After Four Years, Hazell's Squad Shows No Progress vs. Cincy
If your head wasn't in the clouds, or you simply weren't a blind optimist, you knew the state of Purdue football before today. A win versus an FCS foe at home in which your squad is gifted 14 points is a slam dunk...a game versus a respectable bowl team from the upper division was cold water on the head of Hazell's Boilers today.
Blough made some good throws, and showed that he has a big arm, but he forced the ball into places that there's no way it would have fit time and again. The end result, is he made the Cincy backfield look like the Ravens DBs a few seasons ago. At the end of it, five interceptions and a Markell Jones shoulder injury later, Purdue had allowed Cincy to gain over 500 yards of offense (262 on the ground) as they walked away with the 38-20 win in West Lafayette.
Before the injury, Jones had 47 yards on 15 carries...Blough had 33 on 3 carries. But the offensive line couldn't create enough space for Purdue to run the ball with any consistency. So Purdue looked to pass quite often. Blough ended the game with 401 yards on 37 completions (52 attempts)...but a few of the pics were pretty important- specifically, a lob into double coverage in the corner of the end zone when Purdue really needed points in the third quarter.
Instead, Purdue simply couldn't move the ball with consistency as the defense allowed the Bearcats to keep drives alive with third down conversions over and over.
Purdue didn't deserve to win because they're not in Cincy's league. Cincy looked better prepared, stronger and faster. There were two good things about the day for Purdue, in the loss. Once again, they had very few penalties; much like last week. They finished with just two flags. Secondly, in the fourth quarter they made a little charge and made the game less of a thrashing with a couple quick TDs...an 80 yard, 71 second TD drive made it seem less painful for a few minutes...but shortly after Purdue being revived, Cincy put the game away.
You don't throw for 400+ yards without receivers- Yancey had 7 catches for 113 yards, and Young had 7 for 116...both with a TD.
Purdue was down by a couple scores early in the second quarter, and after that the game was never in doubt. The undermanned Boilers fought, Maloney's offense is improved over Shoop's, but these Boilers are still reminiscent of every Hazell team during his previous three seasons. With Jones out, we're reminded of depth issues...and a if a few losses mount quickly, morale will fall and guys will find it harder to fight through 'little' injuries. In other words, buckle up, ladies and gentlemen, we're in for another looooooooong fall, it seems.
Hazell was deflated in his first game as a Purdue coach in Cincinnati...and in his 37th, this time at home in front of a few disgruntled, wet and loyal fans, Purdue was beaten up again. Cincy has been solid under Tubberville while Purdue has been abysmal under Hazell. A few more games like this; you know, never-in-doubt losses at the hands of OK or bad teams, and Bobinski will have no choice but to finally part ways with Hazell.
I saw today as the beginning of Hazell's end. The few remaining optimists told me that Purdue needed to be 3-0 after the pre-con...I giggled at the thought in spite of the weak schedule. Wish I had their hope, I just don't anymore. A similar loss to Nevada will make it pretty clear that Purdue must begin looking at candidates, I believe...but hey, I thought both coordinators needed to be fired in November of 2014. That didn't happen, obviously.
Purdue can't really tackle on defense, has trouble stopping the run on plays that are all but broadcasted as running plays, and generally don't stiffen ever on third downs. On the other side of the ball, this Sophomore QB isn't Drew Brees (but who is), as much as we'd like him to be. How many wins would Sophomore Drew Brees have with this system and this team around him anyway? No need to answer...just food for thought.
Today, Purdue allowed Cincy to win its first road game versus a Big Ten team since they did so versus IU in 1957. That's 18 years before i was born...and I'm bald, gray and have been out of Purdue for nearly 20 years. Purdue hasn't been ranked for a single week since this year's Frosh class was 9 years old...and Purdue hasn't been a contender for a conference title since Markell Jones was seven years old. Some of the darkest days of Purdue football's long history...are now.
We all want to see wins...lots of them. But, I think we'd take four as salve to our wounds, at this point- as long as it didn't mean a contract extension for Hazell. He seems like a really good dude that is absolutely drowning in the deep end of college football's pool. He looked like it during pre-season interviews, and sounded like it today following yet another loss in Ross-Ade.
Next up, our Boilers get the week off before welcoming Nevada to West La La.