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June 29, 2010

An early look at the Big Ten: Purdue

The Purdue Boilermakers

Location: West Lafayette, Ind.
Distance from Lincoln: 621 miles

Best way to get there: There are multiple flights to Chicago from both Omaha and Lincoln, along with connecting flights to Indianapolis, otherwise the driving distance is a little more than 10 hours from Lincoln. From Chicago West Lafayette is a two hour drive and it's a little over an hour from Indianapolis.


Offensive scheme: Spread
Defensive scheme: 4-3

Rivals.com past recruiting rankings: No. 54 (2010), No. 74 (2009), No. 63 (2008) and No. 59 (2007).

The Boilermakers have five commitments for 2011, three of which are three-star recruits.

Purdue's history against Nebraska

Nebraska and Purdue have only met one time ever, which ended in a 28-0 win for the Boilermakers back on Sept. 27, 1958, in West Lafayette. Purdue went on to finish the season 6-1-2 and rank No. 13 in the Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the coaches' poll, while the Huskers ended the year just 3-7 overall.

Why this game could be a potential rivalry

There really aren't a lot of connections one way or the other between Nebraska and Purdue at the moment, but that doesn't mean there aren't some ties that could help set the foundation for a good rivalry in the future.

Aside from the Huskers wanting to avenge that embarrassing shutout loss back in '58, there might still be some hard feelings for NU from Purdue head coach Danny Hope.

As it turns out, Hope was the offensive line coach at Oklahoma for one season back in 1995. That year, the Sooners traveled to Lincoln and were handed a 37-0 loss by a Husker team that would go on to be regarded by many as the best of all time.

Then there is the whole Robert Marve situation. Though Nebraska never officially offered the quarterback a scholarship after he opted to transfer from Miami last spring, Marve did visit Lincoln for the Spring Game and had discussions with NU coaches.

He ended up choosing Purdue, but there will definitely be some Husker fans eager to see the Blackshirts prove to Marve that Nebraska is better off without him.

Stars to watch for in 2011

Whether or not he amounts to anything at Purdue is still debatable, but Marve will be the guy to watch should he hold onto his starting job heading into 2011. The talk out in West Lafayette is that Marve is expected to make an immediate impact in his first eligible season in Hope's pass-happy scheme.

Guard Ken Plue is already regarded as one of the better offensive linemen in the country, as he was named to the pre-season Outland Trophy watch list last week. He will be Purdue's most experienced lineman this year as a junior, and his NFL stock could be through the roof by the time he's a senior in '11.

Boilermaker fans are also hoping for big things from running back Al-Terek McBurse, who should take over as the starter after Purdue lost 2009 leading rusher Ralph Bolden to an ACL injury this spring. A sophomore this season, McBurse was a four-star recruit by Rivals and was ranked as the No. 23 running back in the country coming out of high school a year ago and he picked Purdue over the Huskers.


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