Saturday, November 17, 2012

Staying Alive: Boilers Win in Champaign

They dug deep...they persevered...they fought through boredom and the urge to go to the hardware store.  I'm of course speaking of all of the Purdue fans who stayed awake for watched the throwback first half between an awful Illinois team, on Senior day, and a not-too-great Purdue team in their final stretch.

Danny Hope said that, in spite of being in the building, Gary Nord DID NOT call plays.  But, he was wearing a headset, taking notes and clearly had some effect on the Purdue offense for much of the game. The gameplan we saw versus Iowa was no where to be its place, an array of draw plays, screen passes, and, of course, first down wheel routes were on display in the storied stadium that Red Grange built (not literally).
Sarcastic cheering, even in photos, is pretty funny.
At the end of the first half, it was 6-3 in favor of the good guys...and the game had all of the excitement of a 6-3 game.  But, Purdue was given the gift of two turnovers on Illinois' side of the field and another not too deep in Purdue territory...those three turnovers, of course, led to ZERO points for Purdue.

At the end of the first quarter though, Purdue had one yard passing and eight yards of total offense.  Those stats are absolutely legit.  And on the opposite side of the ball, the fighting Illini had 29 yards of passing and not many yards rushing.  It wasn't that these two defenses were just firing off of the ball and doing everything right.  Oh no, this was an exhibition of two of the least-inventive and most-boring play-callers, not in the nation, but in the history of college football.  We know Illinois' OC was one of them...I'm just not positive who was the guy calling the game for our Boilers.

In the second half, it started out similarly, but a few minutes into the third quarter, Akeem Hunt broke free on a wheel route in which there were no Illinois defenders in the stadium, it seemed.  He scored easily as Purdue's linemen pulled and couldn't find anyone to hit for about 25 yards.

Hunt's 63 yard catch led him to lead all Boilers in receiving for the game...sure, there were a few passes thrown and caught by Hope's squad, but most were for around three or four yards.  Marve finished the game with a solid outing and utilized the gameplan given to him as well as possible while completing nearly 70% of his passes for 173 yards.  But, he kept the first touchdown drive alive with his lone ACL as he scrambled in a pocket that was pretty non-existant all day long.

One thing the OC did well was feed the RBs, especially in the closing 15 minutes of the game.  Shavers ran hard all game, and finished with 99 yards on 21 carries.  Cottom had a couple hard runs as the change up back after Bolden went down...and Bolden was ripping it up until he was hurt after a 63 yard run. He finished with 93 yards on 7 carries.  But during the big run, it looked like he re-tore the fourth right ACL that he's had.  In fact, I was pretty positive that he had done it.  Thankfully, I was wrong.  He tweaked his hamstring...but instead of running out of bounds after the injury, he hobbled about 45 yards with a bum right wheel.  The dude is a badass...always has been, always will be.

Purdue's defense kept Illinois in front of them for the most part, but Scheelhaase did what he does v. Purdue as he scrambled for a ton of yards as his pocket collapsed time and again.  He led the Illini with 76 yards rushing to go along with his 160 yards passing.  Scheelhaase will graduate this season, but might take advantage of the stupid NCAA rule that allows players to transfer to another school if their current grass isn't green enough school doesn't offer the grad program they want to pursue.  I'm pretty sure Illinois doesn't have what he wants to study.
"Would they fire me
after one season?"

Purdue's defense allowed 17 points on the day, and just 333 yards of total offense.  That's pretty damned respectable in this era of high point totals and mileage, not yardage.  But this Illinois team is unconventional.  They don't like scoring (they've scored 17 or fewer points in all of their B1G games) and they really don't like winning much either...they're now 2-9 (0-7) with an extremely weak schedule that didn't help them out too much.

The Seniors on defense did play big though, it seemed that Maci, Johnson, Ezenwa, Charlot and of course, Short were around the ball all day.

The ST units shined today.  Webster punted fact had a huge 60 yarder late in the game that gave Illinois a very long field after Anthrop downed the Illini on the five.  McCartney was 2-for-2 while kicking field goals and 2-for-2 while kicking points after.  And Hunt averaged a solid 22 yards/return on KO returns. The little things matter...and they especially mattered in this 20-17 victory today.

