Staff Predictions: Owls look to bounce back at Purdue

This is FAU’s first encounter with Purdue in program history.


Chardley Zetrenne

Jacob Merrifield celebrating after recovering a fumble thrown by UCF on Sep. 17, 2022.

FAU heads out to West Lafayette, Ind., to take on Purdue University for a tough road matchup.

The Owls hope to recover from their disappointing 40-14 home loss to the University of Central Florida, looking for their first win on the road this season.

According to ESPN, Purdue stands as the 17.5-point favorite over FAU, who seeks to end non-conference play on a winning note.

The University Press Sports Staff takes their picks after going 4-0 last week.

Cameron Priester – Sports Editor (2-2)

In a perfect world, this would be a “get right” game for FAU, to clean some things up before they end their non-conference schedule. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a perfect world, and instead, they’re playing arguably the most talented roster they’ll see all year. 

Purdue sports a high-powered passing attack led by senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who threw 39 completions for 424 yards and three touchdowns in their loss to Syracuse last Saturday. 

The Boilermakers also have a solid offensive line, which will not make getting pressure on O’Connell any easier for the Owls’ depleted defensive line. 

The offense needs to keep the ball on the ground. Not only is junior running back Larry McCammon III on pace for a career-best season, but running the ball will control the clock and leave fewer opportunities for turnovers. 

However, the Owls have yet to prove they can do this for four quarters against a formidable opponent. 

Prediction: Purdue 42, FAU 17

Richard Pereira – News Editor (3-1)

FAU needs to end non-conference play with a respectable record heading into the matchup against Purdue.

After a scorching start to the season, graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry slowed down against UCF. He threw for just 108 passing yards on 13-of-29 completions, his least efficient game this season.

For FAU’s offense to be strong against Purdue’s defense, the team needs Perry to have a bounceback performance. If he can be the quarterback who ranked near the top of the country in touchdowns and passing yards prior to the UCF game, the Owls have a decent shot at winning.

The Owls need to keep an eye on Purdue’s offense, which currently averages 38.7 points per game as it’s good for ranking 35th in the country.

A key piece to the Purdue offense is quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who has a passing game meant to irritate opposing defenses. He throws for over 333 yards a night, making him one of the best passers in the country. If FAU can make quick defensive stops to prevent him from throwing the ball frequently, the team would be capable of keeping the game close.

Expect FAU to be better on both sides of the field, but Purdue’s offense will be too much to handle in the end.

Prediction: Purdue 33, FAU 24

Trey Avant – Staff Writer (3-1)

Led by quarterback Aidan O’Connell, Purdue is ranked 6th in the nation in passing offense with 359.3 passing yards per game.

Purdue’s offense is largely one-dimensional, focusing heavily on moving the ball through the air. Unfortunately, FAU struggles mightily defending the pass. 

FAU ranks 112th in the nation in passing yards allowed, currently giving up 275.8 passing yards per game.

O’Connell is going to light FAU up if the defense continues to play this poorly. It does not help that last season’s road woes appear to be spilling into this season.

Defensively, Purdue is not great and that is a weakness FAU can exploit. FAU has a well-balanced offense with a solid offensive line. This makes it harder to predict what FAU will do on offense.

Similar to last week’s game against UCF, FAU has the offensive capabilities to keep the game close going into halftime but expect Purdue to make the necessary adjustments in the second half to pull away from FAU.

Prediction: Purdue 31, FAU 14

Kevin Garcia – Staff Writer (2-1)

The Owls looked good for about a quarter and a half against UCF last week. The momentum gained against Southeastern Louisiana is all but gone; with that being said, Purdue will be another tough test. 

Purdue is certainly not a powerhouse football program by any means, but they possess more talent than FAU. Given their talents, the Owls are more than capable of winning this game, especially if graduate quarterback N’Kosi Perry has a bounce-back performance. 

Purdue is in a conference with Ohio State University and Michigan, so their level of completion is simply higher than FAU’s. With an average of 38 points per contest, Purdue boasts a high-octane offense led by quarterback Aidan O’Connell.

Limiting O’Connell’s impact on the game will be a major key to success for the Owls. O’Connell is more of a pocket passer, which FAU has fared well against in comparison to mobile quarterbacks. 

FAU’s defense will have to step up after looking overwhelmed against UCF, which is unlikely given what this team has shown us. A disappointing blowout is expected at Indiana, as this is evident by the Vegas line of 17.5 in Purdue’s favor. 

Prediction: Purdue 42, FAU 17

For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet the staff:  Cameron Priester (@PriesterCameron), Richard Pereira (@Rich26Pereira), and Trey Avant (@TreyAvant3), and Kevin Garcia (@Kevingar658)