos' on the levee tonight around 8:15 pm. Ask for the reservation under Mr. Hoops Knuckleheads.
I know some of you may be muttering..."dude, get to the football takes already", but I'd be remiss if I did not commend Coach Keady and his staff on rounding out a very good 2004 recruiting class this past week! JUCO forwards Gary Ware (6-9, 215 lbs, top 50 ranked) and Carl Landry (6-8, 235 lbs, top 20 ranked) verballed on Monday and Wednesday respectively. Add these two to the mix with JUCO PG/SG Bryant Dillon (6-6, 200lbs, top 50 ranked) and SG/PG Xavier Price (6-3, 195 lbs, top 60 ranked) right now HoopScoop has us ranked with tied for 9th best class in the country (http://www.hoopscooponline.com/members/toprecruitingclassestodateclass2004.html), ahead of all Big 10 teams but Indiana. I'd bet that MSU, ILL, and maybe Mich will make a late push and knock us down to a top 15-20 class, but considering that MANY HS kids brushed us off with the uncertainty of Keady's contract/future, I'd say our coaches did the right thing by bringing in some high quality JUCO's instead of settling on HS projects like we have done in the past. Yes, right now we have a pickle with the scholarship grid and some unorthodox redshirting may be needed to balance the graduating classes, but those problems can be addressed in the off-season next year. It looks like we will have perhaps some of our most athletic, and deeply competitive teams in The Keady Era for the next 3 years!
Alright, let's move on the football game taking place in "The Land of Cheese" this weekend. The hype building up to this one is reaching epic proportions as ESPN Gameday will be present at 9:30 am CDT tomorrow and Da Boilers will receive their greatest national exposure ever before a game. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Lee Corso will feature our match up prevalently and I'm sure some our top recruits out there will be watching! My personal streak of 5 Boiler-Wisco games attended in Madison will come to a sad end, but I'm guessing that plenty of Boilermaniacs are making the journey to support our Boilers. For my money, there is not a better road game and pre game scene than the one in and around Camp Randall Stadium. UW is the only state football school that matters, so there is overwhelming state wide unity. Badger fans are notorious for their red shirts, beer guzzling, big brat/cheese eating guts, and an incredibly raucous atmosphere (the House of Pain's "Jump Around" deal in the student section after the 3rd quarter is awesome to watch). State Street's bar scene outside of Camp Randall will leave the tailgating fiend breathless. It's just one outdoor biergarten after another full of diehard college football fans. Throw in ESPN Gameday and man, the mood should be festive tomorrow morning. For our sakes, let's just hope the Corso does not curse us by putting on the Purdue Pete helmet, which is highly unlikely since he's a Loosier! Someone had a great idea on the message boards for an ESPN sign.... hEy, corSo, Pick, wiscoNsin!
But enough about all the pre game hype, let's break down this game. Most football purists can't wait to see how The Badgers #2 ranked Big 10 rushing attack (210 ypg) fares against our Big 10's 2nd best rush defense (60.7 ypg). Wisco is loaded at running back, even if home run threat Anthony Davis can't go. As is usually the case, what will be key for our defense is to contain the run and force the Badgers into 3rd and long situations and turnovers! Purdue is +9 this year in turnover margin whereas Wisco is even. One would think that our D might be able to get a couple picks and/or fumbles that will be the difference tomorrow! Wisco has the Big 10's most dangerous deep threat in WR Lee Evans. Twig Rogers and STU will need to account for him on every play. We can't rely on STU to make all the big plays in the run game. Our D-line, LB's and SS Bernie "Smack" Pollard must fight off the best blocking schemes they've seen all year (especially Wisco's mammoth FB Bernstein) and keep the Badgers under 130 yds rushing. If we can do that and be +2 or more on the turnover margin, I think we end up victorious. Sorgi is perhaps the least mobile QB we've seen all season, so I'd hope that we can, again, setup some 3rd and 7 or longer situations and knock him silly from our pass rush. UNLV beat a pass experimenting Wisco 22-5 earlier this year by forcing 5 TO's and sacking Sorgi 8 times. Wisco has since gone back to their patented running game and made adjustments. Still, I hope that Wisco will find our defense the saltiest, fastest, and most physical they've seen all year.
