Salty Chips Smash Overmatched Boilers
Yeah, it happened again. A pick-six on a floater by Etling and a busted defense on a routine pass over the middle dug a sizable hole for the metallic beige and black and left a decent-sized Purdue crowd stunned...Hazell's Boilers were down two scores at the 7:29 mark in the first quarter. A few minutes later, (arguably) Purdue's best defensive player and most-effective punt returner, Frankie Williams, decided to target a CMU wide receiver and was correctly ejected. And just like that, the figurative air was out of Ross-Ade stadium.
In the second quarter, Purdue had a chance to make it a 7 point game as they headed into halftime...but another dumb penalty moved them back, Griggs missed the FG, and Purdue got NOTHING...and didn't like it at all.
Purdue's defense only allowed 333 yards of total offense; a pretty paltry number in this age...but the yardage came when it was needed; seemingly on third downs.
The stats don't tell the story of this game, except for a few, in my opinion. CMU had one penalty for just five yards. Purdue had 7 for 69 yards...but I would have guessed there were more; they just seemed to be at key times. When Purdue needed a big play, it didn't happen- It was kind of the polar opposite of the WMU game just a week ago.
CMU is a Senior-laden team with a Sophomore QB...and their experience made them look like a team of men playing against boys, especially in the trenches in the closing quarter. Time and again, the Chippewas would run draws and simply move Purdue's front back three to five yards as they chewed up clock and the field. The final score was 38-17...but it felt worse.
The only reason it wasn't was because of an ill-advised pass by Rush in the fourth quarter that Bentley picked off and raced 44 yards the other way. They didn't need to pass late in the game...at all really, because Purdue's run defense was deplorable. Our Boilers allowed CMU's top two backs to 176 yards and over five yards per carry. Early, CMU took advantage of Purdue's ends and LBs getting too far up the field as jail break screens broke Purdue's back time and again...but at the end of the game, Purdue looked gassed and physically-inferior. There's the rub for me, more than anything- Purdue didn't just lose, they were manhandled by Central Michigan.
As I type, the class of the Big Ten, MSU, is rolling over Oregon. Like J and I have said a million times in the past year, it looks like Purdue plays a different sport much of the time than the top of the Big Ten...or as we saw today, the MAC. My Boilers look confused, poorly-disciplined, and poorly-coached...yet again.
And speaking of coaching, that was one of the parts of the game Purdue lost today. They also lost the game defensively, offensively and on special teams. Everybody got involved in this debacle.
Something happened that I wanted to see today- Appleby got some playing time. After Etling's second pick of the day, number 12 was under center. Promptly, he led Purdue on a scoring drive that ended with a 23 yd TD to Anthrop. Another interesting note of Appleby's time at QB was that Macarthy actually got some playing time...and showed that he deserves it with 3 catches for 33 yards; one of them with some tough YAC as a Chip hung around his neck.
Appleby's ensuing drives weren't as sharp as his first; CMU went into a prevent defense in which a three-man rush collapsed the pocket time and again...as Appleby scrambled for his life, he seemed to be directing traffic as Shoop's deep passing routes gave him no safety valve.
Appleby finished 7/17 with a TD. Etling was 17/32 with 0 TDs and 2 Ints.
I've never thought that inserting Appleby into the lineup was a cure-all; I still believe that. But he seems more accurate and more confident. And the biggest defense of Etling during Spring and camp was that he protected the ball better than #12. The two picks were enough for even Hazell to bring in the back-up. I doubt the starter will change next week.
Before the game this morning, I reviewed predictions for the game...on three Purdue websites. I didn't see one person, besides yours truly, that thought CMU would win. But make no mistake, I was wrong as well. I thought Purdue would compete and be in the position to win today; they were never in the game.
So while their 1-1 record is what I thought it would be at this point, I didn't think that one of their "easier" contests would be a lambasting. Small problems that looked correctable a week ago versus a bad opponent suddenly look monumental as they prepare for a better team, Notre Dame, in Indianapolis. From what I've seen, UND's uniforms for the game will look like Kent State's...and while I thought playing a team dressed like a MAC opponent might help Purdue's psyche, now I know that Purdue will be seeing a MAC team in its collective nightmares.
J and I will be in Lucas Oil Stadium for the unusual contest in Indianapolis...Look for us- we'll be the two really handsome guys in Purdue t-shirts.