We asked Lafayette (Ind.) Journal & Courier beat writer Mike Carmin for his thoughts on the Boilermakers going into Saturday’s Illinois-Purdue game at Memorial Stadium.
What did the win against Iowa mean for the Boilermakers?
Allowed Purdue to start 1-0 for the first time under Jeff Brohm and gain a little momentum in this shortened season. The Boilermakers did it without Brohm on the sidelines (isolating due to COVID-19 protocols) and receiver Rondale Moore and running back King Doerue, who led the team in rushing a year ago. Had to overcome a lot of adversity.
Did Brian Brohm earn himself a raise or a head-coaching look from other schools?
Schools that have openings could look his way in the offseason. He handled the situation well and leaned on his calm demeanor to keep the sidelines organized during the game. He was the acting head coach but acted like a head coach.
What is the general feeling about Jeff Brohm among Purdue fans?
The fan base still likes the hire but would probably like to see more in terms of wins. Last year, Purdue was decimated by injuries and finished 4-8. This is already a strange season and it’s hard to know what comes next.
What kind of impact will Rondale Moore have if he is able to go?
Big impact. Anytime he’s on the field, teams must pay attention to him and sometimes they bring more than one defender to slow him down. That opens the field for other receivers, who will be in one-on-one situations. Moore, though, will get his share of passes thrown his way, regardless of how many people are around him.
Who is one under-the-radar guy Illinois fans should keep an eye on?
Offensively, tight end Payne Durham was terrific in the red zone last season. He’s often overlooked with so much attention paid to David Bell and the other receivers. Defensively, linebacker/defensive end DaMarcus Mitchell had a solid game in the opener. He’s a junior-college transfer who can help the defense play more physical.
Who is going to win and why?
Illinois smacked Purdue around last season in West Lafayette and the Boilermakers still remember. I think Purdue can hit some plays in the passing game and that will likely be the difference. Purdue 32, Illinois 27.