Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Purdue Boilermakers vs Western Michigan Broncos
Dec. 27, 4:30 pm
Ford Field (Detroit, Michigan)
Line: Purdue -2 1/2
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl matches up the Purdue Boilermakers – from the Big Ten – opposite the Western Michigan Broncos – from the Mid-American Conference. Emanating live from Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Purdue and Western Michigan will tangle for all the pizzas.
Making This All Possible
Whether you were ever a beggared college student or teenager, you know all about Little Caesars: home of the “Hot –n- Ready” pizza. Little Caesars is the fourth largest pizza chain in the United States and its headquarters has remained in Detroit, hence the game being played in the city.
Get to know: Western Michigan
Western Michigan enters the “pizza-pizza” bowl with a 7-5 record, winners of three out of its last four games.
Western Michigan faced three BCS-conference-teams this season going 1-2 – all on the road – with its lone win coming against Connecticut from the Big East.
The Broncos bring with them a high-octane offense (22nd-ranked nationally) coached by Bill Cubit, who is in his seventh season in Kalamazoo, Michigan.
Players on the offensive side of the ball that you should have your eyes on are: junior quarterback Alex Carder (3,434 yards, 28 TDs and 10 INTs) and a senior-laden group of wide receivers; Jordan White (127 rec. 1,646 yards, 16 TDs), Chleb Ravenell (59 rec. 769 yards, eight TDs) and Robert Arnheim (59 rec. 662 yards four TDs).
Defensively, Western Michigan and its 100th-ranked unit, led by Johnnie Simon (103 tackles, 8.5 TFL) has not been as booming. You may remember the 66-63 loss at Toledo back in November (and no it was not a basketball game), when Western Michigan surrendered 804 total yards (419 rush, 385 pass).
I will be interested to see what Purdue and its 79th-ranked offense – who faced stiffer competition than WMU – can manage against the defense of the Broncos.
Get to know: Purdue
Purdue is a head-scratcher to be honest. Under the direction of third-year head coach Danny Hope, Purdue has not had much luck finding someone to take this team by the hands to lift its production. Not since Drew Brees was in school has Purdue won a Big Ten Championship, and for the most part, is a team without a true identity or a true leader to speak of. Yes, Purdue wants to establish the run, and I guess you can call that its identity, but I question if the Boilermakers are good enough defensively to exploit a weak rush-defense by Western Michigan.
Purdue did have what in previous years may have been considered a “big win” versus Illinois and Ohio State but never did it build momentum. When you lose to a team like Rice, it is hard to be too awfully high on your teams prognosis.
This will be the Purdue’s first bowl game since the 2007 Motor City Bowl against another opponent from the state of Michigan; Central Michigan.
Leading Purdue will be junior quarterback Caleb TerBush (1,803 yards, 12 TDs and six INTs), junior running back Ralph Bolden (674 yards, six TDs), junior wide receiver Antavian Edison (561 yards, three TDs), senior wide receiver Justin Siller (429 yards, one TD) and on the defensive side of the ball Dwayne Beckford (91 tackles, 7 TFL).
You Should Know…
Purdue and Western Michigan have met twice previously on the gridiron, with Purdue winning both games in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers defeated the Broncos 28-13 in 1993 and 28-24 in 2002.
If You’re Going
If you are in town for the Pizza Bowl there are many things to do in Detroit. If you are fan of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, the Supremes, the Temptations or any of the bands that were pivotal in the heydey of the Motown Sound you must venture out about three miles from downtown to visit the Motown Historical Museum.
Though it may be on the colder side, the Detroit RiverFront is great for families who want to take a stroll to view the blended skylines of America as well as Canada. Paved, safe, secure and monitored by video camera, here you can take a walk without worry.
If You’re Watching At home
One of the best breweries in America is located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Founders Brewing Company has so many tremendous beers it is hard to choose just one, however, since this game is on the earlier side I will suggest a breakfast beer; none other than the Founders KBS (Kentucky Breakfast Stout).
The KBS packs a punch at 11.20% ABV but you would never know it. You will not find a better Imperial Stout than this bad boy.
When you pour this thing – preferably in a tulip – you will notice two things instantly: the thickness it pours at, and the beautiful aroma of vanilla, chocolate, bourbon and coffee.
The flavors in the KBS are basically perfection. Plenty of alcohol in it to get your morning started.
Purdue has faced the stiffer competition in 2011 but when it comes down to it, I do not see the pure playmakers on the Boilermakers side, that I see from Western Michigan.
If Purdue can keep it on the ground and keep the Western Michigan offense off the field for as long as possible, it gives them a fourth quarter shot.
I see just enough out of Western Michigan, though, to get the win.
Western Michigan 28, Purdue 21