Here's how our noted message board historian, "destewart" breaks the game down in response to GBI's preview:
"Doug, the Badgermaniac crowd would love you because you make their legendary team even better than they are. The Badgers only rushed for 141 yards in 48 carries against Ohio State. They rushed for 52 yards in 48 carries against UNLV. They gave up 534 yards to Akron.
You guys are certainly entitled to write your stories the way you want since it's your sandbox. However, I don't think you've done much in-depth on this. The team that stopped the Badger running game was the only one they've played with safeties big enough to be small linebackers. They're all excited about whipping up on OSU's 185 and 190 pound safeties and their five news starters. Stu has about 25 pounds on the Buckeye FS and Pollard has close to 30 on their SS!
Sorgi is not Josh Harris or Brandon Robinson and other than those two guys, what team with an immobile QB (8 sacks by UNLV and 7 last time we played him) has been able to give our defense fits???
Senior leadership and consistency is what I think will tell the tale. All the excuses in the world about weather, etc., can't disguise the fact Wisconsin could not run against UNLV. I'd be a lot more nervous if we'd allowed some team to run wild on us, but it hasn't happened and we have been the model of consistency.
The Badgers are still a team that has lost 9 of its last 13 Big Ten home games and 11 of its last 23 overall!"
As for our offense tomorrow, Wisco is 23rd in the nation in run defense giving up 100 yds per game while we average 193 ypg. Wisco is 72nd in the country in pass defense, however, and they have one particular CB (#21 I think) who has been "toast" all season. Flanking "toast" though is a near mirror of STU in terms of ball hawking in Center Field, his name is Jim Leohnard. Leohnard led the league with 11 picks last year and has 4 more already this season. He's a former walk-on who only goes 5 foot 8, but he is a natural! He's also a gifted punt return man so we'd be wise to kick away from him. Once again, we will need Kyle Orton to perform efficiently, meaning cut out the long INT return like last week - such a play could be the death knell this week. I'm guessing that our running game will be challenged like never before with Wisco's D feeding off their raucous crowd. Orton may be forced to gun sling much more this week and attempt 45 passes or so. Let's hope that he and our 3 wounded WR's (Standy - groin, Stubbs - ankle, and Williams - shoulder) are up to the task. Methinks that Kyle Ingraham will finally see 5-6 balls thrown his way this week and he will make Wisconsin's secondary midgets pay with a TD and some key chain moving receptions! It will be interesting to see how we use Jones and Brooks to mix things up (quicks versus power) and more importantly, how we use these guys in the passing game. I believe we may some big gain screens to these guys.
I think special teams play will be relatively even, except if it comes down to a 40 yd FG or longer, we have the major advantage. I think I read somewhere that Wisco's kicker has not made one from longer than 35 yds this season! I'm sure Wisco will kick away from Chambers after last week and we will kick away from Leohnard.
So what is my prediction...Boilers 20, Wisco 17. Ben Jones will kick the game winner from 45 yds out with about 5 minutes to play and The Boiler D will make a key 4th down stop to end the game. It will be a major dogfight, but in the end, our D's experience in the clutch, and our +2 turnover margin is the difference! Let's beat the freaking Cheesefarts!
Boilers bask in national spotlight
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
The Purdue and Wisconsin football teams did their part to set up Saturday's showdown in Madison. The Boilermakers beat Penn State last week while the Badgers upset Ohio State.
That set the stage for the 5-1 Boilermakers (2-0 Big Ten Conference) to visit the 6-1 Badgers (3-0 Big Ten). No. 13 Purdue versus No. 14 Wisconsin. In a sold out stadium, in a town that has earned the nickname "Madtown."
It's no wonder that ESPN's popular GameDay pregame show also will be on hand.
"It's a great opportunity for us," Purdue senior defensive tackle Craig Terrill said. "It's good national exposure. That's what we need, to win big games like this. It will help make us grow a lot as a team."
"• The opponent: No. 13 Purdue (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) plays at No. 14 Wisconsin (6-1, 3-0) Saturday at 11 a.m. (ESPN, WNDE-1260 AM). It is the Boilers' first road game since beating Wake Forest 16-10 on Sept. 13.
