Nebraska has a must-win game this week against a struggling Purdue team. The Boilermakers are coming off of a 24-6 defeat to Illinois while the Huskers lost 38-31 to Indiana.
Here are four Boilermakers to watch:
Jack Plummer, QB
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm announced on Monday that freshman Jack Plummer would be the starter just two days after Brohm said there would be an open competition for the starting spot. The reason he announced that was because of Plummer’s poor play.
After replacing injured starter Elijah Sindelar in the third game of the season, Plummer has completed 57.5% of his passes for 1,361 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions. Plummer is mistake-prone, as he was pulled from Purdue’s last game after he threw an interception and gave away a fumble.
His replacement, sophomore Aidan O’Connell, didn’t do enough to supplant him as the starter, but it will be an interesting storyline to see if Brohm decides to change quarterbacks mid-game.
Rondale Moore, WR
If Rondale Moore is able to play, he is immediately the biggest threat to the Blackshirts. However, he has been out with an injury since the end of September. He could be active this weekend though, as Brohm said on Monday he will not know about his availability until later in the week.
When healthy, Moore is one of the best players in the Big Ten. Last season saw him explode onto the national stage as a true freshman with 114 receptions for 1,258 yards and 12 touchdowns. His importance to this offense is highlighted by the fact he is currently the team’s third-leading receiver despite only playing in four games.
While he may not play, his importance to this game is enough to put him on this list.
David Bell, WR
In Moore’s absence, David Bell has stepped up as the best weapon for the Boilermakers. He currently leads the team in receiving yardage with 653 yards. Considering Purdue rarely runs the ball and has minimal success doing it, his performance will be vital to Purdue’s offensive success.
The freshman was expected to be a big part of the Boilermaker offense, but maybe not to this extent. He is a big, physical target at 6-foot-2 that will be a handful for Nebraska.
After the Husker defense gave up 351 passing yards, including a whopping (no pun intended) 178 receiving yards to Indiana star Whop Philyor, this will be a chance for the Husker secondary to prove itself.
Ben Holt, LB
Being the team’s leading tackler is impressive enough, but when that person is one tackle away from doubling the total of the second-leading tackler that nears truly special territory. That is the kind of year senior Ben Holt is having as he currently has 79 tackles on the year, 39 more than the second leading tackler, Derrick Barnes, who sits at 40 tackles.
Holt is a run-stopping force in the middle of the Boilermaker defense. Viewers should expect to hear his name said a lot on Saturday.