Toledo Rockets vs. Purdue Boilermakers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Toledo Rockets (0-0) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (0-0), 12:00 p.m. EST,
Saturday, September 5, 2009, Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.,
TV: Big Ten Network

by Badger of

A pair of brand new coaches will enter the cage known as Ross-Ade
Stadium in West Lafayette, but only one will emerge a winner in his
debut when the Purdue Boilermakers host the Toledo Rockets in the
season opener Saturday on the Big Ten Network.

The Boilermakers open the Danny Hope era in the Big 10 looking to
turn things around from a disappointing 4-8 season a year ago. Purdue
also welcomes back a bevy of seniors who were lost last season to
injury, so Bowl hopes are high in West Lafayette this season.

In Toledo new head coach Tim Beckman inherits 20 returning starters,
of which 11 are seniors, so the Rockets are expected to turn things
around as well following a 3-9 record in 2008 that was the worst mark
at the school in 31 years.

Football oddmakers originally opened the game with the home team
Boilermakers as 13-point favorites, but after early wagering this
week the spread has dropped all the way down to 10.5 at most offshore
sportsbooks. There are still a few books listing the number at 11
though, so shop around if you like the underdog Rockets.

The over/under total also has moved from early steam too, opening at
52 before dropping to the current number(s) of 51 or 50.5 depending
on which book you deal with and whether or not you want the hook.

Purdues transition to their new coach should be smoother since Hope
was brought in last season to serve as Joe Tillers associate head
coach. On offense the Boilermakers will try and replace Curtis
Painter at quarterback with senior Joey Elliot, who is poised to make
his first career start on Saturday after missing time last season
with shoulder issues.

In addition to Elliot, running back Jaycen Taylor also returns from a
knee injury last season to play out his senior season as the starter,
while tight end Kyle Adams is also back on offense following a lost
season in 08.

Beckman, who came to Toledo after spending 21 seasons as an assistant
including the last few as Oklahoma States defensive coordinator,
inherits a four-year starting quarterback in senior Aaron Opelt
(2,190 yds., 12 TD), as well as a tandem of senior perimeter players
(RB DaJuane Collins and WR Stephan Williams) to help his offense
transition try and be as smooth as possible.

Toledo will be without its leading rusher Morgan Williams for the
first two weeks, as Williams was suspended along with senior
linebacker Daris Quinn and safety Chris Faison for a violation of
team rules in the spring.

On defense, both teams are loaded with experience and should be able
to cause havoc for the opposing team.

Purdue welcomes back the entire defensive secondary in seniors
Brandon King, David Pender, Dwight Mclean and Torri Williams, a
secondary that was 1st in the Big 10 and 26th overall in pass defense
allowing 184 yards per game. Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan is the top
pass rusher, and linebacker Jason Werner is yet another senior
returning to the lineup after a season-ending injury last year.

Toledo returns five of their top six tacklers from last season, now
performing under the watchful eye of the defensive-minded Beckman, so
they are likely to improve upon last seasons porous (378.6 ypg
allowed 75th) and destructive (31.4 ppg allowed 98th) ways.

The series between these two schools is tied at 2-2, but the
Boilermakers won the last get together 52-24 back in 2007. Purdue has
won five straight openers and is 36-7-1 lifetime versus teams in the
MAC. On the flip side, Toledo is just 5-12 versus the Big 10 in
school history, but they are 4-4 in their last eight.

Purdue was 5-5-1 ATS in 2008, and is just 3-9 ATS versus the MAC in
their last 12 attempts.

Toledo is equally as bad with betting trends, going 6-6 ATS in 08 and just 4-12 ATS in their last 16 games on the road.

The best trend in this game looks like the under, which is 10-3-1 in
Toledos last 14 games overall and 28-10-2 in Purdues last 40 home
games at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Badgers Pick: New coaching staffs with senior-heavy teams makes this game hard one for me to get a really good feel for this game. My head says go Toledo and the experienced QB (Opelt), but my gut tells
me Purdues defense is good enough to stop him and preserve a late-
game cover. Take Purdue minus the 10.5.

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