WEEK 3: Purdue vs. TCU
It’s been a tough start to the season for the Boilermakers and the news only got worse when senior quarterback Elijah Sindelar – who was leading the nation in passing yards – was ruled out prior to the TCU game with injury. Purdue struggled much of the night offensively against an impressive Horned Frog defense, but the Boilermakers did find tight end Brycen Hopkins for several big plays that helped keep the game competitive in the first half. Hopkins – who’s an athletic player with good quickness at the tops of routes – displayed his receiving skills while leading the team with four receptions for 77 yards, providing a much-needed spark for the offense on several occasions.
For TCU, this is an imposing-looking team that has a lot of NFL bodies on its roster. On offense, the Horned Frogs have a two-headed monster in the backfield with seniors Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua, who both topped the 100-yard mark on Saturday. Both RBs are well put together and Anderson in particular showed consistent vision to find open lanes while rattling off several explosive runs on the night. Olonilua – who looks like he could easily be a starting defensive end with his 6-3, 240-pound frame – is a load to bring down and has good body-lean as a rusher to consistently fall forward for additional yardage. I would like to see Olonilua get north/south a little bit quicker to truly use his commanding size, but both rushers should have opportunities to play at the next level.
Up front, right tackle Lucas Niang is a player that I’ve been waiting to see live as the 2.5-year starter is a specimen who understands how to play with his length and utilize his size to wall-off defenders. I was not disappointed with Niang or with left tackle Anthony McKinney opposite of him, as they paved the way for Horned Frogs rushers to total 346 yards!
On defense for TCU, the trend continues in the secondary with good looking DBs Innis Gaines (strong safety), Vernon Scott (free safety) and Jeff Gladney (CB). All three stand 6-0 or taller, have good arm length, and both safeties eclipse the 200-pound mark. Gladney in particular made a nice read on a play, sinking back from flat responsibility versus a flea flicker and elevating up to make an interception. Both he and Gaines add value on the punt team and did an outstanding job getting downfield twice to down punts inside the 5-yard line.