Predicto Time: Blowout Edition
We're one day away from Coach Hazell's first home game at Purdue. It would be a lot more exciting if the Boilers were 1-0 or maybe if the fanbase wasn't so despondent after the showing in Cinci. But enough about that, right? It didn't happen and it felt like a gut punch. But I also think we all agreed that even if year one was a washout, that it would be far too soon to judge the new regime. Let's keep that in mind as we move forward. The only caveat -- and I'll say this before you all point it out -- is that yes, there needs to be visible improvement. Losing can be acceptable for a short time, as long as the team looks like it's getting better. If it continues to look like the mismanaged, undisciplined, unprepared bunch that Danny Hope oversaw, that's what nobody will accept.
On the plus side, the field is going to most likely look better than it ever has. None of us can remember it looking this cool, and many of us have long wished for something as cool as a motion P at midfield.
Personally (J here), I also love having "Boilermakers" (as opposed to "Purdue" or "Boilers") in the South end zone.
As for the pedicto, we had one starry-eyed optimist, who chose poorly...while the rest of the tribal council felt the day would not end happily. But nobody felt it would be the smackdown that it was.
Boilerdowd - 1-0
zlionsfan - 1-0
Panda - 1-0
Tim - 1-0
J - 0-1
Fortunately, the sacrificial lamb is being led into Ross-Ade in the form of Indiana State. And the cabal seems optimisitic. Read on to see how optimistic...
Now everyone is back down to reality following the stomping in Cincy, let’s move onto the only “Cupcake” on the schedule Indiana State. After scoring 35 points on IU, the Sycamores have to be coming into Ross Ade with confidence.
All three of ISU’s offensive touchdowns last week came through the air, so the secondary is going to be important in stopping the Sycamores. With Ricardo Allen injured and status for the game unknown, someone is going to need to step up for the Boilermakers. Don’t let the passing touchdowns fool you completely the Sycamores aren’t one-dimensional. ISU has senior running back Shakir Bell who ran for 27 touchdowns during his first three years at ISU. After racking up a 100 yard game last week, he will be a big part of the offense.
ISU’s offense has some talent, but the defense is suspect. Allowing 73 points to the Hoosiers is nothing to write home about. If Purdue can exploit the weakness on defense and take care of the football, they will win this game easily. After four turnovers last week, Purdue will need to tighten up the ball control in order to be successful; this would be a great week to start.
Following the pain of last week, this game should be a win for the Boilermaker faithful, but still expect some growing pains.
Purdue 63 ISU 27
For the last couple of seasons, Indiana State has been basically a top-10 team. This is easy to accomplish if you can break even in the Missouri Valley Conference, also known as "where two-time defending national champion North Dakota State plays". Throw in perennial challengers Northern Iowa and Youngstown State, new contenders Illinois State and South Dakota State, and the MVC becomes a place where posting back-to-back .500-or-better records in conference play is quite something. In addition, the Sycamores' defense last season was one of the best in their division ... which, remember, is I-AA.
So all that nice stuff about Indiana State needs to be taken in that context. Trent Miles built a pretty solid I-AA program, and as we have seen, the best I-AA programs can be quite a challenge for even seasoned I-A teams, but Miles is now coaching at Georgia State (which I cannot explain - that is most definitely not even a horizontal move, not even with GSU as a new sacrificial lamb in the Sun Belt), and it remains to be seen whether Mike Sanford can keep ISU on that same path. (If you're my age and Sanford's name doesn't ring a bell, then it means you too have blocked out the Akers years. Sanford was actually the QB coach for the Good Guys in 1987 and 1988, when he coached up such luminaries as Brian Fox, Doug Downing, and future Patriot Shawn McCarthy. Sorry, that last one was a joke - McCarthy made the Patriots as a punter, although he did play QB for the Boilers as well.)
If you buy into attempts to gauge relative strengths of teams from different divisions - it's no easy task to do that well - then last year's ISU squad, despite its performance, would have been roughly on par with Kansas, the powerhouse coached by renowned football expert Charlie Weis, he of the 1-11 record in Lawrence. Indiana, not a solid team at all, struggled with ISU last season, but did beat them, 24-17. This year, they more than doubled up the Sycamores, which may say something about both teams' relative strength.
