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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Motor City Bowl Preview

The first bowl game featuring a Big Ten team will kick-off at 7:30 tonight at Ford Field in Detroit. The Purdue Boilermakers (7-5) and Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5) will face off in the Motor City Bowl on ESPN. The schools met earlier this season with Purdue notching a 45-22 win at home in Week 3. Since then, Purdue struggled in Big Ten conference play going just 3-5, while the Chippewas finished 6-1 and earned a 2nd straight MAC Championship.

We previewed Central Michigan last week and that preview can be found
here. Now let's take a look at the Boilermakers.

Purdue lost five of their last seven games, all against Big Ten opponents. None of the losses hurt more than their season-ending defeat to in-state rival Indiana. Purdue had rallied from a 21-point deficit late in the second half, but lost the Old Oaken Bucket to the Hoosiers on a last-minute field goal.

The Boilermakers will still come to Detroit with some of best offensive talent the Big Ten has to offer. Quarterback Curtis Painter tossed 26 touchdown passes against only nine interceptions this year. Tight end Dustin Keller and running back Cory Sheets excel in the red zone, and Dorien Bryant might be the best receiver in the entire conference.

Purdue’s defense struggled for much of the season and especially against their other Michigan-based opponents. Both Michigan and Michigan State beat the Boilers scoring 48 points in the process. One bright spot on defense is Purdue's ability to cause turnovers, forcing 27 of them in its 12 games this year.

The Boilermakers are hungry to end their three-game bowl losing streak tonight in Detroit, while the Chippewas look to repeat as Motor City Bowl Champions. Central Michigan defeated Middle Tennessee State 31-14 to end last season.