NCAA Football: Purdue Boilermakers vs. Connecticut Huskies Preview, Prediction & Odds -- Sept. 11, 2021

by Chuck Sommers

Game time: 3 p.m. ET, Sept. 11, 2021
Venue: Pratt & Whitney Stadium, East Hartford, CT
Where to watch: CBS Sports Network

Opening Odds at USA Sportsbooks


DraftKings: Purdue -33.5; O/U 57.5; Purdue -4500, Connecticut +1800
BetMGM: Purdue -33.5; No total; Purdue -10000, Connecticut +1800
Caesars: Purdue -33.5; O/U 57.5

Season record
Purdue: 1-0
UConn: 0-2

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Purdue - UConn preview and analysis


Recent form
Purdue: won 30-21 vs. Oregon State on Sept. 4
UConn: lost 38-28 vs. Holy Cross on Sept. 4

It’s never been about what the Purdue Boilermakers do to start the season. They’ve had strong starts before and even started 2-0 last season … before losing the final four by 10 points or less.

How they fare heading into conference play is what defines the Boilermakers, but we’re not there yet. 

But maybe this is the year the tide turns for Purdue. Following a somewhat surprising win on opening day against the Oregon State Beavers, the Boilermakers hit the road for a bit of an east coast trip, starting with the Connecticut Huskies on Saturday.

Circumstances would dictate Purdue doesn’t want to think too far ahead to its matchup with No. 9 Notre Dame two weeks away in South Bend. But we’ll make an exception here. The Boilermakers are going to East Hartford to face a UConn team that is beyond repair.

UConn is 0-2 after losing 38-28 against Holy Cross on Saturday for their 12th loss in 13 games. For those keeping track at home, Holy Cross is an FCS program that plays the likes of Yale and Harvard every year.

It got so bad that Randy Edsall, in his second stint with the Huskies, announced Sunday that he would retire at the end of the season. Life comes at you fast in the realm of UConn, apparently, because Edsall announced Monday he was stepping down immediately. So the onus is on defensive coordinator Lou Spanos to make this program somewhat respectable.

Who would’ve thought selling the program’s soul for a spot in the Fiesta Bowl in 2010 would lead to this?

Safe to say times at UConn aren’t fun right now, especially on offense, and how the players can be expected to put the blinders on and focus on football at the moment. Especially after losing to a team like Holy Cross.

Purdue has to be feeling good after getting a superb passing day from quarterback Jack Plummer (29-of-41, 313 yards, 2 touchdowns). Purdue has never been short on quarterback talent, and Week 1 was no exception. Two receivers -- David Bell and tight end Payne Durham -- went over the century mark in yardage and showed that this passing game can be dangerous come conference time.

Prediction


This should be a wash. There’s just so much hoopla with UConn at the moment. It would be just as much of a shock if UConn covered in this one. Purdue 49-3.

Betting trends


Purdue is 4-6 in its last 10 straight up.

UConn has lost 11 straight as an underdog, 35-119 in its last 154 games overall.

Players to watch


Purdue: Look for Zander Horvath to get more action in this one. Especially if UConn has a tough time stopping the run, the Boilermakers tailback should do better than 81 yards on 21 carries.

UConn: This game comes down to UConn quarterback Jack Zergiotis. He’s completed 44.6 percent of his passes through two games.

Statistical leaders


Purdue:
Passing: Jack Plummer -- 313 yards, 2 TD
Rushing: Zander Horvath -- 81 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: David Bell -- 134 yards
Defense: Jalen Graham -- 6 tackles, 1 sack

UConn:
Passing: Jack Zergiotis -- 235 yards, 3 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Kevin Mensah -- 97 yards
Receiving: Keelan Marion -- 60 yards, 2 TD
Defense: Omar Fortt -- 16 tackles

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Chuck Sommers

About the Author:

Chuck Sommers has camped outside of sportsbooks since he can remember, learning the tricks and nuances of the trade. He still has nightmares of betting $5,000 on the Raiders in the Tuck Rule game but has since turned that to 25 years of veteran handicapping greatness. You can find him mostly in the shadows at the Red Rock or Aliante casinos wondering if the over is cashing on any given Sunday.

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

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