"...take this from a guy who remembers Burtnett, Akers and Colletto quite well- The bad ole days are here again. There's simply no denying it..."
Man, today started out with a ton of promise.
It looked like it might be a perfect day for football- Around 50 degrees and only a 40% chance of rain. Friends and family all sitting together for the game...and right away, Purdue was on the board.
On the first offensive play of the game, the pocket held up, TerBush went through his progressions and Edison's vertical route yielded instant results. Purdue was up 6-0 two plays into the game. A moment later it was 7-7...and then Bucky began to do what they do against Hope's Purdue's squads: manhandle them.
As Wisconsin flexed its muscle, they took the lead...and Purdue floundered...and a few drops of cold rain began to fell. Wisely, I headed to get a few ponchos...as I did it, Wisconsin scored again. Robert Marve came in...and had similar results as TerBush- both were running for their lives and getting few positive yards.
As the half drew to a close, the rain began to fall...and with it, Purdue's hopes of conference or even divisional relevancy seemingly washed away. It was only a 10 point differential...but it felt much worse...turns out, it was.
Purdue couldn't move the ball on offense and wasn't a speedbump for Wisconsin on the other side of the ball. Sure, Ball did what he does- slap Purdue defenders around...but the walk-on Frosh QB, Stave, did just enough to keep drives going as he found Wisky's tightend time and again.
But like UM the week before, Wisconsin didn't really need a QB with a functioning ball joint in his throwing shoulder...the just needed to keep it on the ground. As J already told you, they smartly did.
Tim Tibesar told Purdue fans, as did Nord, as did Hope, that Purdue was mere inches away from success last week. I called 'bullcrap' then...and in advance...I'll call it again for their comments to the press this week.
That defense is not close to being one that garners respect from the rest of the mediocre B1G conference...and the offense's production is now comprable to that of the Purdue team two years ago that utilized a pair of true Freshman QBs who shouldn't have even been playing in the conference. Oh, and Gibboney's punt team had another one blocked. Neato.
This one stings...and for the second week in a row, I actually regret going to the game...and I'm not the only one who's thinking that way based on Twitter exchanges and message board posts.
Like a lot of you, I have two kids. I really want both of them to have the passion for Purdue sports that I have...but my son was miserable today. Sure, the rain didn't help, but before the rain was falling, he wasn't enjoying himself...and neither was I, quite honestly. I loved spending time with my family...but could have done that back home...and had a better time while doing it. My wife, a fellow Purdue alum goes to a game or two a year (a few years ago, she was a season ticket holder)...but this year, the one game we were going to go to together now looks like it'll be a tough sell.
Guys like Edison, Johnson, Hunt, Shavers and others deserve our support...no doubt about that. And guys like Marve, Bolden Henry, Gaston and Russell who are fighting current and previous injuries should be playing in front of more than 500 fans. But, make no mistake, fans deserve more too. People that plan their lives around Purdue sports and spend hard-earned money in an awful economy on sports entertainment should be entertained; at least a bit. And if they can't be entertained, they should be able to get behind a bunch of young people who are selling out for one goal.
But, for the second-straight week, Purdue wasn't prepared to play in a college football game. And unlike last week, some of the players seemingly gave up...And that's something I've never seen from a Hope squad. Hope's players' coach mentality and nothing-but-good-vibes tactics didn't pay off this week...It didn't even come close, in fact.
I talked to a guy who played on the team last year after the game...and he was shocked at the lack of heart the team displayed. He thought, like I did, that they looked beaten very early in the first half.
If Danny Hope can no longer motivate a team, he's as worthwhile as your fancy smartphone in Ross-Ade on gameday*. Not worth much at all.
Homecoming has, once again, become a reunion with a football game in the background which you try to ignore...And take this from a guy who remembers Burtnett, Akers and Colletto quite well- The bad ole days are here again. There's simply no denying it (as J said earlier). The sad thing is I didn't leave RA angry today...but kinda apathetic.
When teams are bad, they look slow, perpetually-young and overmatched. When teams are bad, inclement weather feels worse to fans and the players alike. When teams are bad, people stop working their games into their schedules, and more-importantly for Morgan Burke, their budgets.
Sadly, Purdue's no contender; not even close. In fact, my Boilers aren't even a competitor any longer.
*(Sidebar- neither my phone, nor my sister-in-law's phone could even get the weather or send texts for much of the game; she's on Verizon, I'm on ATT.)