2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl: Bold Predictions for Western Michigan vs. Purdue
The 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl (formerly the Motor City Bowl) will have some interesting things we need to watch for when the Western Michigan Broncos (7-5) meet the Purdue Boilermakers (6-6) in a MAC-Big Ten showdown.
Purdue has not fared well recently in bowl games and WMU has yet to win one (0-4).
The Boilermakers also have a lot on the line from a recruiting standpoint. They haven’t represented their program and institution in a bowl game since 2007, so a win would go a long way in bringing in talented recruits to West Lafayette.
For the Broncos, they get a chance to notch a huge win against a Big Ten school and finally get that first bowl win.
Find out who will win as well as six other predictions for the contest.
Jordan White Lights It Up
Jordan White leads the nation with 1,646 yards, 16 TDs and should be a Biletnikoff Award finalist.
He will give the Purdue defense fits all game long with his ability to stretch the field and his willingness to go over the middle.
The Boilermakers defense ranks 69th in the nation and they don’t have anyone in the secondary who can match up with White man-to-man.
Expect him to have at least 150 yards receiving and 2 TDs in this game.
Ricardo Allen Gets Beaten Up
Ricardo Allen will have the unenviable task of covering Broncos receiver Jordan White all game long.
Allen should have help most of the day, but when he’s left alone on an island, it could get pretty ugly.
What is more imperative than Allen getting help from his safeties is his defensive line helping him out by getting penetration and forcing WMU quarterback Alex Carder to get rid of the ball early.
If he’s able to just sit back and go through his progressions, he’s going to chew up that Purdue defense and White will have a monster day.
Purdue Will Struggle
The Purdue Boilermakers should put some points up on the board, but they are going to be without starting running back Ralph Bolden who suffered a torn ACL in their last game against Indiana.
Without much of a running game, the WMU Broncos will be able to focus on defending their aerial attack.
They’re also going to struggle on defense trying to stop Jordan White from tearing up their secondary.
Defensive tackle Kawaan Short will have to step up in a major way if the Boilermakers have any shot of stopping the passing game.
Kawaan Short Shines
Kawaan Short is the best defensive player on the Purdue team and is one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten.
The 6’3” 310 lb. DT leads the team with 6.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss.
He must live in the WMU backfield for their defense to have any chance of stopping the Broncos aerial attack.
He, along with the rest of the defense, must sack Alex Carder at least five times and knock him down repeatedly to have a chance at winning.
Broncos Win First Game
The WMU Broncos are winless in four bowl appearances with their last coming in the 2008 Texas Bowl, where they lost to the Rice Owls, 38-14.
This is a huge game for the Broncos from a recruiting standpoint. If they can notch their first bowl win, it will go a long way in luring in-state recruits away from other Michigan schools.
In the end, the Broncos get it done against the Purdue Boilermakers and win their first bowl game 37-24.
Big Day for Bill Cubit
This day will stand out among Bill Cubit’s other coaching milestones as he’s going to lead the WMU Broncos to their first bowl win in school history.
It doesn’t get much bigger than that for a coach or his players at a lesser-known program such as theirs.
Winning this game will be just the start for coach Cubit, who should garner interest from bigger programs.
Long Day for Danny Hope
This has the makings of a big day for Danny Hope and his Purdue Boilermakers. He has the chance to get Purdue’s first bowl win since it beat Central Michigan 51-48 in 2007 in what was then the Motor City bowl.
It’s been a tough road for Purdue football since then and beating WMU is a great step back in the right direction.
Unfortunately it won’t happen this year as WMU’s offense will just be too much for Purdue to handle.
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Brian can also be found at Out of My League, where he compiles fantasy football rankings each week.