Merry Christmas…and a Bowl Preview

Motor City Bowl Preview: Purdue Boilermakers (7-5) v. Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5)

Tomorrow I will be in the murder capitol of the world to watch my last football game of 2007. This has been a down year for football in my world, but hopefully it will end on a good note. Purdue was part of the bad year in football. They started off so strong scoring 52 points in their first two games. Then they faced Central Michigan in Ross-Aide Stadium on my brothers birthday. We raced off to a 24 point lead in the first quarter putting up huge numbers. The crowd thought that they would see a record setting performance like the one against Ball State in 2004. After the first quarter we just sort of phoned it in for the rest of the year. Central Michigan really took it to us in the second half, and more importantly we lost Jaycen Taylor with a broken arm. Taylor was the heart and soul of the team, and his presence was missed. He is back now, and should be part of a two headed monster at tailback tomorrow night. We won the game 45-22, but we looked very bad in the second half.
Central Michigan will not lay down like they did in the first half in September. They have a great quarterback that just had a bad first half. Looking at the stats LeFevour only ran for 26 yards, but I remember an option play that we could not stop. He would fake the run up the middle, then run around end. When we geared up for that the play would go up the middle. He is a great quarterback that will give our defense fits if we don’t put some pressure on him and contain him. He can beat us with both his arms and his legs. He is one of only two players to rush and pass for over a thousand yards in a season. The other player is Vince Young. That is pretty good company. I am watching the MAC Championship game from this year while I am typing this, and he has looked pretty good so far. The one mistake that I have seen him make was when he was pressured he threw into double coverage for a pick. The Chippewas had the best offense in the MAC, and we will have our hands full tomorrow night.
As I said earlier we scored 24 points in the first half. It should have been at least 35. Former Boilermaker Selwyn Lymon fumbled the ball on the 5 yard line when we were driving, and we blew another drive in the red zone and had to settle for the field goal. At the time we just thought that it was no big deal. We had an offense that could not be stopped. We found out as the season progressed that we just played some cupcakes early. I have seen all over that people are saying that Painter is the key tomorrow. That may be true to some extent, but I think our two headed monster at tailback and the line will be key. If we can establish a ground game and keep our defense off of the field we will be fine. During the Michigan State debacle all I kept saying was that we need some longs drives to let the defense rest. We did not get them, and the Spartans ran all over us. Taylor and Sheets need to take some of the pressure off of Painter. That being said, I would like to see Painter have a good game. I have been on his bandwagon since he took over for Kirsch, but I am only hanging on by one arm ready to jump onto another one. I love the guy, and still think he could be so much more, but I can tell who he is going to throw to through the viewfinder on my camera. He just does not seem to see the field. With the loss of Lymon we are down a reciever, but in the end we may be better off. Jake Standeford will take his place. We still have Orton and Bryant who can both be gamebreakers. Desmond Tardy will have to be a go to guy next year, so why not start one game early? I really think that good things can come from the offense tomorrow.
On another note tomorrow will be the last game for some of my favorite Boilers. Since I came back from Iowa I have followed the Boilers to every home game, and even most of the away games. I have really enjoyed watching these guys play for better or for worse. Hopefully we can get a win and send them out the right way.
Tomorrow is a do or die day for this team. We can win and build something toward next year, or we can lose and continue the slide that this team has been on. We have not won a bowl game since 2002. We have not scored a first quarter touchdown since the game against Georgia. We need to right some wrongs tomorrow. It may not be the bowl that we wanted, or a signature win, but a win is a win. I think that we will win, but the outcome will not be decided until the last couple minutes of the game. Go Boilers!!

My Prediction: Purdue 44 – Central Michigan 34.


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