Top Players to Challenge Each Other at Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl



 Ford Field was great to Purdue last time

DEtroit DETROIT–  Television viewers and spectators alike will be watching senior wide receiver Jordan White of Western Michigan and Purdue sophomore defensive back Ricardo Allen. The two All-America’s will square off almost like in a championship boxing match.  All eyes will be watching this premier matchup as they will be paired against each other.  This special highlight and more will be front and center at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on December 27, at Ford Field.  The game will be on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. EST. 

White and Allen met at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl kickoff luncheon as part of a presentation partnered with the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.  They got a great opportunity to compare notes and socialize while both represented their schools with grace and respect.  Both humbly turned the attention to their teammates

Purdue head coach Danny Hope praised Allen for his work effort.  Coach Hope said, “Besides Ricardo being one of the team’s hardest workers, he is a better person, a great leader and I am proud he is a part of our football program.” 

Hope also spoke of the contributions of former Orchard Lake St. Mary’s quarterback Justin Siller.  Siller made a position change and rebounded from a tough injury last year and has 45 receptions in Purdue’s 12 games.  The 6’3” wide-out could be the difference maker for the Boilermakers. 

WMU head coach Bill Cubit said, “Fifteen years for this Bowl and this is our first time, everyone is excited.  Cubit is in his seventh season at WMU and it is his third bowl appearance.  Director of Athletics for WMU Kathy Beauregard said, “This event is a reward for our team and we have 113,000 alumni living in Michigan to showcase for.”

This is the second year in a row that White has put up giant receiving stats for the Bronco’s.  He leads the nation in total receiving yards (1,646), receiving yards per game (137.17), total receptions (127) and receptions per game (10.58).

 Western Michigan (7-5) has two other elite players ranked nationally.  Quarterback Alex Carder and defensive tackle Drew Nowak.  Nowak, a senior who goes at 6’4” and 295 was Mid-American Conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year.  Carder knows how to score.  He threw seven touchdown passes in a close loss at Toledo this year.  He surpassed his yardage total from last season (3,434) and has been prolific with the TD passes (29).

Purdue (6-6) boasts the nation’s best kickoff return team (27.5 yard average) and one of the most dynamic freshmen in Raheem Mostert.  The quarterback tandem of Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush has combined to complete 60 percent of their passes.  Defensive tackle Kawann Short, Jr. tied for third in Big Ten in tackles for a loss (17). 

Another weapon for Purdue is kicker Carson Wiggs who ranks second in the Big Ten in field goals (16-21).  He has made his last nine attempts. 

Purdue and WMU have met twice previously at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette with the Boilermakers coming out on top both times in close contests.

Purdue has played in 15 bowl games all-time, with an 8-7 record.  This will be their second appearance in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.  They beat Central Michigan with a field goal in 2007 on the last play of the game, 51-48.  Purdue athletics director Morgan Burke said, “We’re excited to return to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.  There are nearly 200,000 Purdue alumni within a four-hour drive of Detroit, and this game will provide a great opportunity for them to get together, root on the Boilermakers and share some holiday cheer.  We had a great time and an exciting game (2007) and look forward to another one this year.”  

One of the special highlights for the players is the bowling outing at the world famous Thunderbowl in Allen Park, Michigan.  This year it will be on Christmas Day and will feature a top four player’s match-up.  In an informal survey from last year, other than the game, most of the players liked this as a favorite activity of the Bowl festivities.  The ever-smiling White added, “Wait until we get some of our big linemen bowling, those poor bowling pins will run for cover.”

 Ken Hoffman executive director of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl announced that a new outreach community partner for the game will be VIP Mentoring.  Again this year, the Stocking Stuffer Program will be in effect, where corporations and foundations can purchase tickets and provide them to not-for-profit youth groups

Little Caesars Pizza Corporation President David Scrivano said that the Little Caesars Love Kitchen will be making stops in both Kalamazoo and West Lafayette before Christmas to provide meals for those less fortunate.  The Love Kitchen is an outfitted semi-truck with a working kitchen and ovens that provides meals on the go for special situations.  

In last years Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Florida International University nipped Toledo 24-21 in the closing moments.  This year expect a high scoring game with lots of aerial action.  The game will be televised nationally on ESPN at 4:30 p.m. EST.

Photo: Executive Director of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, Ken Hoffman, talks about the planned activities for the Purdue and Western Michigan University football teams during a recent luncheon.

Jacek Urbanczyk contributed