The Big 12's reputation for prolific offense has caught the attention of the Boilermakers.
“You see those crazy numbers coming out of their conference,” said Purdue quarterback Robert Marve. “That's why I'm excited about playing someone in their conference.”
OSU ranks fourth nationally in scoring offense, 44.7 points a game. Other Big 12 teams in the top 10 are Baylor (fifth nationally), West Virginia (seventh), Kansas State (10th) and OU (12th).
“It's going to be a challenge,” said Purdue All-American defensive tackle Kawann Short.
“It's up to the defense to step up and hold these guys to minimum points. As a defense, we feel like we can match up.”
Purdue qualified for a bowl game with a 56-35 rout of Indiana to close the regular season. The Hoosiers, coached by former OU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson, might provide Purdue its closest likeness to the OSU offense. IU at least uses a no-huddle attack.
“They're a talented team,” Short said of OSU. “Fast, good on offense. We feel like we can adjust to it. We played IU, and they play really fast.”
NEXT CHELF UP
Colton Chelf was an OSU bowl star last season. In his final Cowboy game, Chelf had career highs of five catches for 97 yards. He momentarily had the game-winning touchdown in overtime, before replay review ruled Chelf down at the Stanford 1-yard line. Quinn Sharp thus kicked the game-winning field goal.
“That would have been nice,” Clint Chelf said of his brother's called-back touchdown.
Now Clint Chelf quarterbacks the Cowboys in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Purdue.
“I think anytime you go into any game you want to have a big impact, especially on a stage like this, where it's a bowl game, the last game of the year, leave something good in everyone's mind,” Clint Chelf said. “Hopefully go out with a win for the seniors.”
DALLAS-AREA NATIVE LAVEY RELISHES CHANCE TO PLAY IN COTTON BOWL
The Heart of Dallas Bowl won't feature nearly the same amount of hubbub that surrounds the Cotton Bowl during the Texas State Fair. Or when the Cotton Bowl was actually played at the Cotton Bowl.
But perhaps the greatest perk of playing in that bowl is the chance to take the field inside one of college football's most historic stadiums.
OSU linebacker Caleb Lavey, who grew up near Dallas in the town of Celina, is looking forward to the opportunity.
“I never thought I'd get to (play there), because I didn't go to Texas or OU,” Lavey said. “But I'm very excited.”
GUNDY ROOTING FOR REST OF BIG 12
Bowl games are often about conference bragging rights, and the Big 12 got off to a fantastic start Thursday night with Baylor's 49-26 thrashing of No. 17 UCLA in the Holiday Bowl.
Gundy is, of course, hoping for similar performances from the rest of the Big 12 schools.
“I thought it was interesting that some people across the country think that the Big 12 offenses are maybe not as good, based on (that) the defenses are average,” Gundy said. “And I haven't felt that way. So hopefully the Big 12 teams will play well.
“It's good for all of us when they do play well, like Baylor did.”
Three Big 12 schools play Saturday, with West Virginia facing Syracuse in the Pinstripe Bowl, Texas taking on Oregon State in the Alamo Bowl and TCU matching up with Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
By Gina Mizell and Berry Tramel