Well, you blinked, and now we’re halfway through the college football regular season. With just five games to go until Indiana and Purdue’s rivalry matchup, let’s see who has the edge.
The defensive edge clearly belongs to the Hoosiers
Defense was a liability for the Hoosiers in previous years, often costing them the game despite a high-scoring offense. This season, the Hoosier defense is keeping the team in the game when the offense comes up short.
The keys to a great defense is limiting the opponent’s possessions by forcing three-and-outs and capitalizing on turnovers. Opposing teams complete just 52.5% of third-downs against the Hoosiers, ranking 17th in NCAA. Purdue, on the other hand, allows 61.9% of third-down completions, ranking 90th. IU also has 1.8 takeaways per game, one full turnover more than Purdue at just 0.8.
Although neither team is strong against the run, Purdue is far worse than IU. The Boilermakers allow over 260 rushing yards per game, over 90 more than the Hoosiers, which ranks tenth-worst in the NCAA. Per play, the Boilermakers are even worse, allowing 6.1 yards per rush, ranking third worst in the league. The Hoosier’s aren’t too impressive either, allowing 4.1 yards per play.
The bright spot for Purdue is their passing defense. Ranked 15th in the nation, the Boilermakers allow under 180 passing yards per game. The Hoosiers aren’t too shabby themselves, allowing just 205 yards per game.
Given the IU and Purdue strong passing defense and utterly abysmal rushing defense, expect quite a few carries for both team’s running backs.
The Purdue and IU bring two mediocre, but evenly matched offenses
The two rank in the bottom 50% of scoring and are separated by only 45.1 in yards per game.
Both teams post similar passing numbers. IU and Purdue both rank in the top-30 in passing yards per game with IU leading by only 12 yards at 293. However, both teams are only moderately accurate with IU’s completion percentage of 59.49% just 4.4% above that of Purdue. Purdue, however, passes 13 more times per game than IU. Neither team is particularly protective of the ball, with IU throwing 1.4 interceptions per game, and Purdue throwing 2.2.
The teams are even more comparable in the rushing game. Only 33.1 yards separate the teams’ rushing yards per game, with IU leading at 160.6, and only 0.2 yards separate the teams’ rush yards per attempt, with IU leading at 3.9. IU also runs the ball 7.4 more times per game than Purdue.
Surprise, surprise. Neither of these teams are winning the college playoff or even the Big 10. Both would be happy with just a bowl game.
However, before the Bucket comes before the Bowl, and IU has just a sliver of an edge over Purdue. IU’s offense isn’t what it was last year, but none of that will matter against Purdue’s defense. Both teams will struggle to find success in the passing game, but IU’s stronger rushing attack against Purdue’s poor rushing defense will secure a win for the Hoosiers.
Predicted Score: IU over Purdue 33-20
Will IU’s defense remain strong? Will either offense take off? Check back in a few weeks to see which way the momentum swings.
Statistics courtesy of Team Rankings
Image courtesy of FanSided