Purdue beats SIU 35-13 and that's all you should know
Well, Purdue beat Southern Illinois 35-13, and it was by theoretically a handful of points, and if you didn’t watch the second half and just looked at the box score it was a successful outing…so, can we just stop the postgame analysis there? *checking my earpiece*
The bosses say no.
Ok, let’s start with the good stuff, otherwise known as the entire first half. Purdue looked like a legitimately successful FBS team playing an outmatched FCS opponent. SIU’s first two offensive drives ended in a lost fumble on a botched handoff and a Landon Feichter interception off a tipped Mark Iannotti pass. And man did Danny Etling look good as he took advantage of those turnovers.
I’ve never seen Danny so comfortable. He was unfazed in the pocket, completing a few quick hits to keep the ever-elusive momentum with Purdue. His first touchdown was that beautiful fade to Deangelo Yancey at the end of a fantastic drive, and it was without a doubt the single best pass he’s made as a Boilermaker. Etling made SIU pay after their second turnover by finding Danny Anthrop on a deep slant without safety coverage for a 44 yard touchdown. At this point, Purdue was on pace for a 76-0 win and I was happy about my blowout-win prediction.
Two deep SIU incompletions and a missed 47 yard field goal attempt after a 60 yard kick return had me thinking…was Purdue’s defense really playing that well, or was SIU QB Mark Iannotti so flustered that he was making a series of unforced errors? As these thoughts threatened to inject an ill-needed dose of reality into my mind, Deangelo Yancey dropped a 55 yard perfectly-thrown Etling bomb inside the Saluki 5 yard line that would have had me streaking around my block. Purdue managed to finish that drive with a field goal (after Etling threw a telegraphed near-pick in the end zone), ending the first quarter up 17-0.
Purdue continued to roll in the second quarter, but I started thinking again…either the secondary looks really really good, or Purdue was just allowing SIU to be an FCS team. Without getting my Big Ten hopes too high, I watched as Ryan Watson feasted with two coverage sacks and Purdue got great field position after a SIU penalty on the punt. Etling continued to make good decisions and finished with a TD off a designed keeper inside the 5.
Then Purdue started to be jerks about the huge lead, and I loved it. Hazell finally had the Boilers use that stupid pre-extra point formation and secured a two point conversion, pushing the lead to 25-0. Purdue got the ball back with one minute left in the half after an SIU field goal and after two runs that seemingly would bleed the clock until the second half, Etling launched a 40 yard completion to get the Boilermakers within scoring range.
From this point, however, things started to reach Danny Hope-levels of mismanagement. Instead of conserving time, Purdue took their sweet time to get to the line and lost any opportunity to go for 7 before the half ended, instead settling for a field goal to push the lead to 28-3. SIU opened the second half with 10 third quarter points, with seven coming off an early Mostert fumble. SIU’s dangerous tight end MyCole Pruitt slaughtered Purdue during the second half, finishing with 136 yards off 10 receptions. Purdue managed 26 whole yards in the third quarter, showing some frustrating levels of complacency that, frankly, they haven’t earned yet.
Thankfully, SIU isn’t a good enough team to take advantage of Purdue’s bad quarter. Etling burned almost 9 minutes with a 15 play drive that ended with a turnover on downs deep into SIU territory. SIU couldn’t produce a scoring drive, and an Austin Appleby garbage-time touchdown clinched the game for the good guys.
The lessons: Purdue is definitely a first-half team, they don’t respond well to halftime adjustments, they can get complacent/bored after holding on to a huge lead all game, and they should still be worried heading into Big Ten season. Even after all of that, Purdue is 2-2 heading into Big Ten season (basically the most-likely scenario we all expected before the season started) and still has some huge problem areas to sort out. But we are witnessing a much better team than last year, so I guess any progress is a good sign.
A few more thoughts:
- Purdue wore the train track helmets again…are they a regular part of the uniform now? Because, even though they aren’t perfect, I love them so much.
- Don’t get me wrong…I love Mostert and Hunt returning kicks/punts. But they are easily our best offensive weapons and kick returners are at greatest injury risk. Purdue doesn’t have anyone off the bench to at least take Mostert’s return spot and save him for more important spots in the game?
- A replacement referee suited off from the sidelines after Jalani Phillips inadvertently separated the umpire’s shoulder. I don’t really have anything more to add…that was just a super fun sentence to write.
- Corey Clements, a JUCO transfer from Arizona Mesa, is a 6’8” 400 lb beast of a human being and I want to see him in on every play because holy hell is he so much bigger than anyone else on the field.
- THE BIG TEN IS UNDEFEATED THIS WEEKEND THROUGH THE EARLY GAMES. SUCK IT, HATERZ. #B1GGGGG #BEEONEGEE #OTHERHASHTAGS
- The Big Ten Network here in Pittsburgh decided not to televise the game, which I don’t begrudge at all…especially since they made the game available on their “BigTen2Go” online platform. Today, though, it was riding the struggle bus. The stream continuously cut back to the MSU game after commercials, took forever to reload after commercials (a common issue not isolated to my stream), and completely cut out for the first chunk of the 4th quarter. I wish, just once, I could walk away from a Big Ten Network experience on any platform and be happy that Purdue is a member of this upstanding conglomerate. Instead, I end up yelling obscenities and drinking heavily.
- Austin Appleby come in for the last drive and looked good, but it might have been against a completely demoralized FCS team, so I’m basically invalidating anyone that uses that beyond-tiny sample to justify him starting over Etling (assuming Etling struggles during Big Ten season). Just wanted to get that into the ether.
- IT’S LEWJACK’S BIRTHDAY. HAPPY BIRTHDAY LEWJACK. WE MISS YOU.
Tweet of the day:
— Stid (@StidhamBrian) September 20, 2014
Purdue opens the Big Ten season next Saturday vs. Iowa. Rose Bowl or bust. (Oh man it’s gonna bust.)