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Who is under center for Purdue this weekend?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

By MICHAEL MAROT

AP Sports Writer

The Cradle of Quarterbacks suddenly looks like a game show.

First, there was Curtis Painter, then Joey Elliott, and now Justin Siller may emerge from Door No. 3.

With Purdue's top two quarterbacks both hurt, coach Joe Tiller heads into this week's game against No. 18 Michigan State uncertain who his starter will be -- Painter, the veteran, or Siller, the Big Ten co-offensive player of the week.

"You know, there's no guarantee that Curtis Painter will be ready, and we'll even have that decision to make," Tiller said Tuesday during his weekly news conference. "If we do have a decision to make, however, it will be based on the game plan, who we feel can execute the game plan the best and give our team the best chance to win. It won't be a loyalty issue so much as it will be who can help us be successful."

For the Boilermakers (3-6, 1-4), it's another twist in a season that has been full of them.

Painter, the incumbent starter, was set to become the next big thing at a school that has a reputation for producing elite quarterbacks. His predecessors have included such names as Len Dawson, Bob Griese, and Drew Brees.

But things haven't gone according to plan.

Painter has completed 55.9 percent of his passes, thrown more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (six) and was nearly yanked from an early season game because of his poor performance. Meanwhile, Purdue is mired in the worst season of Tiller's 12 seasons at the school.

Painter, a senior, missed last week's game with a slight-to-moderate separation of his throwing shoulder, ending a streak of 40 consecutive starts. With Elliott out for the season with his own separated shoulder, Siller suddenly found himself making his starting debut at quarterback last week.

The sophomore from Detroit responded by going 21-of-34 for 266 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 77 yards and another score to beat his home-state team, Michigan, 48-42.

"I thought he did a great job of handling various situations," Tiller said. "No. 2, I thought that he did a really good job of throwing the football."



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