The Purdue Boilermakers won’t be headed for a bowl game this year most but their chances of reaching one in 2011 would be much better if star wide receiver Keith Smith returns to the team.
The school is petitioning the NCAA to grant a sixth year of eligibility for Smith, who was sidelined with a knee injury early this season. He tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee Sept. 11 in Purdue’s win against Western Illinois. Smith underwent knee surgery last month.
The 6-foot-2 Smith, who has already used a redshirt year, is tied for 14th in school history with 140 career receptions and 19th in receiving yards. Smith averaged a league-best 7.6 receptions and 91.7 receiving yards while earning All-Big Ten first-team honors in 2009. He caught a total of 18 passes in Purdue’s first two games before his injury. Smith was hurt on a tackle in the fourth quarter of a 31-21 win over Western Illinois. He had surgery on Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.
The NCAA isn’t likely to rule until February on this application. But there is a precedent on the Boilermakers as linebacker Jason Werner is in his sixth year of eligibility after missing the 2006 and 2008 seasons with back injuries.
This season the Boilers have been hammered by injuries, losing No. 1 quarterback Robert Marve early in the season and top tailback Ralph Bolden before the season even started, in addition to Smith, to season-ending injuries.
Purdue closes its season at home against Indiana on Saturday. Bet on the game with Bodog’s NCAA football odds. The Boilermakers have had three straight losing seasons, having last played in a bowl game in 2007.
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