Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Next Step: Purdue v. Minny Wrap-Up

My day started with an e-mail from my pal and co-BS editor J asking a simple question that had been asked to him- Have you heard any rumor of Hummel being injured?

I hadn't...and if there's one thing I've learned as a Purdue fan this season, it's that these rumors usually don't mean much. Oh wait, no I haven't learned that. I've learned they're pretty much always true...but worrying about something that I couldn't control wouldn't do me any good. So the BDowd family headed to God's Country for homecoming.

Perfect day- sunny, warm, but not hot, a ton of friends in town to see our alma mater play...Love days like this.

Purdue wore throw-back uniforms that kind of looked more like knock-offs, to me. The colors weren't quite right, the numbers were too small, the stripes on the sleeves weren't the right shape and the icons on the jersey all seemed to be the wrong size. Nike had done it again- just as they had for the Alstott throwback- they had butchered it. But, Purdue paid homage to the BT Co-champ team from a decade ago...and unlike in Pasadena, our Boilers won with roses through the P on the side of the helmet. I guess it kinda helped that they were playing Minnesota and not New Weasel's Huskies.

The game started in pretty-horrible fashion. Both teams seemed to be locked in a battle of who could move the ball less. Three-and-out, three-and-out, FIVE-and-out...etc.

But, eventually, Purdue's o-line started making space, Nord called a few zingers and Dan Dierking made Minny look mini. Danny D finished the day averaging more than 10yds/carry on 12 carries and Henry had an efficient 57 yards rushing...with 3 TDs. The last time a Purdue QB did that, J hadn't yet been born.

Purdue also passed the ball a bit better than last week- Henry was 13/20 w/ 163 yard, 1 TD, 1 Int. Not horrible...definitely better than what we saw in Evanston. But, as a starter, he's now 2-0. The bestest stat of all.

Back to that rumor about Rob's injury. It was all confirmed via multiple sources as Purdue was beginning to take control of the game on the field...and you could feel it throughout RossAde. Purdue was manhandling their opponent, but it was quiet in the concourses and restrooms. I even saw a grown man crying about it- no joke. Granted, all of us felt like crying or vomiting then crying...but most of us didn't do it.

The salve in the Purdue family's massive would was this homecoming game. Honestly, I don't think it wasn't enough to make us feel better, but I'm kinda glad I was in Ross Ade when I got the news...and it would have been much worse had Purdue lost.

But, this Minnesota team looked as bad in person as the rumors told us they were. They made bad decisions, shot themselves in the foot time and time again, their receivers dropped a ton of passes (particularly, former Purdue recruit Marquis Gray) and their white helmets looked stupid.

If you screw with a school's uniforms, I think the alums generally think, it's OK if you're winning. Brewster wasn't. And another rumor that was circulating before the game is now reality- Tim Brewster is out...kinda...following their loss in West Lafayette today. You know what's worse than an interim coach? An interim coach that's already been fired. Nice work, Minnesota Athletic Dept!

Here are some of the noteworthy things I saw today:
-Antavian Edison looked like he was controlled via the R1 button a few times today. On more than one play, he was surrounded by Gophers, then juked one direction, then the opposite to escape nearly untouched.

-Henry's poise is impressive. He seems to be confident when he breaks the huddle and tends to just make good decisions. Plus, his offense looks to be improving each week. In today's game, they scored a TD/qtr...solid.

-Kerrigan is a bad all knew that already, but holy crap does he hit hard...and gets held EVERY SINGLE PLAY. Plus, he was the victim of a simply horrible personal foul call late in the game. This, following an absurd no-call after Henry took a knee and then was popped by a Minnesota D lineman...with no call made.

What next transpired was pretty great. The anger that Purdue fans had built up was taken out on the officials as the Ross Ade faith reminded the officials for a solid 5 minutes how bad these two calls were.

-Coach Hope made another lousy play call at the end of the first half. With Purdue up by 14 and Minnesota not able to move the ball effectively, Hope and Co. decided to kick a field goal instead of going for the 4th and 1 from the 1 yard line.

I love Hope's ability to motivate and stay positive...but some of the questionable Xs & Os decisions are infuriating. There seems to be one-or-so a game.

Speaking of Hope- where are our pals who have been calling for him to be fired? I guess we'll see you guys next week?

