BOWL GAME PREVIEW: Purdue plays LSU in Citrus Bowl; Boilermakers Notes



WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – After playing in the Big Ten Championship for the first time in program history, the Purdue Boilermakers head south to face LSU in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. The Big Ten West champs battle the SEC West champs at Camping World Stadium, Jan. 2. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. ET on ABC.

The Boilermakers and Tigers meet on the gridiron for the first time in history.

• Purdue is appearing in a bowl game for the 21st time in program history, the fourth over the past six seasons.
• The Boilermakers are 11-9 all-time in bowl games, winning four of their past six including a 48-45 overtime victory over Tennessee in last year’s TransPerfect  Music City Bowl.
• Purdue won the 2021 Music City Bowl despite missing All-Americans David Bell and George Karlaftis, who opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft.
• The matchup is Purdue’s third Orlando bowl game, the first since the 2006 Champs Sports Bowl.
• The Boilermakers are playing in the Citrus Bowl for the second time with the other appearance concluding the 2003 campaign.
• Purdue is facing a ranked team in a bowl game for the eighth time, but its first since the 2004 Sun Bowl (No. 21 Arizona State).

• Purdue enters the matchup without four Boilermakers who opted out of the game to prepare for the 2023 NFL Draft: TE Payne Durham, WR Charlie Jones, QB Aidan O’Connell and CB Cory Trice.
• Jones, a Second Team All-American, led the Big Ten in receptions (110), receiving yards (1,361) and receiving touchdowns (12),cracking the Top 5 nationally in all three categories; his 1,361 receiving yards set a new single-season school record.
• O’Connell, who earned Second Team All-B1G honors, led the conference in passing yards (290.8 per game) and ends his Purdue career with the best career completion percentage in
school history (66.7%).
• Durham earned second team all-conference accolades as one of the top tight ends in the country; he ranked second on the team in receptions (56), receiving yards (560) and receiving TDs (8), ending his Boilermaker career with the second-most touchdowns by a tight end (21).
• Trice, a lockdown corner for the Boilermakers with a team-best 10 pass breakups, also added two interceptions and 34 tackles throughout the season; he earned All-B1G Honorable Mention.

• All-Big Ten Honorable Mention (Coaches & Media)
• Don’t underestimate redshirt-freshman Devin Mockobee. The walk-on running back leads the Purdue rushing attack with 920 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
• In regards to freshman running backs throughout Purdue history, Mockobee set the program record for most rushing yards and attempts by a Boilermaker freshman.
• Mockobee has earned Big Ten Freshman of the Week accolades twice this season, most recently following last week’s performance at Indiana. After missing most of the Northwestern game due to
injury, the freshman returned to tally 157 all-purpose yards (99 rushing, 58 receiving).
• He has produced four 100-yard games this season, the most ever by a Purdue freshman.

• Sixth-year slinger Austin Burton will be Purdue’s QB1 for the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, after Aidan O’Connell elected to prepare for the NFL Draft.
• Burton is in his third season at Purdue following the first three years of his career at UCLA.
• The Citrus Bowl will mark the third career start for Burton. His first start came in 2019 against Oregon State, when he threw for 236 yards for UCLA.
• Burton has started once for Purdue, a 28-26 win over FAU earlier this season.

• Purdue will have a familiar face on the Citrus Bowl sidelines, as former Boilermaker quarterback Drew Brees will serve as an assistant coach.
• Before his 20-year NFL career, Brees was a record-breaking quarterback at Purdue; he remains the school’s all-time leader in passing yards (11,792), completions (1,026) and passing
touchdowns (90).
• He concluded his Purdue career by winning the Maxwell Award (nation’s most outstanding player) and leading the Boilermakers to the Rose Bowl.
• Taking his talents to the NFL, Brees was the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 4,000 yards in 12-straight seasons, including an NFL-record five 5,000-yard passing seasons. He was selected 12 times to the Pro Bowl, a Saints record.
• Brees can help the Boilermakers reach nine wins for the second straight season; the last time Purdue had back-to-back nine-win seasons, he was the starting quarterback (1997-98) under
legendary coach Joe Tiller.

• The Boilermakers have proved to be one of the top offenses in college football by putting up points against the nation’s best scoring defenses.
• Against Ryan Walters’ Illinois defense, which led the country by averaging only 12.2 points per game, Purdue scored 31 points in a win; it was the most allowed by the Illini all season long.
• Minnesota surrendered 13.3 ppg to rank fourth nationally, and Purdue became one of three teams to score at least 20 points on the Golden Gophers in a 20-10 victory in Minneapolis.
• In the Big Ten Championship, Purdue marched down the field on six scoring drives, the most scoring drives by a Michigan opponent this season. The No. 2 Wolverines enter the College Football Playoff ranked fifth in scoring defense (13.4 ppg).

• Ryan Walters, considered one of the nation’s fastest rising young coaches, has been named the 37th head football coach at Purdue University (Dec. 13).
• In his second season as defensive coordinator for Illinois in 2022, Walters emerged as one of the nation’s best defensive play callers. The Illini posted an 8-4 record, with five wins holding their opponents under seven points and seven wins at 10 points or fewer.
• Along with guiding the Illini defense to Top 10 national rankings in 17 different defensive categories, Walters was named 247Sports Defensive Coordinator of the Year and On3 Coordinator of the Year.
• This past season, Walters guided the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense (12.3) and No. 2 defense in yards allowed per game (263.8).
• Walters elevated Illinois’ defensive unit from the back of the pack into one of the nation’s elite in just two seasons. Following the 2020 season, in which the Fighting Illini ranked 97th nationally in scoring defense (34.9) and 114th in yards allowed per game (466.8), Walters’ first year in Champaign saw his side of the ball rise to 29th (21.9) and 49th (367.0), respectively.
• At 36, Walters becomes one of the youngest head coaches in college football; he has hired Graham Harrell as offensive coordinator and Kevin Kane as defensive coordinator.