STORY LINES • Purdue opens its 136th season of football, including the 100th at Ross-Ade Stadium, by hosting Fresno State in a non-conference matchup. The battle against the reigning Mountain West champs kicks off at noon on BTN. • The Boilermakers and Bulldogs are meeting for the first time in history, and it is just the fourth time Purdue has faced a current member of the Mountain West Conference. • Ryan Walters makes his debut as head coach of the Boilermakers. The 37-year old became the 37th head coach in Purdue Football history on December 13, 2022 after serving as coordinator for the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense throughout the 2022 season. • Purdue enters the 2023 season as the reigning Big Ten West champions, capturing the division title for the first time in school history. The Boilermakers won eight regular season games, including six conference matchups, reaching both win totals in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1997-1998 when Joe Tiller served as Purdue’s head coach. • The Boilermakers have won 22 of their last 25 home openers. • Mike Alstott, the 12-year NFL veteran and Purdue’s all-time rushing leader (3,365 yards), will serve as the honorary captain for the season opener. • Ahead of its 100th season, Ross-Ade Stadium underwent a renovation in the offseason. The south end zone was bowled in and now features a brand-new student section for the Ross-Ade Brigade. • Tiller Tunnel, named after the winningest coach in Purdue history, was added to the northeast corner of the stadium to connect to the Kozuch Football Performance Complex. • Six Boilermakers landed on preseason award watch lists Jack Ansell (Ray Guy), Hudson Card (Maxwell, Johnny Unitas Golden Arm, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose), Gus Hartwig (Outland, Rimington), Damarjhe Lewis (Comeback Player of the Year), Garrett Miller (Comeback Player of the Year) and Devin Mockobee (Doak Walker). • Hudson Card, a transfer from Texas, enters the season as Purdue’s starting quarterback after Aidan O’Connell took his talents to the NFL; O’Connell left his mark at the school known for the Cradle of Quarterbacks, ending his career as the most accurate passer in school history. • Cam Allen enters his final year as a Boilermaker ranked ninth in program history with 10 career interceptions; the senior safety made a team-high 3 INTs a season ago. • Walters and his coaching staff hit the transfer portal hard over the offseason; Purdue’s season-opening depth chart features 17 players from the portal.
A WIN WOULD: • Make Purdue 79-51-6 in season openers • Make Purdue 93-38-4 in home openers • Be the 19th win for a Boilermaker head coach in his first game, and the first since Sept. 5, 2009, when Danny Hope beat Toledo • Give Purdue an 87-31-3 all-time record when facing an opponent for the first time.
(FRESNO STATE NOTES)
QUICK LOOK • Fresno State closed the 2022 season with a 10-4 record, and as Mountain West and LA Bowl champions. • The Bulldogs became the first team in FBS history to open a season 1-4 and finish with 10 wins in 2022. • Fresno State is riding a 9 game winning streak, the third-longest active winning streak in the FBS. • Fresno State finished the 2022 season ranked No. 24 in the AP and Coaches poll. It was the fourth time in program history (1992, 2004, 2018 and 2022) that the team appeared in the final rankings. • Head coach Jeff Tedford is back in his second stint as the program’s head coach, having previously coached the ‘Dogs from 2017-19 before stepping away for health concerns. • Fresno State retained its entire coaching staff on the defensive side of the ball under defensive coordinator Kevin Coyle. • The ‘Dogs added two new position coaches to the offense in Brian Armstrong (OL) and Aaron Prier (RB). • The ‘Dogs have a new offensive coordinator for 2023 as Tedford promoted Pat McCann from wide receivers coach to OC in January 2023. Matt Wade was also elevated from offensive quality control to quarterbacks coach. • Fresno State was picked to finish third in the Mountain West this sesaon. The ‘Dogs received five first place vote. • Two Bulldogs were on the MW preseason all-conference team in offensive lineman Mose Vavao and defensive lineman Devo Bridges • For the first time since the 2020 season, Fresno State will have a new starting quarterback as Tedford announced UCF transfer Mikey Keene will be the starter at Purdue. Keene was 8-3 as a starter in his time at UCF.
