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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, November 04, 2017 1:00 am

Boilers, Illini hoping to stop losing streaks

JEFF WASHBURN | Associated Press

Purdue vs. Illinois

When: Noon today

Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: 1380 AM, 1480 AM

WEST LAFAYETTE – An overtime victory in 2016 at Illinois allowed Purdue to stay out of last place in the Big Ten Conference.

The Boilermakers (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) are hoping for a similar result today with a visit from the Illini (2-6, 0-5).

For Purdue coach Jeff Brohm, three straight losses – an eight-point loss at Wisconsin, a two-point loss at Rutgers and a one-point loss to Nebraska – have him eager to win for the first time since Oct. 8 against Minnesota.

“When you lose close games, it's disappointing and frustrating,” he said. “You have to figure out what your players do best and put them in position to win. We're not there yet. I have been in these positions before. We can't just say, 'Here we go again.'”

Illinois has lost six straight games, ranks last in the Big Ten in scoring, last in rushing offense and last in rushing defense as the Illini have played a lot of underclassmen.

Like Purdue with David Blough and Elijah Sindelar, Illinois has played two quarterbacks in Jeff George Jr. and Cam Thomas.

“In their situation, one guy is more of a runner, and the other is a passer,” Brohm said. “They have been in some tight games, and others have not come out the way they wanted. We have been in the same situation. But we know Illinois will come out hungry and ready to play.”

Illinois coach Lovie Smith is just as eager to find a win as the end of the season nears. The Illini have played better of late, losing 24-10 at home to No. 4 Wisconsin on Saturday a week after losing by a touchdown to Minnesota.

“We improved in a lot of areas in the Wisconsin game. But it was not good enough. Guys did a lot good defensively. You move on,” Smith said.

“This is a good Purdue team. They beat us in a tough one last year. Their quarterback is back, as are a lot of their skilled defensive guys. They have good personnel, but it has been too long since our guys got a win.”