The 2018 college football season kicks off Thursday night with a fun slate that includes Northwestern visiting Purdue in a matchup of Big Ten rivals. Can the Wildcats avoid taking a step back after an impressive 10-3 season a year ago? A season-opening victory over the Boilermakers would be a good start.
The big question for Northwestern entering Thursday is whether senior quarterback Clayton Thorson will be ready to take the field. The senior suffered an ACL injury last December that required surgery and he was listed as questionable on the Week 1 injury report. If he can’t go, then junior T.J. Green is slated to step in as starting QB.
The passing game may need to step up after the Wildcats lost four-year running back Justin Jackson following last season. Sophomore Jeremy Larkin, who ran for 503 yards as a freshman (including 112 against Kentucky in the 2018 Music City Bowl), will start at running back.
Purdue is looking to get off to a strong Year 2 under coach Jeff Brohm, who led the Boilermakers to a 7-6 record and a bowl win in his debut season. It was an encouraging campaign that suggested a program on the rise after going 9-33 in four years under Darrell Hazell.
And just like Pat Fitzgerald with the Wildcats, Brohm has kept his starting quarterback choice under wraps for the past few weeks. The team split snaps between junior Elijah Sindelar and senior David Blough last season, and one of them is expected to start Thursday night.
Here’s how to tune into the Northwestern-Purdue matchup, and check out Steve Greenberg’s analysis and prediction of who will win.
How to watch Northwestern vs. Purdue, Week 1
Time: 7 p.m. CT
Live stream: WatchESPN