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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (60,670) -- Champaign, Illinois. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Purdue 3-3, Illinois 2-4. Away Record: Purdue 1-3, Illinois 0-4. Neutral Record: Purdue 0-0, Illinois 0-0. Conference Record: Purdue 1-5, Illinois 0-6. Series Record: Illinois leads, 42-39-6.
GAME NOTES: Coming off their first win in more than a month, the Purdue Boilermakers will try to make it two in a row when they visit Memorial Stadium for a Big Ten Conference matchup with Illinois.
Purdue snapped a five-game slide with last week's 27-24 win at Iowa, which also marked the team's first conference victory of the season. With four wins overall, the Boilermakers can still become bowl eligible if they win this weekend and then beat Indiana at home next week. However, they have not won back-to-back Big Ten road games since 2009.
Illinois enters the contest mired in a seven-game losing streak. The Fighting Illini are coming off a 17-3 home loss to Minnesota last week. They'll close out their season at Northwestern next weekend.
The winner of the game gets the prized Cannon Trophy. Purdue has won six of the last seven meetings between the two rivals, although Illinois still holds a slim 42-39-6 lead in the all-time series.
Purdue won at Iowa for the first time since 1992 on freshman kicker Paul Griggs' 46-yard field goal as time expired. The Boilermakers did so with a balanced attack, racking up 211 yards on the ground and 279 through the air. Robert Marve completed an ultra-efficient 25-of-33 passes, while Ralph Bolden ran for 102 yards on 14 carries. However, three fumbles opened the door for Iowa to hang around. One of those fumbles was returned the other way for a touchdown to narrow the margin to 24-21 late in the third quarter. Still, the Boilermakers came up with big plays when they needed to down the stretch. After Iowa turned the ball over on downs at the Purdue 35 with 16 seconds to play in regulation, Marve had a 17-yard scramble and a 20-yard completion to move the ball to the Iowa 29, setting up Griggs' game-winner.
Purdue's defense allowed only 264 total yards against the Hawkeyes. Iowa running back Damon Bullock found few running creases, as he finished with just 43 yards on 23 carries (1.9 ypc). The Boilermakers held quarterback James Vandenberg to 190 yards, while notching three sacks. They all but camped out in the backfield, finishing the day with a season-high 10 tackles for loss. It marked the team's highest total in that department since compiling 10 TFLs against Indiana last season. Kawann Short earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors with six tackles, including five solo, and a career-high 4.0 behind the line of scrimmage. He also notched his fifth sack of the season. Landon Feichter led the way with 10 tackles in the win.
The Fighting Illini have seen their offense go flat, averaging a mere 12.4 points over the course of their seven-game slide. The team enters this tilt ranked 115th in the nation in total offense (298.5 ypg) and 118th in scoring (16.9 ppg). Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is averaging just 138.8 passing yards per game and has thrown more interceptions (6) than touchdowns (4) on the season. Then again, he hasn't had very much time in the pocket as the offensive line ranks 114th nationally in sacks allowed. Last week, they failed to convert a pair of 3rd-and-1 plays against Minnesota and finished with only 276 yards of total offense. Two trips inside the red zone netted just three points for the game.
Illinois true freshman linebacker Mason Monheim posted a career and game-high 15 tackles against Minnesota, including 1.5 tackles for loss and a half-sack. Monheim, who has started the past eight games, paces all Big Ten freshmen with 74 tackles this season and has averaged 9.5 stops in league play. However, his efforts were not enough to overcome the defense's struggles against the run. Minnesota's Donnell Kirkwood gashed the Illini for 152 yards and two scores on the ground, helping the Gophers to an edge of nearly nine minutes in the time of possession category. Granted, the offense didn't do a whole lot to help out the defense. Illinois' first eight possessions resulted in six punts and a fumble.
It has been longer than a calendar year since Illinois last won a Big Ten game, a span of 12 straight losses. Unless the Illini find a way to move the ball and finish drives, they are likely staring at a 13th straight conference loss.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Purdue 30, Illinois 13
11/14 10:34:34 ET
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