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Northwestern vs. Purdue pregame notes

What to watch today in West Lafayette.

Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

Here's what to look out for as Northwestern takes on Purdue.

- It's warmer than it has been (mid-40s) but it's rainy and very windy. This probably won't be a day with lots of Jack Mitchell field goals.

- Miles Shuler, Stephen Buckley, Jack Konopka and Traveon Henry are all out today. Shuler and Buckley have been out for a few games, but the other two are new. Godwin Igwebuike should fill in just fine for Henry, but not having Konopka hurts. He'd been playing better than Eric Olson recently at tackle, and NU needs all the help it can get on the offensive line.

- Solomon Vault is back today. He's likely to be on kick return, according to an NU official.

- There is basically nobody here. It's half an hour before kickoff, but I doubt many more people will come. This will likely be a smaller attendance than any crowd NU has played in front of all year (regardless of what they say the announced attendance is).

- Northwestern needs to win this game to make a bowl game, so that's one reason to watch.

- Purdue is very bad at run defense. Northwestern needs to take advantage. Look for Justin Jackson to get a lot of carries (and yards).

- Purdue actually runs the ball pretty well. NU needs to seal the edge. If the Wildcats can do that, then they should be fine, and they should be able to come up with some turnovers, as well.

- Songs about colleges and college football are always a bad idea. Purdue's was the worst in history.

- Craig Middlebrooks is one of the best characters on Parks and Rec (which is a show you should all watch). The guy who plays him, Billy Eichner, went to Northwestern. But in the show, he went to Purdue.