Purdue (4-6, 1-5) at Illinois (2-8, 0-6) (Saturday, 3:30pm ET on BTN)
Line: Purdue - 7
Last Meeting: 2011 (21-14 Purdue Win)
3 Players to Watch:
1) Terry Hawthorne (DB Illinois): It's Senior Day for the Illini and Hawthorne has been one of the brightest bright spots in an otherwise ugly season to say the least. He's got 3tfl's and 1 sack to go along with 6 pass break ups on the year. Against the spread attack of Purdue he needs to be the key cog in the backfield of the Illini defense or this team is going to go out losing every home Big Ten game of this season.
2) Akeem Shavers (RB Purdue): Illinois isn't exactly great at any aspect of the game, but they are especially terrible against the run and the Boilermakers leading rusher needs to get going early to open other parts of the game up for Purdue. He's more than capable, averaging 4.6 yards a carry and has 4 rushing TD's on the season. If he can't get going early this team could be in trouble.
3) Ryan Lankford (WR Illinois): Lankford has been a heck of a player for the Illini this season and perhaps the single best offensive star for the them by a long shot. He's got 35 receptions on the year along with 5TD's and averages 13.5 yards a reception. He needs to be a playmaker against a Purdue defensive unit that's 9th in the Big Ten against the pass. If he can get open Scheelhaase is more than capable of getting him the ball and that can also mean a chance for the running game to get going as well.
Final Analysis: I bet you didn't know these two schools play for a trophy, huh? Neither did I, but they play annually for the "Purdue Cannon" and this is Senior Day for the Illini so there's bound to be a lot of emotion. I highly doubt they want to go out winless in their final season in front of the Memorial Stadium crowd. There's no doubting they'll be motivated to win this game.
However, they are going up against a Purdue team that has better talent around them at nearly every position on the field. If Purdue can avoid turning the ball over - they've got 21 of them on the year, it'll be Purdue winning for the first time at Illinois since 2006. Sorry to say to Illini fans and the seniors, your going out as losers in this one.
My Pick: Purdue 41, Illinois 20
Rest of Staff's Picks:
Kevin: Purdue 30, Illinois 20
Will: Purdue 35, Illinois 20