LSU vs Purdue

LSU vs Purdue

Purdue and LSU come into the 2023 Citrus Bowl with many questions and holes on their respective rosters. The team that can respond quickly to those questions clearly will win the game. As we look at LSU vs Purdue in Florida on Monday, we take a look at the two conference runner-ups.

2023 Cheez-It Citrus Bowl

Monday, October 2nd; 1pm eastern


Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Florida


Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue has a larger and wider assortment of changes and challenges coming into the game. The Boilermakers finished the season 8-5, and 6-3 in the Big 10 West. They averaged 410 yards per game. Quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for more than 3,700 and 28 touchdowns for Purdue this season. But he has played his last game for the Boilermakers. O’Connell has been carrying a heavy personal burden as his brother died in the days leading up to the conference championship game against Michigan. He has opted out of the bowl game to take family time and to consider what is next in his football future.

Purdue also has its best receiver. Charlie Jones, as well as tight end Payne Durham and cornerback Cory Trice, are sitting out the game as they prepare to move on to the NFL. Jones has the school record with 1,361 receiving yards on 110 catches with 12 touchdowns.

Coaches and Quarterbacks

Most notably Purdue is going to be without its head coach. Jeff Brohm has taken the opportunity to coach at his alma mater and move on to Louisville. Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters has been named as the new head coach, but he will not take over until after the bowl game. For the Citrus Bowl, Brian Brohm, who has been the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach will stay on to coach the team before joining his brother in Louisville.

Austin Burton is expected to be at quarterback for Purdue. He is a 6th-year grad transfer from UCLA and has limited playing time. He will have a run game with him as Devin Mockobee will be playing. He is, amazingly enough, a walk-on who is only 80 yards shy of a 1,000-yard season. His future head coach, Walters, has already committed to putting him on scholarship when he takes over the team.

Burton is also getting tutored by a special coaching consultant. Purdue hall of fame quarterback Drew Brees has joined the staff in a short role during the coaching transition, working with Burton and the offense as well as marketing the program for recruiting purposes.

The Boilermakers do expect to have most of their defense intact, minus Trice. It is a unit that is 39th in the country in total defense, giving up just under 350 yards per game. It struggled against the run in the latter part of the season, allowing more than five yards per carry to Indiana and Michigan.

LSU Tigers

The Bayou Bengals may or may not have the running game to threaten Purdue. It is likely to be ball-carrying by committee for the bowl game with Josh Williams, Noah Cain, and John Emery Jr. Williams is the leading running back rusher on the team with 532 yards and six touchdowns.

Of course, the most dangerous running weapon in the team is quarterback Jayden Daniels. He has 818 yards and 11 touchdowns rushing the ball. That goes with his 2,774 yards 16 touchdowns passing. The transfer from Arizona State gave the Tigers fans and coaching staff a holiday gift when he announced last week that he would be returning for his final season in Baton Rouge.

He won’t have as many weapons to throw Monday. All-conference receiver Kayshon Boutte declared last week that he will make himself available for the NFL draft and sit out the bowl game. Receiver Jaray Jenkins is also sitting out the game to prepare for the NFL. And tight end Jack Bech went into the transfer portal and will be playing for TCU next year. Sophomore Malik Nabers will get a lot of the work Monday. He had more than 800 receiving yards on the season.

LSU’s defense took some losses in recent days. Defensive ends B.J. Ojulari and Ali Gaye, who combined for 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for a loss, opted out. So did starting nose tackle, Jaquelin Roy.

Much was made of Brian Kelly’s less-than-smooth coaching transition from Notre Dame to LSU. He brought much of it on himself. But there is no denying that the Tigers’ 9-4 record and runner-up position in the SEC answered a lot of the critics. LSU being a nine-and-a-half point favorite is one of the biggest spreads of the current bowl season.