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Sep 23, 2022 12:39 pm

Passing game to take center stage when Purdue hosts FAU

Two of the country’s top passers potentially will meet when Aidan O’Connell and the Boilermakers host N’Kosi Perry and the Florida Atlantic Owls in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday.

For Purdue (1-2), O’Connell has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,000 yards, which ranks fourth in FBS. Perry is sixth with 987 yards, having completed 57.7 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for the Owls (2-2).

ESPN reported Friday that O’Connell will be a game-time decision due to an unspecified injury. UCLA transfer Austin Burton is the backup for the Boilermakers.

O’Connell threw for 424 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 32-29 loss at Syracuse last week.

His favorite target seems to be Charlie Jones, who has amassed 474 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Jones’ 32 receptions are at least 19 more than any other Boilermaker, and it’s also the most catches by any receiver in the FBS so far this season. Jones — a transfer from Iowa — has already topped his totals from last season in scoring, yards and catches.

“Whenever you’re playing a team that can throw the ball, you want to get the rush to them,” FAU coach Willie Taggart said. “You have to get pressure and make him uncomfortable. They have a really good QB, he’s an NFL prospect, they have good receivers, big tight ends, and they do a good job of having plays that complement each other.”

Perry is coming off his worst game of the season. He went 13-for-29 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown in a 40-14 loss against visiting Central Florida on Saturday.

He is complemented by Larry McCammon III, who ranks eighth nationally with 394 rushing yards on 54 carries, an average of 7.3 yards per attempt.

One could argue that Purdue could easily be undefeated. It squandered fourth-quarter leads in losses to Penn State (35-31) and Syracuse, with a 56-0 win over Indiana State sandwiched between the defeats.

“We have to get better at containing the quarterback run, and that will be a challenge again for us this week,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said.

This will be the first meeting between the schools.

–Field Level Media

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