-GBI and a few post-game radio shows remarked about how lucky Purdue got on a few plays this afternoon...true. But, much of that luck was a result of Goldy's poor coaching and Purdue doing some things well. Our Boilers are hitting much harder, seem to be spaced better, are blocking better (both on the line and on the outside) and seem to be playing inspired.

-Rob Henry and OJ Ross were able to do what hadn't been done up to this point in the season- connect on a deep ball...that's a good sign.

-Purdue's DBs are now catching most of the interception opportunities given to them- I think there was one dropped ball, but the defensive backfield is getting better at taking advantage of QB mistakes.

Burning Questions
-Do you think Urban Meyer actually did retire after he decided to come back? UF now has 3 losses and will assuredly be unranked in this week's poll.

-Michigan's now 1-2 in the BT. If they drop another next week, will Jim Harbaugh be asked if he's available after the first of the year? Was anything less-surprising than Robinson getting hurt v. Iowa? For a guy his size taking that man shots, it's amazing he's taken as many snaps this season as he has.

-With MSU continuing to play as they have and aOSU losing easily in Madison, who's your prediction for BT champ at this point?

-If you saw the aOSU game, you watched Pryor while like a lil' baby for a full quarter. Do you think this is isolated or will his attitude problems continue throughout the season?


T-Mill said...

Pryor is exceedingly overrated. I knew that coming into the season and if Ryan Kerrigan continues his ownership of him next week we have a chance for a massive upset in Columbus.

And yes, I am spending the entire week referring to us as "The First Place Purdue Boilermakers" just to rub it in to OSU fans.

BoilerUpAT said...

Ryan Kerrigan factor will leave TP running for cover from KK, Gooden, Gaston and Co. Wisky basically ripped a page from our books by watching how we beat them last year. Good pressure with your front 4 and disciplined LB play to swarm to the running lanes and that forces him to be a pocket QB. He is exceptionally gifted athletically, but I'm not sure he has developed as much as he needs to between the ears.
I still think we have a chance, as always, but they will be ready to establish themselves after that loss. Plus, they are already seeking revenge on us from last year. If we can't move the ball on offense there is only so much our D can do to keep it from getting out of hand.

Purdue Matt said...

-Good to see Florida lose.

-Michigan is on the same exact path as last season. Still can't stand Rich Rod, hope the season goes down in flames again.

-MSU or Iowa appear to have good shots at winning the conference.

-Pryor sucks. His performance in the Rose Bowl was overhyped. He still sucks as a passer and always will.

Purdue Matt said...

I thought the jerseys were butchered as well. The numbers on the back were noticeably too small. I thought the train the front looked strange also. So glad that Nike will now be butchering NFL unis starting in 2012.

Shawn said...

-At a minimum, Urban Meyer wishes he retired after his difficult struggle with heartburn. The problem for the rest of us? Endless opportunities for EsPN mouths to talk about how much he misses Tebow.

-Michigan actually looked more effective with Forcier in at QB in the second half than with the "snap the ball to Robinson and get out of his way" offense. DR is a human highlight reel, but those highlights are just as likely to feature defensive backs.

-As the son of Spartans, I love seeing what Dantonio has done with MSU, but thanks to the John L. Smith days, I have a hard time believing they don't crumble at some point.

-Pryor's attitude hasn't changed much since his freshman year. He's gotten better at hiding it, but when things don't go well, he packs up his toys and goes home. Hopefully 94 keeps things from going well for 60 minutes next Saturday.

Anonymous said...

I don't care what else happens next week, win or lose, but to see Pryor on his back as much as possible. Hopefully by one of our younger members of the D-line so we can laud them next year as much as we do Kerrigan.

Still waiting to see if OX shows up.

jfiandt said...

- Urban Meyer is a good coach, but his offense is going through an ID crisis right now. With as many top 10 classes he has, the lack of development is glaring but it IS a young team. By next year, they'll be fine.

- Forcier was waaay more impressive than Robinson. He may be a goofy little SOB, but Forcier can move the chains and gives them the best chance to win. UM has to score a minimum of 42 points a game just to have a chance as their high school defense is putrid to say the least. In an offense like Dick Rod's the QB had better be as big as Tebow, or playing crappy defenses like WVU did in the Big Least in order to be effective.

