Football ready to face Purdue

Dan Gedney and Dan Gedney

Starting the season at 8-0 and peaking at No. 16 in the nation last season gave the Falcons the chance to play more big name schools.

The Falcons will get their chance to regain national attention when they take on nationally ranked Purdue tomorrow in West Lafayette, Ind. The Boilermakers are the first of two Big Ten schools the Falcons will face in the next three weeks. The second Big Ten game will be against defending national champion Ohio State on Sept. 20. Defensive lineman Mike Thaler is excited about the team’s opportunity to face the Big Ten.

“”It’s just an awesome opportunity to go and play two Big Ten teams first of all, and also to get to play the defending national champions,” Thaler said. “It’s something that you only dream about, that you can only wish for.”

The Boilermakers have had a successful run against the Mid-American Conference. They head into tomorrow’s game with an all-time record of 28-6-1 against the MAC, including a 6-1 record under current head coach Joe Tiller.

Another challenge facing the Falcons will be winning at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium. The Boilermakers have posted a 29-10 record at home under Tiller. They will also be looking to extend their winning streak in season openers to five.

The Boilermakers improved their offense dramatically from the 2001 to the 2002 season. They went from 105th to seventh in the nation in total offense, 97th to 35th in scoring offense, 72nd to 31st in passing offense and 103rd to 30th in rushing offense. They also led the Big Ten in total offense with 452.2 yards per game and total defense with 317.2 yards per game.

“The key is to keep their offense off the field,” head coach Gregg Brandon said. “We have a quick strike offense. We can’t give up any big plays.”

In order to avoid giving up big plays, the Falcons will have to neutralize the Boilermakers receiving combination of Taylor Stubblefield and John Standeford. Stubblefield and Standeford were No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big Ten in receptions last season.

Their 339 catches for 4,337 yards makes them the No. 2