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NCF Nation: Brandon Cottom

Boilermakers run away with easy win

September, 15, 2012
Purdue's quarterback situation might frustrate and confuse its fans at times, but the Boilers are pretty good elsewhere.

In fact, they might be the best team in the Leaders Division.

Purdue rode its run game and its defense to a 54-16 win against Eastern Michigan, improving to 2-1 before a bye week. The Boilers forced three turnovers and didn't allow an offensive touchdown, until the fourth quarter following up their effort at Notre Dame with another stout defensive performance.

Facing an Eastern Michigan team that entered the game ranked 118th nationally in rush defense, Purdue took full advantage with its group of ball carriers and racked up 384 rush yards in the victory. Starting running back Akeem Shavers set the tone with a 40-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. Brandon Cottom later broke free for an 87-yard scoring dash. The Boilers finished with 184 rush yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries in the first half (9.7 ypc), surging to a 33-9 lead. Although Akeem Hunt's 51-yard touchdown midway through the second quarter was technically a reception, he did almost all of the work with his legs. Hunt (5 touches, 156 yards, 2 TDs) had a huge day, showing why he's such a big-play threat for Purdue.

Starting quarterback Caleb TerBush recovered from a shaky start that included a pick-six to complete 16-of-25 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns, both to senior Antavian Edison. With Robert Marve (knee) sidelined at least for a while, the Boilers will lean on TerBush, who has to limit his turnovers when Big Ten play kicks off.

The run game did what it was supposed to against a bad defense, but Purdue's most encouraging element was the play of its own D. The line is one of the Big Ten's best, and several playmakers stepped up in the secondary, including Frankie Williams and Josh Johnson, who both had interceptions.

Purdue wraps up non-league play Sept. 29 against Marshall before beginning a season-defining stretch -- Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio State -- to open Big Ten play. This much is known: the Boilers are serious contenders in a very winnable Leaders Division.

Purdue recruiting analysis

February, 3, 2011

The class

Recruits: 16 (12 high school seniors, three players enrolled early and one walk-on received a scholarship)

Top prospects: Athlete Raheem Mostert could be a game changer for Purdue, which has found some playmakers from the state of Florida under Danny Hope. Another Floridian, receiver Frankie Williams, should bolster the Boilermakers' passing attack. Pennsylvania product Armstead Williams ranks as the nation's No. 24 outside linebacker according to ESPN Recruiting.

Needs met: Running back depth became such a problem in 2010 that Purdue had to move some of its young receiver into the backfield. This class should address the running back spot as Purdue brings in Akeem Shavers and Akeem Hunt. The Boilers also added to the tight end and linebacker spots, two positions that need boosts.

Analysis: A small class that lacks big names might not get too many folks excited, but Hope has a formula that needs some time to work. Purdue found some athletes this year like Mostert, Frankie Williams and Brandon Cottom. This might not be a difference-making class, but it addresses several position groups and could get Purdue back to making bowl games on a consistent basis again.

ESPN Recruiting grade: C