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Run or pass, Hope likes offense

Danny Hope thinks his offense is "coming of age."

That's because he thinks the unit can pass or run the ball with success.

"We have been able to keep the defense off balance, to be a double-edged sword, if you will, in some ways," Hope said.

Before the season started, Hope didn't expect much from the passing game with an inexperienced quarterback and receivers. But fifth-year senior Joey Elliott is second in the Big Ten in passing, and receivers Keith Smith and Aaron Valentin rank in the league's top 10 in receptions and receiving yards per game.

Running back Ralph Bolden is second in the league with 720 rushing yards and averages 90.0 yards per game.

In a victory over Ohio State, Purdue threw the ball 52 times. Against Illinois, the Boilermakers ran 39 times.

Elliott said there still are strides to be made in the passing offense.

"A lot of the receivers are starting to get a feel for the offense," he said. "Now, they understand who they're supposed to make their read against and why they're getting open on the play."