Local product Danny Anthrop, who had about 1,400 receiving yards during his career, played for the Boilermakers from 2012-2015. Throughout the season, Anthrop will offer unique insight for GoldandBlack.com into Purdue, its program and players, and his experiences playing for the Boilermakers.
This week, the Boilers are coming off a big win over the Ohio Bobcats. It was great to see the team capitalize on such a big opportunity to get the season headed in the right direction. The Friday night lights did not disappoint the great showing of Boilermaker fans in Ross-Ade. I was especially impressed by the Ross-Ade Brigade and how they attended in huge numbers and stayed until after the final whistle. (No breakfast club=big student turnout.) They can truly influence a game with a presence like they had during the Boilermaker win.
Looking forward to this week, the Boilers have another opportunity to play a quality opponent on the road. Anytime there is a cross-Power Five matchup, there is a lot on the line. The bulk of these matchups happen during the bowl season, and I know that every year I pull for Big Ten teams to win over the nation's other conferences.
This particular game happens to be against the SEC's Missouri.
I truly believe that the Big Ten is as good or better than any of the other Power Five conferences as a whole. I respect the other leagues and their traditions, talent and fan bases. However in my experience, there are some who speak of the SEC as being head and shoulders above the rest. If that were to be true, then every year the SEC should dominate in cross-conference and bowl games. Since the playoff system was put in place, there has been a winner from the Big Ten, SEC and ACC. So far this year, Michigan has put one win in the column for the Big Ten. It would be real nice to mention a Boiler W in my next conversation with a follower of the Southeastern Conference religion.
After the first two games, a great deal of discussion has been made of the two-quarterback system that has driven the offense up to this point. It's a system that is either loved or hated by fans with little in between. I think both David and Eli could start just about anywhere in the country. David led the conference in passing last season. He's cool under pressure and can play in a variety of ways. David also has the respect of the team as a captain. Eli has a laser-guided rocket for an arm and can make throws that few quarterbacks can.
I got to know Elijah really well while we went through the ACL rehabilitation process together. He tore his ACL fairly close to when I did mine. We enjoyed many months of pain and discomfort together. It would've been a lot harder to go through that without having someone else going through the exact same thing.
I've had the pleasure of knowing David since my sophomore year when he enrolled early. It was probably a week until we were leaving trash cans full of water leaning against each other's dorm room doors in Cary East, then pounding on the door, resulting in a flooded room. Despite the pranking, David and I became good friends. I never thought I would get the opportunity to play with him, but he seized his chance in 2015 and hasn't slowed up. It's been fun seeing him go from tripping and looking like a fool on his first snap of practice to leading the Big Ten in passing.
In this discussion of QBs, I can't forget about Jared Sparks, who can be a very real threat in the passing game but will force teams to play to contain his running ability. I loved the decision Coach Brohm made to use Jared's offensive package in the game Friday. Purdue has a dangerous "Wildcat" package because instead of using a RB or WR, they can use Jared, who is just as athletic but can sling the ball around well. Not only was it successful, but it will force every opposing team the rest of the season to spend time preparing to stop him.
I believe the quarterback competition is healthy for the team. A lot of the success or failure of a two-QB system rides on the character and personality of the guys involved. Fortunately for Purdue, you can't get much better people for the situation. You saw David bounce back and have a heck of a game and take care of the ball well. (Side note: Are we even surprised David was the QB on the trick play? The guy can't go to a social event without pulling his magic cards out.) Elijah also had a clean game.
I don't know how the situation will play out for the quarterback tandem, but I trust this staff and that their decision will be the right one. Both guys make a good case to be "the guy," which is why we are seeing them both on the field.
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