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Purdue University

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College football preview: Western Michigan at Purdue

When: Noon today

Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette

TV: ESPNU

Radio: 1380 AM, 1140 AM

On the Web: To watch a video preview, go to “Boiling Point” at www.journalgazette.net

3 matchups to watch

Darrell Hazell vs. P.J. Fleck: The head coaches won’t be suiting up, but this game is vital for both after 1-11 debut seasons. Fleck managed to sign the highest-rated MAC recruiting class in history in February, according to Rivals.com. Hazell’s first full recruiting class ranked 72nd – 13 spots lower than the Broncos – and second to last in the Big Ten. Still, there’s optimism surrounding the program. Youth at nearly every position is being sold as building blocks for the future.

Purdue defense vs. Western Michigan offense: Chances are, Western Michigan will strike at a vulnerable secondary. Homestead grad Zach Terrell has a big arm, and Purdue is missing safety Taylor Richards, who’s suspended the first two games. Safety Landon Feichter is out for the first half stemming from a targeting suspension in the 2013 finale against Indiana.

Purdue running backs vs. Western Michigan run defense: Only five teams were worse than Western Michigan’s 118th-ranked rush defense last season. The Broncos surrendered 3,000 rushing yards, 35 points per game and tallied a nation-worst seven sacks. But the Purdue offensive line, which is returning two starters from a unit that allowed a Big Ten-most 32 sacks, doesn’t strike fear into opponents. If the ground game becomes a threat, it creates opportunities for QB Danny Etling.

Prediction: Purdue 30, Western Michigan 20

krowland@jg.net

– Kyle Rowland, The Journal Gazette

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