LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- I can’t solve the debate about which receiver is having the best season in college football. I can tell you which receiver who is having the most mysterious season:
Former Trinity High School star and New Albany native Rondale Moore.
Friends and fans have texted or emailed the question:
What’s going on with Rondale at Purdue?
People wonder why Moore did not play in the Boilermakers’ first two games, both victories. They have also noticed that in Moore’s absence another local player, Milton Wright of Christian Academy of Louisville, has delivered for Purdue.
They have noticed that Purdue is still throwing the football better than any team in the Big Ten, the way coach Jeff Brohm’s team have always thrown the ball. He's taken two guys Bobby Petrino whiffed on and made them receivers the Big Ten fears.
Purdue’s third game is uncertain. The Boilermakers were supposed to visit Wisconsin this weekend, but the game was canceled because of the novel coronavirus. Purdue is scheduled to play host to Northwestern on Nov. 14.
Was Moore going to play against the Badgers?
Brohm was not certain.
"As you know, we're always hopeful to get Rondale back," Brohm said. "As soon as that happens, we'll all be excited, and we're looking forward to it. I don't have any more information than that as of right now.”
The mystery continues.
Moore, of course, was picked as a first-team AP all-American before the season.
He was expected to be the guy who led the team with 114 catches and 12 touchdowns as a freshman two seasons ago. One sports book put his odds at winning the Heisman Trophy at 33-1. Moore missed all but four games with leg injuries last season. Then Moore opted out in August because of concerns about the coronavirus. That was before the Big Ten originally canceled its season.
The Big Ten changed its mind. So did Moore. He returned to Purdue’s fall camp
But Moore did not play when Purdue defeated Iowa in its season opener. He also did not play when Purdue won at Illinois on Saturday.
Was Moore going to play at Wisconsin? When will Moore play?
Hold that thought. Brohm has not offered any specifics about Moore. Brohm will be asked about Moore next Monday, just as he has been asked about him the last two Mondays.
Without Moore (and with Brohm at home during the opener because of a positive COVID-19) test, Purdue still leads the Big Ten in passing yards per game (326.5). The Boilermakers have completed better than 70% of their throws.
David Bell, a sophomore from Indianapolis, ranks eighth in the nation in receiving yards per game at 121.5. Bell has looked the part of more than a future pro. He has looked the part of a future all-pro.
“David has been outstanding,” Brohm said Monday during his weekly press conference. “Really, he's been outstanding in every facet of the game, not only his production on the field, not only his ability to make contested catches, not only his ability to find a way to make the play in a clutch situation. That's remarkable in itself.
“But one of the main reasons he does those things is he puts in the work. He does it every day in practice. He doesn't miss reps. He doesn't miss practice. He doesn't take time off.
“You know, he's not one of those guys, as well, that comes to the sideline and says, ‘Hey, I need the ball. I haven't got any catches in a little while.’ No, the guy just does his part. He's a tremendous teammate. He understands how team sports work, and there's not one bad attribute that he has.”
But Bell and Moore were supposed to the The Guys in Purdue’s offense this season.
Instead, Bell and Wright have been the guys. Wright, another sophomore, ranks sixth in the Big Ten in receiving yards per game with 92.5 and fourth in catches with 14. He scored his second career touchdown at Illinois.
Bell, Wright and Moore will give Purdue one of the top receiver rooms in the country — whenever Moore returns.
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