"They have the option to pass or run on any given play, and they'll take what the defense gives them. They're balanced in some ways, as far as their master plan goes, but they throw it more than they run it.
"Defensively, they can pressure; they haven't pressured quite as much, but they can pressure."
The Herd's athletes on the defensive side face a challenge after a week of soul-searching. Giving up 647 total yards against Rice was a bigger shock than yielding 655 to West Virginia in the season opener.
Now that defense faces an offensive makeup it may not see the rest of the season, except maybe for Central Florida. With a line that's small by Big Ten standards but still averages 6-foot-5, 305 pounds, the Boilermakers will no doubt want to run more than 50 percent of the time.
Special teams will be an interesting part of the equation, with both teams sporting solid punters - Purdue has the Big Ten's best in Cody Webster and Marshall has a previously unexpected weapon in freshman Tyler Williams.
This is no small matter - Marshall punted five times last year at Louisville, sticking the Cardinals at the 16-yard line, on average.
Could that make a difference today? We'll see.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130 or dougsm...@wvgazette.com.