Fresno State started 1-4 last season before winning nine consecutive games, including the Mountain West Conference title and a bowl game win against Washington State. Purdue also went on a run at the end of the season, winning three straight games before losing to Michigan in the Big Ten title game and losing to LSU in the Citrus Bowl.
Here’s our prediction, along with our betting and DFS preview.
Fresno State vs. Purdue Betting and DFS Preview
Purdue -4, Fresno State +4
Purdue -192, Fresno State +160
- Game time
12:00 p.m. EST
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
- Predicted Weather at Kick
86 degrees, mostly sunny, winds SW at 10 to 15 mph
- How to Watch
FuboTV, Big Ten Network
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Top DFS Picks and Fantasy Plays
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Looking for each team’s depth chart? Click the appropriate link to view.
Fresno State Depth Chart | Purdue Depth Chart
- QB Hudson Card, Purdue ($8,200)
- QB Mikey Keene, Fresno State ($6,800)
- QB Logan Fife, Fresno State ($6,800)
- RB Devin Mockobee, Purdue ($8,500)
- RB Malik Sherrod, Fresno State ($6,100)
- RB Elijah Gilliam, Fresno State ($5,700)
- RB Tyrone Tracy Jr., Purdue ($5,500)
- WR TJ Sheffield, Purdue ($7.500)
- WR Mershawn Rice, Purdue ($6,800)
- WR Mac Dalena, Fresno State ($6,300)
- WR Jaelen Gill, Fresno State ($5,900)
- WR Erik Brooks, Fresno State ($5,600)
- WR Broc Thompson, Purdue ($5,500)
- WR Deion Burks, Purdue ($5,200)
- TE Garrett Miller, Purdue ($5,100)
- TE Tre Watson, Fresno State ($4,700)
With the departure of quarterback Aidan O’Connell from Purdue (now with the Las Vegas Raiders), Texas transfer Hudson Card joins the team after having strong performances with the Longhorns. His ability to bomb deep passes while being accurate and moving around in the pocket makes him an intriguing quarterback in the Big Ten.
Card has a chance to start his Boilermaker career on a high note, making big plays and gaining yards. If fantasy players are looking for a sleeper pick at quarterback, Card would make a good move.
Purdue running back Devin Mockobee came 32 yards away from 1,000 rushing yards last season while also scoring nine touchdowns on the ground. The Boilermakers were in the 100s in rushing offense, but Mockobee was the one constant for them, so four returning offensive linemen for Purdue this season should only make it better. Expect a heavy dose of Mockobee against Fresno State, as he will be the leading man in the backfield.
TJ Sheffield and Mershawn Rice are the top two receivers for Purdue, with Sheffield leading the returning 2023 players in receiving last season with 480 yards and four touchdowns. Under offensive coordinator Graham Harrell’s passing offense, Sheffield and Rice should pad their stats as Sheffield is the safer choice of the two in fantasy.
Fresno State sophomore quarterback Mikey Keene takes the starting quarterback position going into the season after transferring from UCF. One thing that seems to be certain at Fresno State is that the quarterback developed well there. The Bulldogs are consistently in the top 30 in passing, which is good news for Keene, who may not be a safe choice in fantasy right now but could be a good choice once they get into conference play.
The Bulldogs’ skill positions are a bit of an unknown, but they have returning players who know the offense well. Running back Malik Sherrod was second on the team in rushing last season with 428 yards and two touchdowns. Their top returning receiver is Eric Brooks, who recorded 391 yards and three touchdowns in 2022. Brooks is a good option in fantasy, as the passing yards should be high in the game.
Prediction for Fresno State vs. Purdue
This will turn out to be one of the better matchups of the college football opening weekend as both teams are transitioning with new quarterbacks but have the offensive systems to put up big numbers. The Bulldogs and Boilermakers are evenly matched with question marks at some positions with high potential at other positions.
Purdue should have a strong, high-powered offense this season as Card finally gets a shot at being a starting quarterback. A lot of yards should be put up in the air, but they need to make sure they don’t turn the ball over. Mockobee could play a big factor also, as the Boilermakers need other backs to step up and take the pressure off Mockobee. Watch for Card to put up big yards on the ground as well.
Fresno State will lean on their defense with seven starters returning to the roster this season. Purdue’s new air raid offense will test projected starting corners Cam Lockridge, Carlton Johnson, and Morice Norris Jr.. If the Bulldogs’ pass defense can slow down the Boilermakers, they can win this game.
This game is going to go down to the wire and should be a close matchup. It could be Fresno State’s statement to the country to look at them for a conference like the Pac-12. The matchup will come down to whoever has the ball last and can have their new starting quarterback comfortable the fastest.
Purdue 34, Fresno State 27