According to Purdue players and coaches alike, this afternoon's game v. PSU was an important one.
The high expectations of camp and the early season weren't completely out of reach as Purdue could still take a step forward for the program, by winning out. Seven wins for this team would be pretty solid...A bowl in Texas instead of Detroit wasn't out of the question, and Purdue's player's coach would surely earn another extension by leading his squad to a 7-5 season. So our Boilers were playing for their coach...playing for pride, and playing for this Senior class. All of those motivators seemed to matter little this afternoon in God's country.
Robert Marve's speech earlier this week was the stuff of legends...but Purdue's subsequent play was not. It wouldn't matter if Marve was at QB or Drew Brees was behind center...Nord and Hope's gameplan and play-calling was uninventive, uninspiring and flat. The game crept along at a snail's pace (at least for Purdue fans).
Purdue wasn't behind by much...then was behind by a few scores...then was completely out of the game. Lousy spacing, defensive schematic breakdowns, poor tackling, awful execution and vanilla, predictable play-calling put Purdue in a position that we're all familiar with: the prone position.
Make no mistake, this PSU team is just OK. They're not great...but Purdue made them look like a juggernaut this afternoon. I was looking for a spry JoePa on the sidelines...and KiJana Carter to break the huddle...but all I found was a mediocre QB and a slow, plodding RB...who kicked Purdue's ass time and time again. The end result was another thrashing: Purdue 9 PSU 34.
Purdue's defense couldn't get a stop when they needed it...and the offense was no better. At one point, our Boilers were averaging under 3 yards/pass attempt...that number swelled to 4.6 with TerBush's strong effort in relief of #9.
Back when J and I were students, we just waited for the moment when Purdue would be out of the game...today, that moment came pretty early in the game as Purdue didn't put up much of a fight after midway through the second quarter. The familiar two yard out was back in force on offense...and on the other side of the ball, Purdue looked like they were trying to catch a jack rabbit, but to no avail.
I still believe that these players are capable of much more than what we're seeing...and we have proof: UND is still undefeated and Purdue took them to the edge of defeat. Same goes for anOSU. But games like last week, this week and both the Wisky and UM games make even the most-faithful Boiler doubt that anything's left in the tank.
Shavers averaged 8.1 yards/carry...but Hunt was the guy that Nord went to as the game was slipping away. Edison had a couple uncharacteristic drops, but still finished with 93 yard receiving and a TD...but he was forced to catch the ball with his back to the defense and his feet in cement...not by his design, mind you.
The sad thing is, Nord, Tibesar, Gibbony, Hope and company probably haven't reached the bottom yet. Purdue travels to Iowa next week. Iowa is not good...they're sub-.500 and they lost to IU today...plus, Purdue hasn't won at Kinnick since I was in high school...and many of Purdue's players weren't born, at that point. What I'm saying is that I'm not counting on things to change next week, or for the remainder of this season, sadly.
Watching college football for me is tough right now. As I type, Oregon is scoring with regularity...K State is enjoying a resurgence under a guy that looks like my grandpa...and college football is still fun for some fan bases. But, it's not much fun for Boilers right now. In fact, it looks like Purdue isn't even playing the same game that many teams, like Sumlin's Aggies and others, are playing right now.
One of Purdue's really good fans came up from Texas this weekend to watch the game in the nice seats in Ross-Ade. He didn't buy the seats from a scalper, but he purchased these years ago...and due to work and life, he doesn't get to go to many, but keeps supporting his Boilers with his time and wallet. The reward for his long trip was his Boilers laying a gigantic egg on the RA prescription athletic turf. Fans like this guy I'm talking about, our pal, deserve better...hell, Purdue fans in general deserve better than what we saw today...and what we've seen this season.
The coaches didn't give the players the tools to win today, and the players repaid them with a lackluster effort, especially after the first quarter. This putrid blend of lousy effort and worse planning has helped create a nearly-unwatchable product clad in vegas gold and black this season.
37,500 seats were sold for the game today...and by the middle of the third quarter, about 25,000 die hards remained in their seats...I wasn't one of them.
My brother, a fellow Purdue grad, turned 35 yesterday. We celebrated his birthday at his home with an open house...during a four or five our span, 20-25 Purdue grads, along with their spouses and kids came through his house...and none of them seemed to indicate that they were too bothered by missing the game. Some even left their seats in RA empty while celebrating my brother surviving another year. Most of these men and women graduated during the Tiller era...But, the early oughts are a distant memory at this point, and in their place, the late-80s seem to have taken their place.