WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Vanderbilt and Purdue will meet for the first time since 1942 when the Commodores travel to West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday afternoon. Both teams are still in search of a win after opening their seasons with losses in entirely different fashion.
TV: Noon ET, Big Ten Network LINE: Purdue -7.5
Vanderbilt, which holds a 2-0 series lead over the Boilermakers, opened the season at home with an SEC contest and lost to third-ranked Georgia, 30-6, while Purdue twice blew 17-point leads in the second half of a 34-31 loss at Nevada. Vanderbilt fell behind 21-0 in the first 22 minutes against the Bulldogs and managed just a pair of Ryley Guay field goals while getting outgained, 479-225. As tough as that loss was, it paled in comparison to the one suffered by the Boilermakers in Reno, Nev., where they committed five turnovers and lost on a 56-yard field goal as time expired by walk-on freshman placekicker Brandon Talton. "Our players and coaches understand that we have to do a much better job," Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said his his Monday morning news conference. "That much has been communicated."
ABOUT VANDERBILT (0-1)
The game will be a homecoming for quarterback Riley Neal, a grad transfer from Ball State who is from Yorktown, Ind., about a 100-mile drive from the Purdue campus. Neal finished 14-of-25 for 85 yards against a Georgia defense expected to be one of the best in the nation and might have done better if not for six bad center snaps that disrupted plays and and the team's quick-passing offense. Senior running back Ke'Shawn Vaughn, who rushed for 1,244 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2018, got off to a solid start rushing for 74 yards on 15 carries while also catching a team-best three passes for 24 more yards.
ABOUT PURDUE (0-1)
Senior quarterback Elijah Sindelar completed 34-of-52 passes for 423 yards and four touchdowns but also threw two second-half interceptions that helped key the Wolf Pack's comeback. All-American wide receiver Rondale Moore had 11 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown but also fumbled a punt that set up a Nevada field goal. Sophomore Zander Horvath led the ground game with 66 yards on 19 carries and also caught three passes for 21 yards while linebacker Markus Bailey led the defense with 10 tackles.
1. Vanderbilt WR Kalija Lipscomb and TE Jared Pinkney, a pair of All-SEC performers who combined for 137 catches and 16 touchdowns last season, totaled just five catches for 19 yards against Georgia.
2. Moore has eight 100-yard receiving games and 13 touchdown receptions in 14 career contests.
3. Vanderbilt won its only previous trip to West Lafayette, 3-0, in 1941 under second-year head coach Red Sanders. The Commodores' offensive line coach was another College Football Hall of Famer, Paul "Bear" Bryant.
PREDICTION: Vanderbilt 31, Purdue 27