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The “cannon” is at stake against Purdue

Purdue University’s football team comes to Memorial Stadium with several issues at stake. Purdue currently holds the Cannon Trophy after a five game winning streak over the Fighting Illini. However, both teams bring a 4–3 record to the October 30 showdown. As injuries plague this resilient team (an astonishing 57 out of 70 Boilermakers saw action at Columbus), Purdue hopes to get back to basics this Saturday, with its potent ground attack (178YPG).

Purdue’s offense will attempt to get its locomotive back on the tracks. Prior to their loss at Ohio State, the Purdue rushing game had averaged 200+ YPG for 5 consecutive weeks. The Boilermaker offense is led by redshirt freshman #15 QB Rob Henry (a game time decision due to a bad laceration suffered last week against Ohio St.) who leads the team in rushing with 5.5 yards per carry. The Purdue ground attempt is complemented by RBs #25 Dan Dierking and #1 Keith Carlos. The Purdue offense balances their running game with a average passing attack of 150 YPG with favorite targets; WR #7 Cortez Smith, TE #85 Kyle Adams. The Boilermaker defense is led by DE #94 Ryan Kerrigan dubbed “Superman” by his teammates and ranked 15th in the country with his 2.4 TFL average per game and 0.9 sacks per game. A staunch rush defense led by LB #35 Logan Link and # 3 Dwayne Beckford are only allowing 132 yards per game. The weakness in the Boilermaker defense can be found in the secondary, currently allowing 232+ yards per game. If Illinois is to be successful this Saturday they must exploit this weakness.


The strength of the Illini football team is definitely the defense, which will be challenged to do what it does best: stop the run. The Illinois defense which allows a mere 112 yards per game on the ground, must shut down the Purdue Boilermaker run game and make their offense one-dimensional. With Liuget, Nurse and Buchanan up front the Illini defense proved last week that they are the real deal. A solid line backing core and a much improved secondary accounted for, 4 interceptions last week, 2 of which were returned for touchdowns. The Illini offense must accomplish three things to secure a victory: (1) establish a solid running game (Leshoure 20+ carries), (2) sustain drives by protecting the ball, and (3) win the time of possession battle. I like our chances on Halloween weekend for the Illini to receive a treat of a win, and to keep the Boilermakers on their heels with some fresh tricks.

Will Memorial Stadium be a house of horrors for the Purdue Boilermakers? Amidst the glow of orange, the Illini will have to show their true colors. Will they be treated with the end of a 5 year losing streak and the possession of the glorious cannon? Or will the Boilermakers reveal themselves to be tricksters, robbing the Illini for 6 consecutive years and keeping a death-grip on the cannon?

Legend of the Cannon Trophy

The tradition of the Purdue Cannon began in 1905 when a group of Purdue students brought the cannon to Champaign in hopes of firing it to celebrate Purdue’s impending triumph. However Illinois supporters discovered the cannon and confiscated it before it could ever be fired. Purdue did win the game 29–0, but the cannon never sounded their victory. The cannon was hidden at a farm house in Milford, IL for several years, in 1943, it was suggested that the cannon be used as a trophy to be passed back and forth between these longstanding rivals. Maintenance is shared by Illini Pride and the Tomahawk Service of Purdue.

The nickname ‘Boilermakers’ can be traced to 1891 football game when Purdue defeated rival Wabash College 44–0. An article in the Crawfordsville Daily Argus News headlined “Slaughter of Innocents: Wabash Snowed Completely Under by the Burly Boiler Makers from Purdue.” In the early years, the Purdue University football team was called everything from ‘pumpkin-shuckers’ to ‘cornfield sailors’ to ‘blacksmiths’ to ‘railsplitters’, but in the end it was ‘Boilermakers’ that struck a chord with the school and fans alike.

Prep playoffs round 1: VG Blue Devils, Tri-County Titans, Tuscola Warriors, Westville Tigers, Clifton Central Comets, Unity Rockets, SJO Spartans, STM Sabers, Centennial Chargers, and Danville Vikings.

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