Special Teams, Passing Game Key Purdue’s Hopes Versus Nebraska
Nebraska has a number of advantages over Purdue in terms of how the two teams have performed so far this season. In order for the Boilermakers to pull an upset, they'd probably have to look to their few areas of competence.
Purdue has played a fairly tough slate of teams so far. They lost at Cincinnati and at Wisconsin, and fell at home to Notre Dame and Northern Illinois. Their lone victory was a squeaker over Indiana State. They now have had a bye week to heal from the early slate and prepare for Nebraska.
The Boilermakers have been strong in returning kicks and flipping the field with punts. They've also been superior to Nebraska in passing yards and passing yards surrendered, which has led to fewer total yards surrendered. Defensively, Purdue also has done a better job of playing defense on first down. The team has also been less prone to penalties.
All of that is probably not enough to eke out a victory over the Huskers. Somewhere, they'd need to look far better than they have to this point. That means being much better at running the ball and stopping the run, improving their pass efficiency and pass efficiency defense. They'd need to win the turnover battle.
That's a lot of trends and tendencies that would need to change. The most likely scenario seems to have Nebraska running wild and camping in Purdue's backfield. The Boilermakers need to see very different-looking teams to avoid that.