NCAA Football: Oregon State Beavers vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 4, 2021

by Big Al Staff

Game time: 7 p.m. ET; Sept. 4, 2021
Venue: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
Where to watch: FS1

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Purdue -7; O/U 69; Purdue -275, Oregon State +220
BetMGM: Purdue -7; O/U 68.5; Purdue -250, Oregon State +200
Caesars: Purdue -7; O/U 68.5; Purdue -280, Oregon State +230

2020 season record
Oregon State: 2-5
Purdue: 2-4

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Oregon State - Purdue preview and analysis


If history is any indication on what lies ahead for the Purdue Boilermakers, the future doesn’t seem too bright.

There’s a two-year gap every 3-4 years where Purdue reaches consecutive bowl games, then falls off for a few seasons. After a 4-8 year in 2019 and 2-4 in 2020, we’re soon entering the territory of the Boilermakers getting back into postseason play.

The allure of head coach Jeff Brohm has worn off slightly since taking over in 2017, but there may be reason to be excited this season. Purdue opens its new season Saturday at home when taking on the Oregon State Beavers.

Part of why Purdue has not been able to string together consistent winning seasons since the early 2000s is because of the play at quarterback. No disrespect to David Blough from a few years ago, but he wasn’t moving the needle like a Drew Brees or Kyle Orton.

This season, the Boilermakers have two capable quarterbacks to lead them. The problem is determining if one will emerge from the pack. Jack Plummer and Aidan O’Connell combined to throw for nearly 2,000 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, to only four interceptions. Combined, they completed nearly 68 percent of their passes against only Big Ten competition.

Plummer will be getting the start Saturday, but expect the leash to be short if he doesn’t perform well against a Beavers defense that allowed 33.3 points per game.

No matter who’s under center, the Boilermakers have talent at receiver to make their jobs easier. Leading WR David Bell returns after reeling in 625 yards (sixth-most in the Big Ten) and tying a conference-best with eight touchdowns.

Oregon State is entering its fourth season under head coach Jonathan Smith, and while the Beavers only had two wins in 2020, every game was decided by at least two scores. Their largest margin of defeat was 13 points in the season finale against Arizona State.

The Beavers’ season was made with a 41-38 win over No. 9 Oregon, with the Civil War going to Corvallis for one year. One-score losses against Utah and Stanford may have hindered their bowl chances, but the play against conference foes gives reason to believe that an improved season may happen in 2021.

After splitting time between Tristan Gebbia and Chance Nolan last season, the Beavers are going with Colorado transfer Sam Noyer as the Week 1 starter. Noyer, a native from Beaverton, Oregon, threw 1,101 yards and six touchdowns with the Buffaloes last season. He added 208 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

Last year’s leading rusher Jermar Jefferson is now in the NFL, but the Beavers are hoping South Carolina transfer Deshaun Fenwick is someone who can carry the load. Fenwick had only 97 carries in three seasons with the Gamecocks.

Purdue will be a solid test for Oregon State before two easy tuneups at home against Hawaii and Idaho, before beginning Pac-12 play against No. 15 USC on Sept. 25. Purdue will hit the road to face UConn and No. 9 Notre Dame before beginning Big Ten play at home against Illinois, who defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Week 1.

Prediction


Expect a close game this weekend, but Purdue at home seems like the safe play. Noyer will have to be given a few weeks to see if he’s the right guy for this Oregon State offense, and we’d expect Purdue to come out strong in front of its home fans. Given fans will be back in stadiums now, this is a good time to fire up the Purdue crowd. Purdue wins 34-27.

Betting trends


Oregon State is 8-0 the last two years against the spread as road underdogs.

Purdue is 3-6 as a favorite straight up the past three seasons.

Statistical leaders from 2020


Oregon State:
Passing: Tristan Gebbia -- 824 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Jermar Jefferson -- 858 yards, 7 TD
Receiving: Trevon Bradford -- 239 yards, 1 TD
Defense: Avery Roberts -- 69 tackles

Purdue:
Passing: Jack Plummer -- 938 yards, 8 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Zander Horvath -- 442 yards, 2 TD
Receiving: David Bell -- 625 yards, 8 TD
Defense: Derrick Barnes -- 54 tackles

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All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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