What it means for our purposes is that ISU is no Appalachian State. Teams like this are on your schedule for two reasons: to give them games they can play that will limit their travel expenses, and to give your third- and fourth-string players some serious PT. This is still something of a free year for Hazell, but as we have seen in Champaign, even a first- or second-year coach can be on the hot seat if the team is unimpressive enough to warrant it.
Expectations in general may be low this season, but the expectation for this game is simple: win big. The Good Guys will. Hazell will call off the dogs in the second half, but the game will be well out of reach by then.
Indiana State 0 7 0 10 - 17
Purdue 21 14 6 0 - 41
Some might call me a pessimist. Some do call me a pessimist. I consider myself a pessimistic realist. Being from Cleveland I have been conditioned my entire life to expect the worst of even the best possible sporting situations. The Drive. The Fumble. The Shot. The Gut Punch To An Entire City. Now you might ask yourself, "Self, what does any of this have to do with Purdue?" Well, Self, everything.
Think back to Purdue's drive in the 1st quarter. First and goal at the 5. It could have been a defining drive. Score early and get momentum that lasts a season. That's the idiot optimist in me. He's never right. The other 98% of me says that he's seen this play calling before. In comes the play from the sideline. What are we going to run coach? We're going to run the "Let's pretend we're in a Charlie Chaplin movie, throw some oil all over ourselves and the football, ingest some horse tranquilizers, take our cleats off and just be a bunch of jackasses." Ready? Break! Well they ran that play to perfection. False start. Fumble. Sack. Intimidation by a cheerleader. Missed field goal. It was a classic drive from the past 4 years in an unwelcome 2013 comeback.
Shortly after that they did achieve some forward momentum thanks to the punt team of all things. They should try running that play more often. It keeps both troubled parts of the team off the field. We don't have the worry about the offense going backwards and we don't have to worry about the defensive giving up 99 yard runs up the middle by Bo Jackson where he gets to the 1 yard line and then runs all the way back to the other side of the field and then back in for a touchdown, all the while the Purdue defense looks like those players from the vibrating football game of the 70's.
Long story short, it was an irritating game and I've had too many horse tranquilizers my self.
I have no idea what to expect of this game. Logic says that Purdue crushes Indiana State. The downtrodden fan of the past 5 years says that it's possible to lose this game. What does Hazell do to restart the fire he started in the fans but apparently failed to start in the players? I hope that last week was like Tiller's first game. Get beat by Toledo in the first game of his Purdue career and then come back to beat Notre Dame the next week. I'd be lying if I wasn't looking past ISU to the rest of the schedule and trying to find some victories. Hopefully Coach Hazell and the team aren't looking anywhere but in the mirror to decide what kind of team they want to be.
Purdue - 34 Indiana State - 17
Forget about your worries and your strife...a D-1AA opponent is coming to RA!
Gone are Henry's woes with getting plays off...gone are the problems with linebackers dropping perpetually in coverage...heck, running the ball will become easy for a bit too!
ISU is still licking it's wounds from the shellacking they took at the hands of the mighty Hoosiers...so injures in key positions will make the Sycamores a less-than-well-oiled machine.
PLUS, the good guys are simply bigger, faster, stronger...better...AND kinda pissed off.
Coach Haze gets his first 'W' as Purdue's coach...easily.
Purdue 42 ISU 20
I detailed earlier in the week what I want. I want Purdue to mercilessly crush the Sycamores. I expect lots of points, lots of energy and a relentless attack from Purdue on both sides of the ball. If these guys aren't amped to come out at home and crush an overmatched opponent in Coach Hazell's first game in DA FURNACE, then I'll be seriously concerned about them winning any more games this year. Seriously. I know they will win games, but tomorrow should be a hell of a lot of fun and little to worry about. I expect them up by at least two TDs after one quarter and I damn near demand a 5+ TD victory.
I also think this is one of those games where even if Rob Henry is the long-term starter this season, it would be great to let the younger guys get some reps, too.
Make it happen, boys.
Purdue 51 ISU 17