WEST LAFAYETTE – Welcome to Countdown to Kickoff prior to Saturday’s matchup between Florida Atlantic and Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.
What you need to know – and it’s not all game related.
Quarterback Aidan O'Connell is a game-time decision. Details here.
Running back King Doerue and receiver Broc Thompson are among other game-time decisions, according to Jeff Brohm. Doerue and Thompson didn’t play last week at Syracuse. It’s unlikely they’ll play.
In an effort to reduce the penalties in the secondary, defensive backs were wearing oven mitts during practice this week.
It’s the 100th Homecoming game for the Boilermakers. They’re wearing a special logo on their black helmets – an old logo of Purdue Pete. FAU is the sixth different non-conference Homecoming opponent for the Boilermakers following Carnegie Tech, UCLA, Oregon State, Northern Illinois and Boston College.
From the summer: Purdue’s helmet design for Saturday’s game vs Florida Atlantic pic.twitter.com/JyU5bxzuLi
— mike carmin (@carmin_jc) September 18, 2022
Purdue’s last three games against FBS opponents have been decided by a combined 10 points.
If the Boilermakers can win Saturday, they’ll be 2-2 to start the season. It’s in line with what’s happened under Brohm.
2018: 1-3, including losing the first three.
2019: 1-3, which became 1-4.
2020 (COVID): 2-0 but lost last four.
Who ordered up the Western Kentucky reunion? Pay attention.
Three former head coaches for the Hilltoppers – Brohm, Willie Taggart and David Elson – will be on the sidelines Saturday. Brohm is in his sixth year at Purdue; this is Taggart’s third season at FAU, and Elson is the Boilermakers’ linebackers coach.
“Well, I’d say that there are some Western Kentucky ties and connections that will be on both sidelines for sure,” Elson said this week.
Purdue tight ends coach Ryan Wallace played for Taggart at Western Kentucky and special teams coach Karl Maslowski was an All-American linebacker for the Hilltoppers while Taggart was an assistant.
Brohm, Taggart and Elson coached a combined 159 games at WKU compiling an 85-74 record.
Brohm’s coach at Louisville, Howard Schnellenberger, built the Owls’ program from the ground up starting in 1999. They played at the Division I-AA level for four years before joining the Sun Belt Conference.
“I think he is one of the greatest coaches of all time,” Brohm said. “I definitely wish they would put him in the Hall of Fame. He deserves that. He took a lot of programs that weren't doing well, including Miami, and brought them to prominence.
“It's because of his leadership, his work ethic. He was a football guy, a true football guy. He worked under Paul "Bear" Bryant, and that's how he ran his practices. He won a lot of football games at a lot of places.”
Schnellenberger not only helped raise funds to start the program, but also spearheaded the campaign to build an on-campus stadium in Boca Raton.
“He treated me great as a player and a coach,” Brohm said. “Him and his family were really good people, and they meant a lot to me. Any time I coach, I think of a lot of things that he did and how and why he did it and try to do the best I can to emulate that.”
Saturday’s game was scheduled in February 2019. Purdue is paying Florida Atlantic $1.2 million.
This might come across as a homer stat but here goes:
While the Boilermakers were called for four pass interference penalties at Syracuse, the Orange weren’t flagged once, despite Aidan O’Connell attempting 55 passes.
In fact, O’Connell and Purdue's quarterbacks have thrown 101 consecutive passes without a defensive pass interference call. Penn State was flagged three times for pass interference in the opener.
In their two losses, the Boilermakers have accumulated more penalty yards than rushing yards. They gained 61 yards on the ground against Penn State but had 92 yards in penalties. Against Syracuse, Purdue totaled 61 rushing yards but had 138 yards in penalties.
The Boilermakers have committed seven more penalties than their three opponents.
Do you know the last time Purdue hosted a team from Florida at Ross-Ade Stadium?
Try 1998 when Central Florida and quarterback Dante Culpepper came to town. The Boilermakers posted a 35-7 win. Miami (Fla.) played in West Lafayette in 1950 and 1984.
Former running back Zander Horvath is off to a fast start for the Los Angeles Chargers, catching a pair of touchdowns in the first two games of his NFL career.
“I’m not shocked. I know you all are because you never believe me, but I saw it early,” running backs coach Chris Barclay said. “He’s different. I don’t want to speak too soon. There’s a lot of time, a lot of season left and he has to stay healthy, and he’s got to keep busting his tail on special teams and doing all the little things.
“But the way he came in these doors prepared him for what he’s experiencing right now. I say that because when he came in these doors, I told him, ‘fullback, special teams and the role can grow from there.’ He’s now in the same scenario in the league.”
Mike Carmin covers Purdue sports for the Journal & Courier and USA Today Network. Email email@example.com and follow on Twitter and Instagram @carmin_jc
Florida Atlantic (2-2) at Purdue (1-2)
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WAZY (96.5)
This article originally appeared on Lafayette Journal & Courier: Countdown to kickoff: What you need to know about Florida Atlantic at Purdue football