• Streaking Boilers: Purdue would stretch its winning streak to six with a victory, matching the longest during Tiller's tenure. It also won six in a row in 1997 and '98, Tiller's first two seasons. Purdue hasn't had a winning streak longer than six since 1979, when it won its final seven games to go 10-2, the most victories in school history.
• Void's status uncertain: Tiller said running back Jerod Void (ankle sprain) is improving, but he did not practice Tuesday. "He may improve dramatically and not play on Saturday,'' Tiller said. "That's because we're playing on artificial turf and that's hard on ankles."
Boilers relish road challenge
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
Bowling Green, Wake Forest, Arizona, Notre Dame, Illinois, Penn State. As it turns out, they were merely a bag of peanuts compared to what lies ahead for the Purdue football team.
Since Purdue was able to take care of business at home the past four weeks, to run its record to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in Big Ten Conference play, those six games served to merely set the table.
It's what lies ahead that will determine if the Boilermakers are pretenders, contenders or champions.
Talented Badger running backs challenge Boilers
By John Jeanguenat
Assistant Sports Editor
In an era of spread offenses and nickel packages, Saturday's Purdue-Wisconsin game may have an old school feel to it.
This is due to the emphasis No. 14 Wisconsin (6-1, 3-0 Big Ten) places on running the football and the Purdue defense's success against the ground game.
"They're going to run the football and gain yards," coach Joe Tiller said. "They're going to because that's what they do. So philosophically for us, our thoughts have to be in terms of containing them and holding them down and not allowing them to just run at will against us."
Wisconsin's running game, which has produced 210.9 yards per game, is ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 13 nationally. No. 13 Purdue's (5-1, 2-0) run defense has surrendered only 60.8 yards per game — No. 2 in conference and nationally.
Pick crew adds photographer for 'second-rate Saturday' picks
Last weekend's "Separation Saturday" has given way to this weekend's "Second-rate Saturday." We think the occasion calls for a super-special guest — like Exponent photo editor Tim Orendorff. Here are our picks for this weekend's showdowns:
No. 13 Purdue (5-1, 2-0) at No. 14 Wisconsin (6-1, 3-0)
Doug's Decision: As yesterday's column said, this game is the key to the Big Ten season. Not just for Purdue, but also the Badgers. The main question is can Purdue stop Wisconsin's rushing attack? The other question is why would the Badgers schedule the Boilers for homecoming? Don't they know the '80s and early '90s are over? The answers are enough, Purdue 20 Wisconsin 17
Timmy’s Take: The Badgers are coming off of one of the top wins in the school’s football history, ending the defending national champions' 19-game win streak, 17-10 over Ohio State. Which is a plus for the Boilers due to the fact that Wisconsin will still be on its high, thinking that it can beat anyone in the nation now. The Boilers are going to use their nationally top-ranked run defense to bring the big-headed Badgers back down to earth. Purdue 24, Wisconsin 17
Steve's Sermon: This is as good as it gets. Analysts and experts across the country can't decide who'll take the W in this one — even Las Vegas is pleading the fifth on the betting odds. Everyone talks about "how big they grow them Wisconsin boys," but after watching the "itty bitty" Boilers chop the mammoth Nittany Lions down to size, I'm actually starting to believe what all my girlfriends have always told me: Size really doesn't matter. Purdue 21 Wisconsin 20.
Switching to defense pays
Purdue's Smith had been a quarterback, but now is seeing more playing time at safety.
By Michael Pointer
October 16, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The glory and the girls often flock to the quarterback. No one playing that position likes to hear it's time to try something else.
Such was the case for Purdue's Kyle Smith, even though he knew his chances of playing there were growing slimmer every day.
"I wasn't too thrilled," Smith said. "But once I got over (to free safety) and started doing the drills, I started seeing I could play with these guys. I was having a lot of fun and I'm really excited."
Reeves flourishing under Elmassian
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
Coming into this season, Purdue cornerback Jacques Reeves was working on a solid football career with the Boilermakers. But he's trying to take his game to another level this season as a senior.
So far, so good."I think Jacques' game has improved for two reasons," Purdue coach Joe Tiller said. "One is his maturity as a player and two is the way he's being coached.
