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Purdue
vs. Marshall
When: 3:15 p.m. Saturday
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 1380 AM, 92.7 FM

Freshman corner benefiting Boilers

Williams

Marshall has the top-ranked passing offense in the country.

Purdue defensive back Frankie Williams is looking forward to the challenge.

“Any team that throws the ball a lot is an exciting week,” Williams said during a phone interview after Tuesday’s practice.

Purdue (2-1) returns from a bye to face Marshall (2-2). The Boilermakers’ final nonconference game of the regular season starts at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Marshall is averaging 383.5 passing yards per game. Purdue has been strong against the pass. The Boilermakers are 27th in nation in passing defense, giving up 184.3 yards per game.

Williams has played a major role.

The freshman cornerback is second on the team with 14 tackles, has an interception and a pass breakup.

“Frankie is an awfully good player. He’s a guy that we redshirted last season but could have helped our team last season, and I’m not surprised to see him doing so well already this year,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “He is on special teams at times, he has lined up as a No. 1 at the corner position, and he’s also available as a nickel back in certain situations.

“We expect a lot from him. We have him prepared and in a position to help our team in a lot of different ways. He is a high-energy guy, a lot of fun to be around.”

The 5-foot-9, 186-pound Williams, from Tampa, Fla., made the most of his redshirt season.

“I learned good things come to those that wait and hard work will pay off,” Williams said. “I learned how to develop more as a cornerback, from coverage to run support. How to watch film and really detail my craft.”

He made an impact during his first game, finishing tied for the team-lead with six tackles in the 48-6 victory against Eastern Kentucky in the season opener.

The performance earned Williams Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.

“It felt really good. It had been awhile since I had been on the field. Words can not describe how it felt,” Williams said. “(The freshman of the week award) is just another accolade. It doesn’t mean anything if I don’t repeat it.

“I just try to maintain consistency.”

Williams picked off the first pass of his career on Sept. 15 in the 54-16 victory over Eastern Michigan.

“As soon as I saw (the quarterback) lock his eyes on the No. 2 receiver, I just broke,” Williams said.

Hope called Williams “a high-character guy. He is a character in a lot of ways, so he brings a lot to the table to our football team along with his great play.”

Williams said the description fits.

“I’m full of energy,” Williams said. “I love the game, and I play with a lot of passion and excitement.”

lpope@jg.net

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