Purdue Does What They’re Supposed to Do, Throttles Ohio 44-21
(Photo credits: Nicky Semenza; @nickysemenza)
Purdue did what they were supposed to do tonight….and that’s news. It’s been a while since a Purdue team came into a game and did what we all think they should do. Frankly, even when it’s looked promising, Purdue has found a way to lay an egg, find a banana peel, whatever metaphor you’d like. Tonight, in the first night game under the permanent lights at Ross-Ade, Purdue was coming off a very encouraging performance against a very talented team and were facing a MAC team at home. That should mean a victory in your home opener if you’re a Power 5 team that has any shot of being taken seriously.
Purdue had lost three of their last four against MAC schools going back to the start of the Hazell era. Tonight, the Boilers left no doubt and pounded away at Ohio wherever they smelled weakness.
In one of those little things that shows you that coaches are paying attention and that coaching matters, Purdue – who had not been able to establish the run last week – began the game with five straight run plays. Sindelar started again and was sharp, but was victimized by three or four pretty terrible drops by his receiving corps, otherwise his numbers would have looked better. As it was, he tossed a touchdown and got Purdue out to a good start.
Then David Blough came in and Purdue absolutely owned the second quarter. We’ll have to get the research staff on it, but I’m not sure the last time Purdue won a quarter 24-0 like they did tonight in the second. Blough threw TD passes of 62 and 31 yards while Tario Fuller ran one in and Spencer Evans had a FG. Blough’s first TD was a two-toss flea flicker that Blough then hit his wide open (and sure-handed) TE Cole Herdman for the 62 yard bomb. It didn’t get any play, but Blough was lit up by two Ohio defenders as he released that ball. (Incidentally, no matter what various networks/sites tell you, that was not a “double reverse.”)
The second of those second quarter touchdowns was another thing that has changed for Purdue. With time winding down and Ohio facing a third down, Purdue called time out to hopefully get the ball back with somewhere under 30 seconds to go in the half. This kind of thing would have backfired on the previous two coaches in some spectacular fashion. Tonight, though, Purdue then forced a fumble on the next play and got the ball at the Ohio 31. One play later, Blough had hit Anthony Mahoungou (can we just call him Anthony Mahagony?) for a strike to move the game to 34-7 at the half and effectively put it away.
Purdue was outscored 14-10 in the second half but it didn’t much matter by then. They had secured a comfortable victory (not sure when the last of those was, either) in front of a sizable crowd (45,000+) for a September game against a MAC team. Keep winning and getting 50,000+ in there will not be a problem. Boilerdowd will be by eventually to give a firsthand account of the atmosphere but reports from our friends on twitter suggest it was pretty electric.
For the game, David Blough was 11/13 for 235 yards, three TDs and….ZERO picks. Sindelar didn’t have any, either. Make that the third or fourth thing I can’t remember happening recently.
Blough also showed actual development from last week, at least to me. He was super-smart with the ball, threw no Favre-like balls into a cluster of defenders, etc. I saw him look at his primary targets and then think better of it. I really liked the progress and if he’s going to make decisions like that, he’ll be the unchallenged starter within another game.
Everyone was concerned with Purdue’s receiving corps before the season and it’s turned out to be well-founded. They really aren’t very good and had a number of terrible drops tonight. This game would have been out of hand earlier had they been able to make catches. Jackson Anthrop remains a bright spot there and Purdue had two tight ends lead the way in receiving yards tonight. That has to be a rarity as well.
Purdue spread around the running responsibilities but Tario Fuller had himself a game, going for 142 yards on 16 carries and a TD. Lankford-Johnson chipped in 62 yards and we also got to see some play from Jared Sparks, who lined up as a QB for a drive but didn’t attempt a pass. He later got a few plays at wideout and ended the game with four rushes for 24 yards.
The defense came to play again today, forcing two fumbles that they recovered in the first half to win Boilerdowd a t-shirt for his bet with Michael on the Handsome Hour this week. Coach Holt clearly put on his old lady reading glasses and got his D ready to play.
We felt that Purdue absolutely needed to win this game almost regardless of your prediction for the season. If you only saw two or three wins, this was likely among them. So it’s not only nice to see it be a win, but to see it not be a squeaker.
Next up is Missouri next week on the road. It’s a 4 PM start and given the way both offenses are playing, you might need to set the over/under at 115 points.
Man, it’s fun to see a team play well and look good. There still may not be a ton like this in 2017, but being a Purdue football fan tonight feels good.
- I heard them playing Quad City DJs “Come on Ride the Train” at the end of the game. Just replace Shout with that!
- Les Miles was found ambling around the sidelines and put in the booth for the majority of the second half. As my friend watching the game with me said, he sounds like he’s suffered a slight head injury.
- Terry Wright has a name like your mom’s realtor.
- Frank Solich, Ohio’s coach, turned 73 today. He looks like he’s 83 with the way he angrily stands on the sidelines. I’m sure this was a late night for him. Just kidding. Happy birthday, coach!
(Photo credits: Nicky Semenza; @nickysemenza)