"Phil is much more detailed in his coaching approach. Much, much, much more detailed. I think Jacques is picking up some of the subtleties of the position now and it's paying off for him."
Michael Pointer: Purdue Q&A
Indianapolis Star sports reporter Michael Pointer answers your questions about the Boilers.
October 15, 2003
"Question: Going into the toughest part of the football season, which road games do you see as the most winnable? (Kerry from Indianapolis)
Answer: Personally, I think it is the game this weekend at Wisconsin. Purdue has had success there in the recent past, so the players should be confident. I don't think Wisconsin has seen a defense as fast as Purdue's. (That's saying something because Ohio State has a lot of speed, too.) A big key to me is how Purdue handles Wisconsin wide receiver Lee Evans. I think Purdue will do a good job against Wisconsin's running game. But Evans is so big and fast, he causes matchup problems for nearly any cornerback in the Big Ten. Purdue is no exception. Purdue must get a good pass rush and I wouldn't be surprised to see Schweigert and Bernard Pollard slide over and help out on Evans quite a bit.
I still think Michigan is the best team in the conference and Purdue hasn't won there since 1966. That's probably the one I'm least confident about. I think Purdue matches up with Ohio State pretty well, but Ohio Stadium is an intimidating place to play. It's huge and when you're on the field, you almost feel like all those fans are on top of your shoulders. But as I've said before: Purdue has enough talent to be in every game this season. When you do that, you sometimes get a couple of breaks and have a special season, much like Ohio State did last season.
Of course, you can have a couple of breaks go against you and finish 7-5 or 8-4, too."
Chambers, Jones play pivotal roles to give Tiller first win over Nittany Lions
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
Purdue made a twin killing Saturday.
With the Boilermakers' 28-14 victory over Penn State in front of a near-sellout crowd of 59,720 in Ross-Ade Stadium, Purdue beat the Nittany Lions for the first time since Joe Paterno's team began competing in the Big Ten Conference.
Perhaps more importantly, Purdue closed out a perfect four-game homestand to gather momentum for crucial trips to Wisconsin and Michigan the next two weeks.
"We've done what we needed to do," Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton said. "After coming off a tough loss to Bowling Green, we've fought back and showed a lot of character in winning five in a row against pretty good opponents."
Stat Pack: Penn State vs. Purdue
A -- 59,720.
First downs 13
Avg. per carry 3.9
Rushing touchdowns 1
Passing yards 98
Passing touchdowns 1
Total offensive yards 204
Plays-yards per play 59-3.5
Punts-total yards 8-340
Punting average 42.5
Punts blocked 0
Punt returns-total yards 2-22
Punt return average 11.0
Kickoff returns-total yards 2-27
Kickoff return average 13.5
Sacks by-yards lost 0-0
Tackles for losses-yards 3-14
Total turnovers 3
Interceptions-yards returned 1-90
Passes broken up 2
Time of possession
Schweigert views first half from sideline
Tiller belatedly benches safety for alcohol violation
By Tom Kubat, Journal and Courier
"Purdue senior free safety Stuart Schweigert was surprised to learn this past Monday that he wouldn't be in the starting lineup for Saturday's game against Penn State.
That's when he was called into Purdue coach Joe Tiller's office and told he wouldn't be starting against the Nittany Lions, apparently part of his punishment for a public intoxication arrest back in April, the second alcohol-related arrest of his Purdue career.
"We had talked at the beginning of the year that something would be done," said Schweigert, who sat out the first half of Purdue's 28-14 victory. "I thought maybe it would be during that (season-opening) Bowling Green game but it wasn't."
Former Purdue offensive lineman sheds light on his Web site
By Ken Thompson, Journal and Courier
"Want to know how to "shove around punk D-Linemen in the NFL?"
Former Purdue offensive tackle Matt Light tells how to do just that on his Web site, www.mattlight72.com.
The entertaining description of his "Skull Crushers" exercise can be found in the Weight Room section of the site, which offers a chance to join his fan club for $9.95.
Benefits include an autographed 8x10 photo of Light and entry into monthly prize drawings for autographed New England Patriots items."
