The 3-6 Purdue Boilermakers need a lot to go right for them down the home stretch if they hope to become bowl eligible. After three straight losses, the Boilermakers face a much easier string of games, but still need to be rather flawless to qualify for a Bowl game. Adding insult to injury, on Monday, head coach Darrell Hazell announced that the team would be without top wide receiver Danny Anthrop – a major blow to the team’s already slim chances.
With the Boilermakers trailing 28-7, coach Hazell was looking for a special teams boost and decided to put Anthrop in for his third punt return of the season. Despite a 28-yard return, the decision severely backfired as the team’s leading receiver suffered a torn ACL at the end of the play.
“You feel so bad for him,” Hazell said. “The guy plays so hard and brings so much energy and passion to the field, practice field, game field every single day. That’s what makes him a special guy. He’s a great competitor and absolutely loves the game.”
Through nine games, Anthrop had caught 38 passes for a team leading 616 yards. The junior wide out was a key member of the Boilermakers offense, stretching the field against opposing defenses. Not only will the injury affect the remaining games, but Anthrop will miss most of this coming spring. That time of year is typically used to get stronger and build chemistry with the quarterback, but without Anthrop in the mix the loss could leak implications into next season.
Without their top target, Purdue could face serious trouble with games against Wisconsin, Northwestern and Indiana. The weekend is by far the most difficult of the three games, and if the Boilermakers are able to escape the Badgers with a win, they have a serious shot at bowl eligibility.
*Section Photo credit to Mike Deak, InkFreeNews; Featured Photo (above) credit to Michael Takeda, Purdue Exponent