- MSU looks dang tough and Iowa can hold serve against anyone when playing their traditional mistake-free ball. both teams do it with defense first and a wear-you-out offense rife with physical line play. That formula works, just ask Barry Alvarez.

- Pryor is a QB that plays better when in the lead. If the game is close, he tends to force things as opposed to allowing the game to come to him. Tressel ball relies on a mistake-free, grind-it-out mentality in regards to QB play and Pryor is a bit of a gambler. If he gets pressured, he panics. If he has to sit in the pocket and throw, he forces it into small windows. Keep him from running wild, and you slay the beast. On top of that, he's a d-bag of epic proportions and deserves every face-plant that comes his way.

chops1221 said...

Speaking of OSU, have a bite of this delicious piece of irony:

zlionsfan said...

um, no, Forcier does not give Michigan a better chance to win. He's not mobile enough to run the zone read the way that Robinson can, his accuracy against Iowa actually wasn't that good (17/26/2 vs. Robinson's 13/18/1), and if you think that what he's done so far indicates that he's a significantly better QB for that offense than Robinson is, I don't know what to tell you. Both QBs have made bad decisions this year. Forcier, however, cannot break a defense open on the ground, and Robinson can. Robinson can learn not to throw passes into coverage on a line; Forcier can't learn to be faster. (mgoblog can explain this in much better detail than I can; ironically, one thing they've been hoping to see in the offense is the midline option that Purdue has used effectively the last couple of games. This is another weapon that is dangerous in Forcier's hands but dynamite in Robinson's.)

I'm not sure there's one team that stands above the others at the top of the conference, and we won't know for sure, given that MSU and OSU don't play this year. Those two, Wisconsin, and Iowa all can play very, very well when they have things going, and I suspect any one of those teams can play like a non-Top 25 team when things aren't going well. Michigan State's off to a great start, but they've really only played Wisconsin and Illinois, both at home. They shut down Illinois' offense, but they looked like crap the first half too.

Purdue's domination of Minnesota was nice to watch. I wish we knew more about how bad the Gophers really are ... it's good to squash a bad team, but it's not like it says that much about your team. The next three games certainly will. The defense needs to do the same thing to Pryor it did last year: pressure him, contain him, and make him make quick decisions. Hopefully the O-line can continue to open holes for Henry and the RBs.

Ben said...

What a difference a few weeks have made with this football team. A few weeks ago we didn't look competent enough to field a B10 team. This week we are tied for 1st in the B10...and remain as the only undefeated team in conference play that is not ranked.

Not that we have made THAT much improvement in my opinion- but a BCS conference- undefeated, while other teams with losses in conference are ranked....this is the uphill crappy battle that is the BCS. This is why I hate the system....and I'm not a convinced a playoff is the way to go either- but what the hell do I know? I'm just a Purdue engineer- one grunt food, two grunt water.

Michigan State faces the same uphill battle to get to a championship game....IF (and that's a huge if) they can run the table. I like their odds about as much as I like Purdue's odds of running the table the rest of the season.

The next 5 games will be a real test for this team...but 1 game at a time. This squad has beat OSU before...of course I believe we can do it again. At the shoe will be a tougher challenge....but the game is played on the field, not in the stands.

I think the jury is still out regarding this team. We have at times looked too thin to give Hope a shred of leniency....then they turn around and peel off a few wins and are showing signs of improvement.

That is paramount. If no improvement is made week to week- people will continue to call for Hope's head. If we remain competitive and win a few that we are not expected to, the fan base will be quelled and we will all hope to beat Rittenburg's prediction of the Little Caesar's bowl.

Purdue Matt said...

What do you think about the IU Star's decision to publish this interview now? I think its a deliberate slap in the face to Purdue.

boilerdowd said...

Regardless of their motivation, it smarts to read it.

UAZip said...

I wore authentic 2000-era gear on Saturday and looked better than the players on the field, and did you notice that Purdue Pete wore a Champion jersey from that era as well? The Nike "throwbacks" were indeed knockoffs. Not as bad as Nike's supposed Alstott throwback (which is a disaster), but still not great.

A pick 6 turning into a touchback the other way may have been the last straw for Brewster. Killer for Minnesota....