It's funny, there are some Purdue fans who wished Purdue to lose today in order to insure that Hope would be gone at the end of the season...but we believe the damage is already done regardless of what happens and has happened the last two weeks.  The facts are still the facts, and Iowa, Illinois and IU are three very bad teams...heck, a few of the good teams in the conference that kicked the hell out of our Boilers aren't even that good.  And the season ticket sales have spoken loudly to the Athletic Department.  All of that said, I don't know a Purdue fan, I mean a real Purdue fan that can legitimately say they want to see IU beat Purdue in Ross-Ade on the Senior Day of Short, Marve, Shavers, Johnson, Bolden and others.

My wife and I will be at the game next Saturday.  Like many of you out there, she hasn't been to a game in two I'm hoping she gets to see Purdue beat the hell out of IU for old time's sake.

I don't agree that a 6-6 record in this era of football is at all special or noteworthy, as Hope told us it would be last week. What I do know is that having a losing record, with this talented of a team and this weak of a schedule, would be an abomination.  Plus, a crappy bowl is much better than the Oaken Bucket becoming a quazi bowl game.

I'm looking forward to sending the Seniors off with a win...and if IU's QB passes for 600 yards, I really don't give a damn.  As we saw today in Happy Valley, and a few years ago in Ross-Ade, eye-popping passing stats are worth little when they lead to a loss.

Go Boilers, beat little sister like a rented mule.
Send them home sad, Seniors.


strawmy57 said...

For the second year in a row it takes the bucket game to go bowling. Last year we squeaked by on a much less talented, but equally more hyped up Hoosier team. Now the talent gap, either through coaching or otherwise, has narrowed, but IU still has this teams number in getting up to play a game. IU would be 7-4 if they knew how to finish. At this point it is clear that Wilson is much better than Hope in half the time. IU should win this game by 10+ points, no bowl, No Hope, bring on Deoren.

zlionsfan said...

Something to keep in mind is that because the two best teams in the East are ineligible, the Big Ten can't fill all its bowl spots this season - no return to Detroit - and because the Big Ten doesn't force bowls to pick in order, Purdue could stumble into a significantly better bowl this year, even with a 6-6 record.

Right now, only five teams are eligible; Michigan State, like Purdue, is 5-6 with one game left, but they visit Minnesota to close the season, and the way they've been playing, that's probably going to be a tough game.

A win against Indiana could put Purdue in the Texas Bowl against the sixth-choice Big 12 team (again, not required to be taken in order): Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, TCU, Iowa State, and West Virginia are all around that spot. The other option is the Heart of Dallas Bowl against the eighth-choice Big 12 team: see above list, but throw Baylor in the mix as well.

That's a good thing for Hope because it means he could possibly steal a win against a quality opponent to finish the season - it may not be enough to save his job, but it's better than another MAC opponent ... although honestly, if you've seen Northern Illinois or Kent State play this season, maybe it'd be better not to play them anyway.

But it's a bad thing, because I think we can all imagine West Virginia or Oklahoma State routing the Boilers in December. (They don't still think about that Alamo Bowl thing, do they?)

Michael R. said...

You do realize this Boiler team lost to the only two undefeated teams in the country.

U-P Boiler said...

Boilerdowd, I survived DeMoss, Agase, Akers, Colletto, and how Hope - and I never rooted for our opponents. While it IS tempting to want Indiana to beat Purdue to assure Hope is shown the door, perhaps the best way to put it is, "I hope Purdue pastes Indiana...and nobody shows up." Burke is a bean counter first, and no butts in seats speaks louder to him than wins and losses.

boilerdowd said...

Thanks for staying loyal, like you deserve better than what we saw this season.

zlions- WVU, OkSt, and co. would beat the hell out of our Boilers...I don't like that scenario at all.

conk said...

That was some pillow fight wasn't it?!

It's going to be ugly for the Big Ten across the board in the bowl games this year. I cringe thinking about the SEC matchups, and probably the Rose Bowl too.

Anyways, Dallas over Detroit? I may actually go even if we get 70 hung on us by the pokes or west virginia.

Jim said...

Great write-up. Give McCartney credit for the field goals, though.

CalTravelGuy said...

When the Universe allows Notre Dame to become #1 in football while Indiana is #1 in basketball, then there should be an AUTOMATED MECHANISM that triggers the firing of Purdue's Athletic Director. No exceptions. Thank you, Mr. Burke. Goodnight.

boilerdowd said...

my bad, Jim...bad things happen when I hurry; which is often.

BoilerRick said...

Game reminded me of LSU - Ala last year except everyone is smaller and slower