ABOUT THE MATCH UP • Fresno State and Purdue will meet for the first time in program history on Saturday. • This week’s travel trip is the furthest in mileage for Fresno State this season, traveling 2,222 miles to West Lafayette. • The last true Big Ten opponent the ‘Dogs have faced was Minnesota. The ‘Dogs fell 38-35 at home in overtime on Sept. 7, 2019. • Fresno State is playing on the Big Ten Network for the first time since 2016 (vs. Nebraska) • Fresno State looks to defeat a current Big Ten member for the first time since defeating Rutgers in overtime in 2013 (52-51). Rutgers was not a member of the Big Ten that year. • Fresno State is 59-38-4 in its season openers all-time. As head coach of the Bulldogs’ program, Tedford is 3-1 in his season openers with wins in the 2017, 2018 and 2022 openers. • Fresno State is opening the season on the road for the first time since the 2019 season when the ‘Dogs opened at USC. • Anybody, Anytime, Anywhere. Fresno State has 40 wins all-time against current Power 5 programs. • Fresno State has defeated a Power 5 opponent in back-to-back seasons.
Scouting Purdue opens the 2023 season against Fresno State, under first-year head coach Ryan Walters. The Boilermakers were picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten West Division this season. Walters announced on August 8 that the Boilermakers will be without FAU transfer receiver Jahmal Edrine for 2023. Edrine was expected to come in and make an impact for the offense. Purdue was 8-6 in the 2022 campaign, finishing with a win in regular season play against Indiana (30-16). The Boilermakers closed out the postseason with back-to-back losses against Michigan in the Big Ten Championship game (43-22) and in the Citrus Bowl against LSU (63-7). Purdue finished the 2022 campaign with a 6-3 conference mark as the leader in the Big Ten’s West Division, winning the title for the first time. Purdue Preseason Honors The Boilermakers have six players that have been named to preseason watch lists. Quarterback, Hudson Card, has been selected in two preseason award watch lists, the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award Watch List and Maxwell Award Watch List. Defensive lineman Damarjhe Lewis and tight end Garrett Miller have been selected for the Comeback Player of the Year after they missed the entire 2022 season due to injury. Running back Devin Mockobee has been selected for the Doak Walker Award watch list. Mockobee has earned multiple award recognitions early in his career, coming into Purdue as a walk-on freshman and earning the starting running back position mid-season. Center Gus Hartwig has also been selected in two preseason award watch lists, the Rimington Trophy Watch List and Outland Trophy Watch List. Punter Jack Ansell has been selected for the Ray Guy Award Watch List. Series History The teams will be meeting for the first time in program history this weekend. Fresno State is set to play three schools for the first time in its program history this season – at Purdue (Sept. 2), and vs. Eastern Washington (Sept. 9) and Kent State (Sept. 23). Fresno State vs. Big Ten Fresno State is 5-11 all-time against current members of the Big Ten. Fresno State’s last win over a current Big Ten team was a 52-51 overtime victory over Rutgers on August 29, 2013 in Fresno.
Going for 10 Fresno State enters Week 1 on a 9-game winning streak – the third-longest active winning streak in the FBS. Georgia leads the nation with 17-straight games and Troy is next with 11. Washington has 7, behind Fresno State’s 9. The Bulldogs closed out the 2022 season with nine wins in a row. It was the program’s longest winning streak since 2013 when the ‘Dogs won 10 in a row under head coach Tim DeRuyter and quarterback Derek Carr. Fresno State’s longest winning streak in program history is 17 games over two seasons, winning the final seven games of the 1988 season and 10 games to open the 1989 campaign. Let’s rewind for a second The 2022 season was a roller coaster of emotions, from wins and losses to injuries to championships – it was truly a “trust the process” season. The Bulldogs opened the season 1-4, but finished the season with a 10-4 record becoming the first team in FBS history to open a season with one win and finish that year with 10 wins. Gotta get things started on the right foot Fresno State is 59-38-4 in its season openers all-time. As head coach of the Bulldogs’ program, Tedford is 3-1 in his season openers with wins in the 2017, 2018 and 2022 openers. • Fresno State has won its last two season openers • Fresno State’s last win in a season opener on the road was its Sept. 1 win at Rutgers (24-7) in 2008 • Since 2000, the ‘Dogs are 15-8 with four of those eight losses against top 25 teams (Ohio State-2000, Wisconsin-2002, Tennessee-2003 and USC-2014).