Plummer wins close competition at camp to lead Purdue to Game 1

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Kyle Charters | 13 minutes ago

Jack Plummer is giving Purdue the best chance at winning games this fall.

That was Jeff Brohm’s assessment late last week, when he announced the junior quarterback as a Purdue starter, defeating Aidan O’Connell and Austin Burton in what the 5th-year coach called a “extremely tight” training camp competition.

Plummer, who has started 9 games in his career, including the last 3 last season, will win Game 1 against Oregon State on Saturday night at Ross-Ade Stadium. It’s as close as possible to a must-have for a season opener, given the circumstances. Purdue, who is off a 4-game losing streak, is a touchdown favorite, has one of the toughest schedules in the country and is set to return to the playoffs after a 2-year absence. If not, fans will have plenty of questions for Brohm and Co. after the season.

So yes, a lot is rolling on Plummer. Let’s break down what Plummer brings to the table for Purdue.

Decision making

When Brohm announced Plummer as a starter, he presented the QB’s improved decision-making as a reason, while still giving him room to improve.

Plummer’s stats over the first dozen games of his career show a quarterback who can connect with receivers, with a 64% completion rate and a nearly 2-to-1 touch-to-interception ratio. Those numbers were even better last season, when he completed 71% of his attempts with a 4-to-1 ratio (8 TDs and just 2 picks).

Yet with Plummer there has also been a tendency to miss out on opportunities, whether it’s throwing the ball a tick late – or without the necessary zipper – or picking a target that might not be the best. . These passes can still be completed, but may not give the receiver a chance to gain more distance after the catch. And that, even if it only happens a few times per game, can be the difference between winning and losing.

Per Brohm, Plummer has improved this offseason. If the 6-3, 220-pounder can combine its precision with better timing, then it could be the elixir that helps the Boilermakers’ offense explode.

Double threat

Yes, Brohm wants a quarterback who can accurately throw the ball and expand the pitch.

But ideally he wants his QB to be a threat to lead him as well. And Plummer offers the best combination of these features. Still, Plummer hasn’t always wanted to take off with football, having just 77 rushing yards and one touchdown for his career. Last season, he had only 21 yards, with a long 14, and the score.

Brohm says he wants Plummer to run 4-6 times per game, whether it’s QB runs or scrambles.

“We think the quarterback should have this threat with the ball in their hands and the defense should honor and respect it,” Brohm told media last week. “It’s something we have to have in our arsenal on any down and any distance, but certainly in critical situations like around end zones and on third downs. We have to be strategic with this. “

Direction

When Plummer first entered the squad a few years ago, it wasn’t in the best of circumstances.

Veteran starter Elijah Sindelar had been injured, and to make matters worse, All-America wide receiver Rondale Moore was lost to an injury on the same play. And so Plummer, then only a freshman in a red shirt. , found himself playing without one of the best safety nets in the country.

Even so, Brohm wanted Plummer to take control of the Boilermakers, to be more vocal, to speak in the group. Be the leader the Purdue offense needed with Sindelar and Moore on the sidelines. But it was hard.

Now in his 4th season at West Lafayette, the Arizona native has embraced the role.

“He’s definitely a great leader, he wants to win,” Brohm said. “He cares. His teammates respect him.

Nevertheless …

Plummer needs to win.

Because Purdue has to win.

And out of his 9 starts, Plummer has only 2 wins. Last season, O’Connell won 2 of his 3 starts before a foot injury sidelined him. And when Plummer took over, he lost the last 3 games of the season.

It’s not that simple, however. Purdue’s defense gradually deteriorated as the season dragged on, putting Plummer in increasingly difficult positions.

But at Purdue, like many other programs, the Boilermakers win and lose with their quarterback. And for Plummer and Purdue, the time to win is now.


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