BOZICH | Michigan toughest test for The Brohm Effect at Purdue - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Michigan toughest test for The Brohm Effect at Purdue

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Jeff Brohm will host Michigan and Jim Harbaugh Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind. Jeff Brohm will host Michigan and Jim Harbaugh Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – I had not scheduled a weekly column about Jeff Brohm and the Purdue football team -- or to push #TheBrohmEffect hash tag on Twitter one time more.

There were plenty of reasons to talk about Brohm before Week One. He was coaching against the University of Louisville, his alma mater, in his first game after leaving Western Kentucky. His staff was packed with local connections.

Big story. End of local story, right?

Then Purdue threatened to win a game the Boilermakers were predicted to lose by 25 points. U of L 35, Purdue 28. Hmmm.

The Boilermakers followed that by blasting Ohio University, a solid Mid-American Conference program, and then routing a Southeastern Conference program (Missouri) on the road. Hmmmmmmm.

Now I’m not the only one talking about Brohm. Lots of folks in college football have joined the conversation, especially with Purdue flirting with selling out Ross-Ade Stadium for the first time since 2008 when Jim Harbaugh and No. 8 Michigan visit Saturday afternoon.

“I think our team has gained some confidence over the last few weeks,” Brohm said this week on the Big Ten coaches’ teleconference. “We think our fan base will be out and in full force.”

Harbaugh has noticed. He complimented Purdue, Brohm and even Brohm’s son, Brady, during the Big Ten teleconference. Brady Brohm, a seventh-grade offensive tackle, introduced himself to most of the league’s coaches during Big Ten Media day. Now he exchanges weekly texts with Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck. Look for him walking the sidelines on game day.

The Big Ten Network has noticed. The BTN Tailgate show will originate from West Lafayette, Ind., Saturday. Brohm and Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter will visit the BTN set.

ESPN has noticed. Purdue received word Tuesday that SportsCenter has plans for a live hit from West Lafayette this weekend. Let Purdue deliver a shocker as a 10-point underdog and one ESPN hit will quickly accelerate into multiple hits.

“I really haven’t dissected into (Purdue’s hot start),” Brohm said “It does show what you can do if you play extremely hard … We’ve tried to clean up the small things so we’re not beating ourselves.

“We’ve been good enough at the small things and played hard enough that the first three games, we’ve been able to be in games. Two (of them) we’ve been able to win. But as everyone knows, there’s a long season ahead. Our schedule gets extremely difficult with the Big Ten Conference, especially with this game coming up with Michigan.”

Recruits have noticed. The Boilermakers have arranged for visits this weekend from a solid group of prospects, including several high school players from Kentucky.

The stat geeks have noticed. Red zone conversion rate is a reasonable indicator of coaching acumen. Only three teams in America have been better than Purdue after getting the football inside the 20-yard line this season.

The Boilermakers are 13 for 13 with 10 touchdowns and three field goals in the red zone. Only Notre Dame (15 for 15), Louisiana Lafayette and Wake Forest (both 14 for 14) have been better.

Another nugget to share before turning away from statistics: Purdue quarterback David Blough’s touchdown to interception ratio last season was 25-to-21. This season it is 6-to-2.

Blough has completed 80.5 percent of his throws without an interception in Purdue’s last two games.

That’s what I call #TheBrohmEffect.

ESPN’s FPI computer ranking index has upgraded the Boilermakers’ 2017 win total to 5.7.

Big deal?

Big deal.

The Boilermakers have not won more than three games since 2012.

No wonder Brohm is the early leader for Big Ten coach of the year. Speaking of early, early results from the Big Ten West show two losses by Nebraska (including a home field stumble against Northern Illinois), a 24-point loss by Northwestern at Duke and a 24-point loss by Illinois at South Florida. The Boilermakers are positioned to remain a story this fall.

 “We’ll see where we stand,” Brohm said. “While we want to continue to improve and get better, we’ve got a long ways to go.

“We’re going to get hit in the mouth a few times. We understand that. But our guys are gaining confidence. But if you do those small things and we’re in it in the second half, then anything can happen.”

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