Since taking over for Joe Tiller at Purdue, Danny Hope has struggled against the Mid-American Conference. In fact, he owns a better record against Ohio State (2-1) than he does against the MAC (2-2). Purdue has lost a game to a MAC school in each of the past two seasons, but this was the first season in which they did not have a MAC opponent since 1998. That was until it was announced they would played Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
The Broncos are 0-2 all-time against the boilermakers, losing 28-24 in their last meeting in 2002. The only meeting before that was a 28-13 win for the Boilermakers in 1993, when Western Michigan finished 7-3-1. that was Purdue's only win that season.
SB Nation's Hammer & Rails seems fairly confident in a Purdue victory if the boilermakers can slow down a prolific Western Michigan passing game:
The strength of their defense is clearly the passing game, while the run defense is lacking. Therefore, we should definitely play to our offensive strength and run the ball. Their offensive strength is the passing game, while we haven't allowed a 300 yard passer since Middle Tennessee State. Their running game is hardly a threat, so expect a lot of nickel looks as we try to slow them through the air.
Purdue did find out yesterday that one of its top receivers, sophomore O.J. Ross, would possibly be suspended for the bowl game. Ross was suspended indefinitely for violating team rules, but his status for the bowl game was unknown. Ross has 33 catches for 356 yards and 3 TDs this season.