Ranking Big Ten Opening Week Games-LEGENDS Tier

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10. PURDUE @ MARSHALL (Sept. 6, 2 p.m. CT) Fox Sports 1

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

This matchup takes place on the first Sunday of the college football season and it’s the only game that day. Although it is far from a premier game, it’s Marshall that comes into the game as the better of the two teams. Star quarterback Rakeem Cato is gone, meaning Gunnar Holcombe will have to take over an offense that was really explosive last season. The Thundering Herd ranked second last season in total offense and return most starters with the exception of Cato. But their defense is equally as impressive. Marshall ranked 31st overall in total defense, but gave up just 20.8 points per game last year which was 22nd-best in the country.

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While Marshall is going in the right direction, Purdue is going in the complete opposite. Head coach Darrell Hazell is two years into the job but has only compiled a 4-20 record overall, 1-15 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers were bad in every asset of the game last year. Quarterback Austin Appleby needs to improve on his 10 touchdown, 11 interception performance a season ago. So does the defense, which ranked 80th in total defense and gave up 31.7 points per game.

In all honesty, I see Marshall running away with this one. It’s on their home field, first game of the season and the Thundering Herd looking to repeat as Conference-USA champions.

Next: Good Test for Penn State