Reno is the scene for the season opener for the Purdue Boilermakers and Nevada Wolf Pack. Purdue are hoping to play spoiler more often in the Big Ten in 2019. Last season was highlighted by an impressive upset win over Ohio State by a score of 49-20 in a night game in West Lafayette. Purdue just have to learn to play like that on the regular.
In any event, we should expect another upset or two out of Purdue this season. They have enough talent to win games when a powerhouse like Ohio State takes them lightly. If Purdue can try to treat every game like they’re playing Ohio State, then they are going to be in good shape. Purdue’s schedule is relatively easy compared to others in the Big Ten.
They won’t have to play Michigan or Ohio State this year. Their trickiest matchup at the moment looks like Penn State on the road. Vanderbilt and TCU could give them a fight the next two weeks, but Purdue gets them at home in West Lafayette. They also get to play Nebraska at home later in the season, so they have a good opportunity here to finish with a very solid record.
The Purdue have one of, if not, the most dynamic player in the country on their roster. Rondale Moore became a known commodity and opened up the eyes of NFL scouts against Ohio State last year. Moore finished with 12 receptions, 170 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also rushed the ball for 24 yards on two attempts.
Expect to see Moore used in several different ways in 2019. He’s going to be the focal point of the offense, and Purdue is going to do everything to get the ball in his hands. Whether that means it’s screens, jet sweeps, end arounds, short slants, fades, deep posts. You get the point.
What this game comes to do is whether Nevada can limit Moore. They will not shut him down completely, but keep him from having a monster game and they could hang around. Freshman quarterback for Nevada, Carson Strong, must come out firing as well. He doesn’t have it easy against a Big Ten team right out of the gates, but for his sake, at least it’s not on the road. Head below for our free Purdue vs. Nevada pick.
Purdue Boilermakers vs. Nevada Wolf Pack NCAAF Week 1 Betting Odds:
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Purdue vs. Nevada Pick:
The talk around Reno and the Wolf Pack program in the offseason was about Malik Henry. The former Florida State recruit, who was essentially kicked off the team, landed on the show Last Chance U and didn’t become a fan of too many people. A bit of arrogance for a quarterback is good in most cases, but it was all about him on the show.
The frustrating thing about Malik is that he has the talent to excel. However, his worth ethic has been brought into question ever since FSU started recruiting him. We don’t know exactly what happened in training camp, though the starting job did not go to Henry. He did look sharp in the spring game, so apparently it didn’t translate in training camp.
Henry was beat out by a true freshman, Carson Strong. Strong was only recruited by two teams, the other being Iowa State. He comes into college as a 2-star recruit, so there was barely any attention given to Strong. However, credit him for beating out Henry, who everyone assumed was going to be the QB in Week 1. For Purdue last season, they lost a lot of their defense and it ended up being their weakest unit.
In 2019, though, nearly all of their defense is back on the field. Linebacker Markus Bailey could have easily bypassed his senior year and went to the NFL. He will be back and he brings 115 tackles with him from last year. Navon Mosley provides leadership and experience at safety. He’s started every year since his freshman season. In any case, Purdue’s defense is not going backwards and will likely be better in 2019.
Purdue lost David Blough at quarterback, but Elijah Sindelar is a senior and has experience starting. Despite not winning the starting job last season, he could have very well still played, though. At 23, Sindelar brings a lot of experience and leadership with him as well.
With a weapon like Moore in his arsenal, it’s going to be easy on him in 2019. Moore is going to get blanketed by the Nevada defense here. They are going to shade their safeties over to his side continually. Double teaming still may not be enough to contain him, though.
There isn’t one player on the Nevada defense who can hang with Moore. As a result, expect others to spring open for Purdue. There is going to be an open receiver or running back on almost every play. The Wolf Pack keep it interesting for a quarter or two, but expect Purdue to pull away to win by 17-20 Friday night. I took -9 back in June, with -10.5 a solid option as well. The country gets reintroduced to Rondale Moore in Reno here, as he gets his dark horse Heisman campaign off the ground in a big way in Week 1.