2022 Purdue Boilermakers Preview

by Matt Fargo

Purdue Boilermakers

2021-22 Season Record 9-4 (6-3 Big Ten West) - 8-5-0 ATS - 5-8-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 7
Defense - 8

Overview

Former head coach Joe Tiller got Purdue back on the map for the first time in about two decades, albeit a small map, as he took the Boilermakers to bowl games in 10 of his 12 seasons. He never got them to make a big leap in the Big Ten however as his cap was nine wins three times and after he left, the Danny Hope and Darrell Hazell experiments never took and Jeff Brohm took over in 2017 and led them to two straight bowl games. 2019 was a blip with just 12 starters back resulting in a 3-9 record and 2020 was COVID laced at 2-4 but last season was the breakthrough Purdue fans have been waiting for as it finished 9-4 that included quality wins over Iowa, Michigan St. and Tennessee and the four losses against teams with nine or more wins. 15 starters are back along with a No. 37 ranked recruiting class means Purdue could be here to stay now and for the foreseeable future.

Offense

The running game was offensive once again as it averaged 84.2 ypg which was No. 127 in the country, the third straight season the Boilermakers have averaged fewer than 85 ypg on the ground. Sure, attempts have been low but the ypc average testifies that it has been bad and needs to improve to get the offense really rolling as any semblance of balance helps. King Doerue is back after leading the team with 533 yards on 4.0 ypc and any more pop would be helpful. Quarterback Aiden O'Connell was outstanding in his first year as the full time starter as he threw for 3,712 yards with 28 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing over 72 percent of his passes. The bad news is he lost his top three targets but a veteran quarterback can make it work with younger wideouts and he does have an experienced tight end. The offensive line has to simply open more holes and should improve.

Defense

The Purdue defense has typically been a sieve but it has improved in each of the last four seasons yardage-wise and last year was No. 48 in total defense and No. 34 in scoring defense and it was actually better than that as those rankings are inflated because of the bowl game. The Boilermakers were solid in both areas and with eight starters back, they should once again improve. The defensive line has three of those starters back but the one loss is a big one in end George Karlaftis who tied for the team lead in sacks with five but his counterpart Kydran Jenkins who also had five sacks is back. The linebackers also took a hit with leading tackler Jaylan Alexander on the Chicago Bears roster but Kieren Douglas comes back after having 67 tackles and is ready to lead the unit. Cory Trice, who played just two games, is back after injury and solidifies the corners while Cam Allen is a potential star at safety.

2022 Season Outlook

Brohm did not have the career as expected when he was the quarterback at Louisville but had a solid senior season and played in the NFL and has led quarterbacks throughout his coaching carrier prior to here so he knows how to get the best out of O'Connell with the receiver limitations. He flourished at Western Kentucky with a 30-10 record and has things going the right way here. The schedule is a tough one to decipher as there is a lot of good but some not so good. The Boilermakers open against Penn St. at home and this could be a real statement game. The nonconference schedule is tame but the rest of the Big Ten slate consists of five road games and just three at home. But no Ohio St., Michigan or Michigan St. anywhere to be found. The O/U win total is set at 7.5 and this one looks good for the over with Wisconsin and Iowa being swing games back-to-back but with a bye in-between.  

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