For the Purdue Boilermakers to be successful Tuesday in the Heart of Dallas Bowl against Oklahoma State, they know they must dominate the trenches and run the football.
Purdue’s strength this season was supposed to be its defensive line, led by All-Big Ten defensive tackle Kawann Short. When Short and others dealt with injuries in the middle of the season, the Boilermakers got steamrolled in league play.
Not coincidentally, the team won its final three games after those guys started to get healthy, and a month-long break should have the defensive line in its best shape since early September.
The 315-pound Short can change a game when he’s blowing up the middle of the line of scrimmage, and fellow tackle Bruce Gaston is an underrated force. Ryan Russell is a promising young pass-rusher who has also healed from some bumps and bruises.