This one smarts...I thought it'd be a shootout, it wasn't. I thought my Boilers would lose- they did...but that doesn't make a difference. It still stinks.
This one's a lot like the Oregon game- Purdue could have folded a few times, but kept fighting- that's good. But unlike the Oregon game, our Boilers were in the drivers seat at the end of the game. Playing from the lead is always the better position to be in, but Notre Dame did enough to win...and Purdue didn't shut the door.
You can point out key junctures in the game as the reason for defeat-
-Stupid, avoidable penalties killed Purdue all day long.
-The kickoff coverage continues to be mediocre at best. UND started at the 30 or better each time and Wiggs just isn't kicking the ball as deeply as he did last season.
-Like the NIU game, the offense disappeared in the first quarter and didn't really show back up until the second half. Elliott couldn't complete easy passes, the offensive line didn't create space for Bolden and the play calling was predictable during this period.
-Like every game this year, tackling was lousy during the same quarter and a half mentioned above. And because of that, the Crist-led Irish offense marched down the field with ease. The ten-point lead felt much larger at that point.
-The last touchdown by UND was not inevitable...but as the Irish got closer and closer to the goal line, the defense got more conservative, and because of that, it seemed like it might be. At the top of the drive, the linemen were twisting stunting and I believe there was even a blitz or two worked in. But, the front four was put in a position that they couldn't succeed as they were asked to rush straight up the field, the linebackers seemingly were told to contain and spy the wounded quarterback and the DBs dropped into man coverage. As we all know, this prevent-style defense didn't yield positive results.
Right after the game, I was flat-out pissed. As Purdue fans, we've seen this a lot- A team fights from behind to take the lead only to lose the game in gut-wrenching, heart-breaking fashion...and if you're like me, you were talking to the TV imploring somebody, anybody to make that one play that would seal it. And while it didn't happen, that doesn't mean it's time to throw in the towel. My brothers and I discussed what's next after the game for a little while- I don't have a choice, I can't stop getting emotionally involved in games that the Boilers play in; I don't have anything I'd rather do than watch Purdue play on Saturdays.
And I don't see any reason to believe the players are giving up or don't have heart. In the three losses, the guys on the field were selling out in an effort to win- guys are playing hurt and seem to be as angry about losing as I am each week. Let's hope Coach Hope can keep them together and not allow these last three games to end the season that is only a third of the way over.
While a lot bothered me about this game, I really liked some of what I saw too-
-Keith Smith is a mother and seemed to want the ball at the end of the game. He ran hard after the catch and was sure-handed.
-Along with Smith, this offense has a lot of weapons...if some consistency can be achieved this offense can be very tough.
-Gooden and Kerrigan reminded us why Purdue is called the Den of Defensive Ends...and eventually, the refs will start seeing that these guys are held nearly every play.
-In the second half, Purdue's defense was swarming and flying to the ball- even if tackling isn't perfect, if you have a bunch of players there to make the play, the odds go up that it'll happen.
So be pissed- I am...I think most of the players and coaches are too. Losing stinksBut don't give up. I'd think even the most optimistic among us didn't think this team would be great...but there's a lot of football left to be played and a lot of teams in the BT are beatable.
-I think Lynch has a legit beef- The BT officials botched another important call, even with the help of instant replay...at least the catch wasn't in the end zone. The Hoosiers look pretty respectable...it pains me to say it, but their balance on offense is solid and they have some playmakers...plus, Kirlew and Middleton are arse-kickers.
-Does the PSU team have a satchel? I mean, I know it was raining, but the offense and special teams simply gift-wrapped the game for Iowa...Way to avenge last year's loss, Lions.
-Oregon might be pretty good...How about the way they simply abused Cal...Let's not talk about NIU for the time being.
-You da man, Kevin. How about the Houston Cougars and the Boiler grad & ex-coach, Kevin Sumlin? They got a lot of fight in them and are coming out of nowhere to make a lot of noise. Good for Sumlin.