Purdue will try to keep its postseason bowl hopes alive when it visits struggling Illinois on Senior Day in Champaign, Ill. Purdue, which snapped a five-game losing streak last week with a victory at Iowa, needs to beat Illinois on Saturday and then archrival Indiana at home next week to claim bowl eligibility at 6-6. Illinois is in the throws of a disastrous seven-game losing skid, six of which have come in league play, that has sidetracked its first season under coach Tim Beckman. The Illini have not won on Senior Day since 2007 while Purdue looks to win back-to-back Big Ten road games for the first time since 2009.
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, Big Ten Network. LINE: Purdue -6.5
ABOUT PURDUE (4-6, 1-5 Big Ten): Quarterback Robert Marve threw for 266 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Boilermakers' 27-24 victory at Iowa. Marve, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility this season, has had three ACL injuries in his career and is playing with one now. Freshman kicker Paul Griggs kicked a 46-yard field goal as time expired against Iowa and defensive tackle Kawann Short was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after recording four tackles for loss and a sack. Short has 46.5 tackles for loss in his career, which is tied for third in the nation among active FBS players.
ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-8, 0-6 Big Ten): The Fighting Illini are averaging only 10.5 points in six Big Ten games and have scored more than 17 points once in league play. Illinois leads the Big Ten in net punting (38.7) and in holding opponents to third down conversions (31.2 percent). Junior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, who threw four touchdown passes as a freshman in 2010 against Purdue, has thrown four all of this season. Illinois' schedule is the 22nd toughest in the nation as Illini opponents have compiled a record of 45-32.
1. Scheelhaase and former Wisconsin signal caller Brooks Bollinger are the only quarterbacks in Big Ten history to start and lead their teams to bowl wins in their freshman and sophomore years.
2. Purdue is 13-1 over the past four years when it rushes for more than 200 yards in a game. The only loss was two years ago at Toledo, which was coached by current Illini coach Tim Beckman.
3. Five Illini players have been picked in the first round of the NFL draft over the past five years, more than any Big Ten team.
PREDICTION: Purdue 27, Illinois 17