Western Michigan vs. Purdue Pick: 2011 Little Caesars Bowl
- Updated: December 27, 2011
The 2011 Little Caesars Bowl pits representatives from the MAC and the Big Ten against each other in NCAA football betting action, as the Purdue Boilermakers play what could be a bit of a road game against the Western Michigan Broncos.
Western Michigan just has to be thrilled to be in a bowl game a year after getting left behind at 6-6. The Broncos are a dangerous, dangerous squad, and they are definitely not one to overlook. They can throw the pigskin all over the field, and they can put points on the board in bunches. Purdue’s defense is most certainly going to have its work cut out for it. QB Alex Carder has a bit of a shoulder problem, but he should be ready to go in this one, and it is a good thing considering the fact that he is leading the nation’s eighth ranked passing attack at 328.8 yards per game. He has a fantastic receiver in WR Jordan White, who was easily the nation’s leader in receptions this year. White had 1,646 receiving yards and will clearly be a matchup horror for whichever Purdue DB tries to cover him. The issue comes on the other side of the ball. Western Michigan allowed 434.1 yards per game this year, 215.9 of which came on the ground. If this doesn’t improve, it is going to be quite a long game for a defense which has had some very long, long games.
Purdue lost some games early in the year that it probably should have won (see: @ Rice), but it still found a way to make it to a bowl game with some big time wins down the stretch of the campaign. The biggest win was against the Ohio State Buckeyes, but that, just like four of the Boilers’ other victories this season came at home, and not on the road. Considering the fact that this is a bit of a lot shorter trip for the Broncos than the Boilermakers, that could be awful news. Purdue only won one road game this year, but it saved the best for last, knocking off the Indiana Hoosiers to qualify for a bowl game. There are some real questions about the talent level that is going to be on the field for this game, though. RB Ralph Bolden, the team’s leading rusher has a knee injury, and RB Akeem Shavers, second on the team in rushing has a concussion. Bolden is doubtful, while Shavers is questionable, and if either are slowed or left out, it will certainly hurt an offense that ranks No. 39 in the land in rushing at 174.8 yards per game.
Little Caesars Bowl Keys to the Game: The keys to the game are rather simple on both sides. White has to make some big time plays in the receiving game for Western Michigan, but the Boilermakers have to stay committed to the rest of the WMU receivers, who are also very talented. Purdue has to keep the ball on the ground and try to make this a bit shorter game, but it also knows that it can’t just go into a shell. It is going to have to score some points to win this game against such a powerful offense.