Two incredibly exciting offenses are going to be on display in the 2017 Foster Farms Bowl. The Arizona Wildcats will take on the Purdue Boilermakers in what should be one of the more intriguing games on the season’s bowl slate.
Purdue Bowl History
Jeff Brohm could be set for a big payday in the near future. He took over the Purdue football program from Darrell Hazell, who won just nine games in four seasons and failed to bring the Boilermakers to a single bowl game in the process.
The Boilermakers were far from fantastic this year, but 6-6 and a trip to the Foster Farms Bowl is a great accomplishment for a team that hasn’t finished above .500 in the regular season since 2007.
Purdue has only won one bowl game since 2007, and that was the 2011 Little Caesars Bowl.
Arizona Bowl History
Rich Rodriguez was on a really hot seat after going 3-9 last season, but the bottom line is that he’s brought Arizona to five bowl games in six years on the job. Whether he ever ultimately leaves Tucson for greener pastures remains to be seen, but Rich Rod has done about as good of a job as could be expected, including bringing this team to the Fiesta Bowl in 2014.
The Wildcats are a perfect 3-0 in non-BCS/New Year’s Six bowl games under Rodriguez.
Why Purdue Will Win the Foster Farms Bowl
Purdue will look back at this season as one chock full of missed opportunities. The Boilermakers were close to knocking off Louisville, Wisconsin, Rutgers and Nebraska, all games of which were lost by a single score. Sure, the Michigan and Northwestern contests weren’t all that close, but Purdue wasn’t supposed to be all that great this year anyway.
The reason for the improvement? A defense that finished the season No. 17 in America in scoring, allowing 19.3 points per game.
Elijah Sindelar has finally ended the quarterback battle with David Blough that raged for most of this season, and he came on strong in leading Purdue to wins over Iowa and Indiana just to get into the bowl season.
Why Arizona Will Win the Foster Farms Bowl
One could argue that Khalil Tate should have been a finalist for the Heisman Trophy this year. He didn’t put up the numbers of Baker Mayfield, but he certainly changed the fortunes of the Wildcats this season.
After taking over as the starting quarterback on October 7, the Wildcats went on a huge tear, scoring at least 45 points in four straight wins over Colorado, UCLA, Cal and Washington State. Tate slowed down a bit at the end, but he finished his sophomore campaign with 1,289 passing yards and 1,353 rushing yards in essentially just nine games.
Foster Farms Bowl Prediction
Purdue only had to play against two truly mobile quarterbacks all season, first against Louisville then versus Ohio. Both of those games were played in September.
Lamar Jackson amassed 485 yards of total offense against the Boilermakers while Nathan Rourke followed that with 260 total yards.
For as stout as this Purdue defense was this season, it just doesn’t have the speed to keep up with Tate. The Wildcats could hit 40 in this game, and we just don’t see Purdue keeping up with that if they do.
Foster Farms Bowl Pick: Arizona 45, Purdue 28
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