A whole lot of emotion will funnel into Northwestern’s last home game of the year — which comes on Senior Day, with a newly instituted head coach and with bowl eligibility on the line. Can the Wildcats meet the challenge and finally win two games in a row? Our staffers weigh in.
Iggy Dowling: Purdue 16, Northwestern 10
This isn’t grounded in logic whatsoever, because all logic is just out the window now. This alternating series of results knows no bounds, and Northwestern will find some way to play a weird game that will send off Ryan Field in a way more fitting than anyone can possibly dream up.
Bradley Locker: Northwestern 33, Purdue 20
Iggy is right about the completely bizarre phenomenon of Northwestern’s alternating win-loss streak. But, every curse has its remedy: NU’s last winning streak involved the team beating Purdue in 2020, so this Saturday could very well be the garlic clove. From a football standpoint, the Wildcats’ offense should hum pretty well against a defense surrendering almost 400 yards per game, and 31.1 points per game. If Northwestern’s D contains Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy Jr., I think a catalyzed bunch wins its sixth game under David Braun and closes old Ryan Field with a note of happiness.
David Gold: Northwestern 31, Purdue 17
While there is some black magic going on with Northwestern’s alternating win-loss streak, I think the ‘Cats snap this streak just like they snapped their near-1,100-day road losing streak. With Ben Bryant back under center, the Wildcats are going to air it out against a Boilermakers that allow a Big Ten worst 245 passing yards a game. While I think Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy Jr. will get going for Purdue, I feel the ‘Cats’ passing attack will be too much for the Boilermakers to handle.
Ethan Segall: Northwestern 24, Purdue 14
Why is Purdue favored by three points? I genuinely can’t figure it out. This Northwestern defense is absolutely humming right now and Purdue’s defense has allowed 30 or more in four straight. Not to mention, it’s Northwestern’s senior day and there should be some extra juice in the home locker room with the chance to become bowl eligible. I think Ben Bryant gets it done against a team that is last in the Big Ten in scoring defense, sending Ryan Field off the right way and locking Northwestern into a December bowl game.
Miguel Muñoz: Northwestern 20, Purdue 17
I hope I won’t be biting my tongue come Saturday, but give me the ‘Cats. Although many might be expecting a major letdown in our final home game of the season, Northwestern looks like a revitalized team after that major win over Wisconsin in Madison. With Ben Bryant finally back, the offensive woes, which have plagued Northwestern for much of their season, will be much less of a concern, especially against a 3-7 Purdue team that’s giving up the most points per game in the Big Ten (31.1). We’re going bowling!
Ashleigh Provoost: Northwestern 24, Purdue 20
Northwestern is playing a conference matchup against a team with a worse overall record. That hasn’t happened in a while. Oh, and Braun’s interim tag was just removed. I just have one thing to say: bring on the bowl.
Ascher Levin: Northwestern 24, Purdue 17
Following a dominant performance against Wisconsin, the ‘Cats return home for Senior Day against Purdue. The Boilermakers are coming off their best offensive performance of the season, putting up 49 points against Minnesota. However, before last week, Purdue had lost four games in a row and six of its last seven. PU’s offense is led by quarterback Hudson Card and running back Devin Mockobee. The Boilermakers ran for 353 yards last week, so it will be important for Northwestern to stop the run. Offensively, with Ben Bryant back, the offense looked sensational in the first half last week. Purdue has given up an average of 35.75 points per game in its last four games, and Northwestern will look to continue its momentum on offense. With this most likely being the last game at the old Ryan Field, I have the ‘Cats coming out with the win.
Brendan Preisman: Northwestern 23, Purdue 20
Everything seems to be going Northwestern’s way. A dominant road win over Wisconsin, David Braun officially becoming head coach and a Purdue team that’s dead last in the Big Ten in scoring defense. And oh yeah, it’s probably the last game at the old Ryan Field. Previous Northwestern teams would be primed for a letdown, but this year’s iteration feels different. The key to this game will be the Northwestern offensive line: the Wildcats have given up 41 sacks this year, last in the conference, and Purdue is third in the Big Ten in sacks with 28. If the line can hold up, Ben Bryant should have his third straight completed game with over 190 passing yards. The defense, which has given up more than 20 points just once since October began, will continue that trend, and that should be enough to give Northwestern the win. The tag was removed, and hopefully Ryan Field’s goalposts will eb as well.
7-3: Bradley Locker, Natalie Wells, David Gold
7-2: Brendan Preisman
6-4: Iggy Dowling, Ascher Levin
6-3: Ethan Segall
6-0: Noah Poser
5-1: Patrick Winograd
3-2: John Olsen, Ashleigh Provoost
2-2: Adam Beck
2-0: Sammy Krimstein
1-1: Miguel Muñoz
1-0: Jeremy Song
0-2: John Ferrara