Purdue Throttles Mizzou in Columbia, 35-3

Purdue Throttles Mizzou in Columbia, 35-3

Feature image from @BoilerFootball.

This is a different Purdue team.

The last time Purdue won back-to-back victories was 2012, when news leaked of Danny Hope’s inevitable firing at the end of the year. To Coach Hope’s credit, his players banded together and rattled off three victories, and once the program changed hands we thought the new era would be different.

Then…uuh…

Purdue hadn’t put together consecutive wins since, and their average margin of defeat in games following  Hazell-era victories was a whopping 21 points.

This is a different Purdue team.

Purdue was a 7.5-point underdog, to a struggling yet talented Missouri squad who just scapegoat-fired their Defensive Coordinator. (The Mizzodcast, a lovely Tigers pod, told J Money on their last episode that he was “functionally a $600,000 linebackers coach”.) With Mizzou possibly getting a morale-boost after letting go of a widely-disliked coach, and Purdue coming off two extremely promising weeks, today’s game was shaping up to be a good-ol’-fashion game of “first one to 50 wins”. Vegas agreed, with the total points over/under set at 75.5.

Purdue dominated every facet of the game, from start to finish, to the tune of 35-3. On the road, against an opponent from the mighty SEC.

This is a different Purdue team.

Purdue walked in to a 90-degree Tiger stadium in Columbia, MO with their offense entirely unleashed. On the first drive of the game, David Blough completed a 21-yard dart to Anthony Mahoungou, avoided a sack and shovel-passed to DJ Knox for a first down, and Terry Wright ran a 18-yard reverse. To cap the drive, Blough resisted the urge to throw an endzone interception, tucked the ball, broke an arm-tackle, and ran easily for a 5-yard touchdown to set the fast-paced, Purdue-dominant tone for the entire game.

The second drive was highlighted by a demoralizing screen to Tario Fuller for a 35 yard touchdown. The third, a devastating sequence of 7-yard gains punctuated by a Richie Worship bruiser.

The fourth drive is finally where Mizzou’s pass rush got the best of Purdue, and forced a punt. Though Purdue recovered the fumble on the return, a 48-yard missed field goal held them scoreless for the first time all game. The tide was turning, and things looked rough…wait did I mention Mizzou failed to score on literally every possession and were overwhelmed by Purdue’s pressure and things were not at all in doubt and I was dancing up and down my street to the confusion (yet, entertainment) of my neighbors.

Elijah Sindelar came in, after Blough had a bit of happy-feet and an earful from Coach Brohm, and directed the fifth drive to a nice Jackson Anthrop touchdown reception. Our Boilers finally let Mizzou get on the board after TE Brycen Hopkins tipped the ball for a Tiger INT, and halftime was greeted with a 28-3 scoreline.

Though the second half only included one more Markus Bailey interception-driven, 1-yard Worship touchdown, the defense was a joy to watch. Mizzou was demoralized, and DC Nick Holt refused to give them any space. Mizzou never even got into scoring position, averaging 4 plays before punting on each second-half possession. It was rare to see any Purdue team force mistakes like this, and cruise to a road victory…and yet, there we were, Purdue fans comfortably watching an easy SEC road game victory come to a close.

This is a different Purdue team.

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I was texting with two dozen Purdue fan friends during the game, and everyone seems to be walking on eggshells. Questions like “Is this sustainable, or just the adrenaline rush of a new coach?”, “Is this really an identity change?”, “What happens when Purdue isn’t an underdog to a bad team?”, and “Will Brohm even last the season at Purdue, or will some big fish scoop him up?” kept popping up on my screen, as if Boilermaker faithful were being duped. As if it were all an elaborate practical joke, with everything crashing back to reality soon. As if it were a fluke that Purdue was ever something other than a national joke of a football program, a fandom to tout with pride during the fall.

This is real, Purdue fans. Purdue has one of the best coaching staffs in the country, the envy of most fanbases outside college football royalty. The Boilermaker offense is back to a basketball-on-grass identity, driven by creativity and risk-taking despite being run by mostly 2-star recruits. Nick Holt’s defense, for the first time in ages, swarms the ball with a ferocity rarely executed by an entire Old Gold-clad side. We, as fans, have one of the more fun teams to root for in the country, and Coach Brohm is still playing with Darrell Hazell’s players.

Home games versus Minnesota, Nebraska, Illinois, and Indiana. Road games at Rutgers, Northwestern, and Iowa. Which of those 7 games feel dangerous now? Three games into a season, after 9 total victories in four years, how is that feeling even possible?

Sure, there are two near-certain losses vs Michigan and at Wisconsin, but don’t you feel confident that Brohm won’t let Purdue be entirely embarrassed? We had an awesome Char-Griller Kamodo grill to give away to anyone via any medium who accurately predicted today’s score, and nobody even came close. Who the hell knows anything for certain with this Purdue team anymore.

This Purdue team has us dreaming of 1997, when Joe Tiller took over Jim Colletto’s hapless 3-8 roster to finish 9-3 with an Alamo Bowl victory to boot. We might be getting carried away, taking too much from a moral victory vs Louisville, and two blowouts of possibly bad teams in Ohio and Mizzou. But allow yourself this irrational treat, fellow Purdue faithful. We haven’t had a football culture this fun to cheer for since, well, around early October of 2004.

This is a different Purdue team. This is a different Purdue culture. This is a different Purdue era. Strut, gloat, and enjoy every single second of it.

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Some more football-ish notes from the game:

  • Purdue’s white jersey/black pants/chrome gold helmet look is perfect.
  • I need Nick Holt’s “Showtime” shirt immediately.

 

  • Mizzou’s running back Damarea Crockett is a freaking star, and Purdue held him to 19 yards on 10 carries. He might be hobbled from the past few weeks, but the Tigers’ major driving force on offense is letting Crockett be a backfield threat to give space for their passing game. Regardless of why, Purdue won that battle.
  • Missouri finished 133 passing yards, 70 rushing yards. For, like, the entire game.
  • Purdue converted 8/17 third downs, and held Mizzou to 2/11. In football. Yes, American football. In 2017. On Earth, with regular rules and stuff.
  • David Blough finished with an efficient 22/28, 187 yard, 1 passing touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown game.  But, more importantly, he didn’t make a single boneheaded decision. Though some of the happy-feet need to be addressed, it was a refreshing moment of growth by the junior QB.
  • Tario Fuller (90 yards, 19 carries, 1TD) is Purdue’s featured, traditional running back. Richie Worship can be used in short-yardage situations, Lankford-Johnson and DJ Knox can be used as secondary backfield weapons, and Markell Jones (when he returns from injury) is talented enough to be a threat from every direction on the field. But Fuller is Purdue’s clear #1 running back, and I’m as stunned to type that as you are to read it.
  • I forgot what fun Saturday’s felt like. This was awesome.
Handsome Hour #109: Boilermakers Crush the Mighty SEC (thanks, Mizzou)

Handsome Hour #109: Boilermakers Crush the Mighty SEC (thanks, Mizzou)

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