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Ohio State opponent overview: Purdue Boilermakers

By Dan Kadar Published: August 28, 2012
Purdue Marves Last Ch_Kada
In this Nov. 12, 2011 file photo, Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush throws against Ohio State during the second half of an NCAA college football game in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

The college football season is mere days away from beginning and Purdue still doesn't have a starting quarterback. That should say everything that needs to be known about the upcoming Purdue season.

Purdue's quarterback will likely be Caleb TerBush, but Robert Marve could push him for playing time. A season ago TerBush completed 62 percent of his passes with 13 touchdowns and six interceptions. Marve, who transferred in from Miami, earned an injury waiver for a sixth year of eligibility. Rob Henry is even expected to play.

In their Little Caesars Bowl win last season, Purdue may have found a go-to player on offense. Filling in for the injured Ralph Bolden, Akeem Shavers ran for 149 yards and took MVP honors for the game. Bolden is still working himself back from a torn ACL. He led the Boilermakers in rushing last season with 674 yards and six touchdowns.

The team also brings back most of its offensive line from a year ago and adds junior college transfer Devin Smith. Starting wide receivers Gary Bush and O.J. Ross are also back.

Far and away Purdue's best player is defensive tackle Kawann Short. Purdue has had five players taken in the first or second round of the NFL Draft since 2007. Short should be the next in line. He's a powerhouse lineman who is also quick on his feet. Against Ohio State a year go, Short had three sacks.

Next to Short is junior Bruce Gaston. At a squat 6-foot-2, 303 pounds, Gaston can plug the holes while Short hits the gaps. The ends are less impressive. Sophomores Jalani Phillips and Ryan Russell are expected to receive the majority of playing time.

Purdue has an all-conference candidate at linebacker in Dwayne Beckford. The rub is that Beckford was suspended indefinitely on Monday following a drug-related arrest. His replacement could be senior Antwon Higgs or converted quarterback Sean Robinson. The other two linebacker spots are manned by junior Will Lucas and senior Robert Maci.

Purdue's secondary is more settled. Junior cornerback Ricardo Allen was fourth on the team in tackles in 2011. He also had three interceptions. Opposite him is senior Josh Johnson. He was first on the team last season in passes defended. Sophomores Landon Feichter and Taylor Richards are tabbed as the starters at safety.

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