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2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl: Getting to know Purdue

Who They Are: The Boilermakers were 6-6 this year after winning their final three games to sneak into bowl eligibility. That was not enough to save the job of Danny Hope, who was fired after four seasons. Patrick Higgins will serve as interim head coach as Darrell Hazell was recently hired away from Kent State, but will coach the Golden Flashes in their bowl game.

Who They Played: Although Purdue did not beat a bowl-eligible team (Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan, Marshall, Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana were their victories), the Boilermakers very nearly upset both undefeated teams in the country. Purdue lost 20-17 at Notre Dame on a late field goal, while Purdue led Ohio State 22-14 with less than a minute to go in Columbus before falling in overtime, 29-22.

Who To Watch: Defensive tackle Kawann Short is a likely first-round NFL Draft pick and has been a terror to opposing offenses all season long. Cornerback Ricardo Allen has a school-record four interceptions returned for touchdowns in his career. Walk-on Landon Feichter led the Big Ten with four interceptions this season, one of which he returned for a touchdown. Running back Akeem Shavers had 126 yards rushing, 99 yards receiving, and three touchdowns against Indiana. Raheem Mostert is one of the leading kickoff returners in college football and led the country in kickoff return average as a freshman in 2011.

You Might Have Heard Of: Robert Marve is playing his final collegiate game on a third torn ACL. Marve re-injured his knee against Notre Dame but started the final four games of the season. Against Indiana he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns. He also chased down Greg Heban on a 70-yard interception return to prevent a touchdown.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.