Talented forward will be a Boiler
Landry completes recruiting class
By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier
"Tabbed by The Sporting News as the nation's second-best junior college power forward, Carl Landry on Wednesday accepted Purdue coach Gene Keady's scholarship offer.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound Landry is a Vincennes University sophomore who will complete a second year of junior college competition during the 2003-04 season.
As a Vincennes freshman, Landry averaged 14 points and 7.4 rebounds, shooting 68.5 percent from the field while registering 38 blocks during the Blazers' 20-8 season.
Landry, a Milwaukee native who is eager to play Big Ten Conference basketball, selected Purdue over Oklahoma."
JUCO forward commits to Purdue
By Jeff Washburn, Journal and Courier
Junior college forward/center Gary Ware's commitment to coach Gene Keady is the beginning of what could be a big week for the Purdue men's basketball program.
Ware, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound Dodge City, Kan. Community College sophomore, picked the Boilermakers after also making official visits to Georgia, Nebraska, Colorado and Houston.
On Friday, Luke Zeller, the 6-10 junior center from Washington, Ind. High School, will make an unofficial visit to Purdue but will not stay for "Midnight Magic."
Washington coach Dave Omer said Monday that while Zeller probably won't make a college choice before August, 2004, Purdue definitely is on the player's short list.
"I would think they are right there," Omer said of the Boilermakers."
Semester's Tuition On The Table At Midnight Mackey Madness
Students encouraged to register for half-court shot opportunity
Oct. 15, 2003
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ten Purdue students will have a chance to make a half-court shot to win free in-state tuition for a semester at Midnight Mackey Madness late this Friday, Oct. 17.
At 10:30 p.m., former Purdue men's players will participate in an alumni game. Some of the players expected to return are Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, Everette Stephens and Drake Morris.
Following the conclusion of the alumni game, the current Boilermaker players and coaches will be introduced. After a dunk contest, the half-court shooting contest will begin. The first person to make the shot will win free in-state tuition for a semester. Only one prize will be awarded.
The evening, which will carry into the early-morning hours of Saturday, will conclude with both the men's and women's teams taking turns scrimmaging on Keady Court. "
Midnight Madness returns, energizes spirited fans
By John Kraft
As both the men's and women's teams go into the year with high expectations, the teams will try to energize fans with Midnight Mackey Madness on Friday night. The late-night event will return to Mackey Arena after two years without such an event.
"We always have high goals," Keady said. "They just weren't realistic there for a couple years. Now we're back on track and I think they're realistic now."
Former basketball players from both men's and women's teams of the past will participate in an alumni game at 10:30. Some of the athletes that will play include Maynard Lewis, Troy Lewis and possibly a few surprises.
After the alumni game, both current teams will take turns scrimmaging at midnight. Men's coach Gene Keady said he wants the scrimmage to create some enthusiasm for the new season and help fans get to know the players.
"We want everybody to understand how important they are to us," Keady said
A daily fact countdown to prime Boilermaker fans for the start of official practice
Oct. 16, 2003
Every weekday from Sept. 24 to Oct. 17, purduesports.com will feature a fact about the Boilermaker men's and women's basketball programs to get Purdue fans primed for the 2003-04 season, which officially will begin with Midnight Mackey Madness in the wee hours of Oct. 18.
Fact 17, Oct. 16
Men: Mackey Arena will once again feature the Gene Pool for men's games this season. The Gene Pool is in its third season and has seen its number rise tremendously. Last season the popular section featured 1,800 members. Student ticket sales as of Oct. 10 were of at 3,100, more than 83 percent ahead of last year's total.
Fact 16, Oct. 15
Men: Gene Keady is in his 24th season at Purdue. Only two coaches have been at their current school longer. Syracuse's Jim Boeheim (28 years) and Sacred Heart's Dave Bike (26 years) each have more tenure at their respective schools. Duke's Mike Krzyzewski and Eastern Illinois' Rick Samuels are both at their 24th season at the schools.
Fact 15, Oct. 14
Men: The Boilermakers went 14-1 in Mackey Arena last season. Purdue's is 421-90 (.824) all-time in the confines of Mackey. The Boilermakers best home record in a season was 11-0 in 1969.