WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Josh Kaltenberger’s teammates are beginning to feel like he hasn’t left the Purdue training facility as the team prepares for Saturday’s regular-season finale on the road against rival Indiana.
Kaltenberger – a redshirt sophomore – is replacing junior center Gus Hartwig, who left last week’s matchup against Northwestern with a lower body injury that will cut short his 2022 campaign.
“We appreciate all the great game he’s given us up to this point and all the hard work because he’s been through a lot of other injuries as well,” said Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. He was a leader on our offensive line, a great snapper, smart, tough, and a state recruit who came and wanted to make a difference.”
Hartwig was a leader for the Boilermakers up front and is responsible for making calls and responding to opposing defensive lines. Brohm said he will undergo a surgical procedure that will knock him out of all football activity for a long time.
Now Kaltenberger is ready to step up and take command of the offensive line. At every opportunity he gets, he’s studying the Hoosiers and trying to gain an advantage ahead of the in-state matchup for the Old Oaken Bucket.
“He wants to do well, he wants to be successful and he puts in the time,” said Eric Miller, Purdue’s redshirt senior offensive lineman. “It was good for him to get some action on Saturday and he looked good in practice today. So we’re happy that Josh is now helping to guide us. He’s a good boy and he’s strong, very intellectual. So we’re looking forward to that.”
Kaltenberger is in his third year with the program, having been credited with 12 game appearances last season. He hails from Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania where he attended Seneca Valley High School and entered the college level ranked by ESPN as the #8 center in the 2020 recruiting class.
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Players and staff have touted Kaltenberger’s ability in the weight room, calling the 6-foot-5, 305-pound center one of the strongest offensive linemen on the team. The only concern when he joined the Boilermakers was the upper limit of his athletic ability, but he makes up for that with his knowledge of offense.
“Maybe what you weren’t sure about was how great an athlete is going to be and what potential he has, but he’s smart,” Brohm said of Kaltenberger. “He can really grab the ball effectively, which is very important. We want him to keep getting better at playing fast, making calls and reacting to movements up front.”
Behind Kaltenberger and the rest of the offensive line, Purdue rushed for 140 yards in a 17-9 win over Northwestern, though he lost redshirt freshman running back Devin Mockobee due to injury. Sixth-year senior Aidan O’Connell was released just once, completing 16 of 25 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns.
“He stepped in in a critical situation and did an admirable job,” said Brohm. “I think he’ll keep improving. He knows we need him. He has to do it for us. I think he’ll be proud of that. He’s been a great team-mate and he fits in well with us.”
Related stories about Purdue Football
- Kieren Douglas plays through an injury for the Boilermakers: Purdue’s sixth-year senior linebacker Kieren Douglas hit a season-best with seven tackles in a 17-9 win over Northwestern. The Pickerington, Ohio native left the field with an injury after an interception against Illinois the week before. CLICK HERE
- Indiana’s Coach Tom Allen’s Thoughts on Purdue Football: Indiana head coach Tom Allen met with the media Monday ahead of a game against rival Purdue. Here’s everything he had to say about the Boilermakers ahead of Saturday’s matchup at the Old Oaken Bucket in Bloomington, Indiana. CLICK HERE
- Devin Mockobee status uncertain for Indiana game: Walk-on running back Devin Mockobee left Purdue’s matchup against Northwestern earlier in the first quarter. He is the leading rusher for the Boilermakers in 2022 and his status is uncertain ahead of the regular-season finals. CLICK HERE
- Purdue stays tuned in 17-9 win over Northwestern: Aidan O’Connell threw for a season-low 159 yards, but Purdue’s defense forced three second-half turnovers in a win over Northwestern. A win next week against Indiana State rivals would give the team at least a share of the Big Ten West title. CLICK HERE
- Kessel find balance despite loss of Hartwig, Mockobee: Purdue starters Gus Hartwig and Devin Mockobee both left the team’s matchup against Northwestern due to injury. Despite their absence, the Boilermakers rushed for 140 yards in a 17-9 win. CLICK HERE
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