As J wrote about earlier this week, we've seen some pretty lousy games in the last four seasons under Coach Hope...but I believe that earlier today we saw the lowest point for the program under his direction.
Getting hammered by good teams is lousy...especially when our Boilers are supposed to be one of the better teams in league. In earlier seasons, getting beaten by Northern Illinois and Toledo was disappointing as they weren't great teams. Losing a close one to Rice was pretty embarrassing, no bones about it. But getting smoked by a really bad team with no offensive or defensive identity might be the bottom of the barrel...right?
We've stated our case, time and again, that Hope is in over his head. In a conference full of great coaches and extremely-talented players, Hope-coached teams can't consistently compete. But, Hope used to be able to beat the bottom of the conference. But perhaps the problem is, Purdue is the very bottom of the conference.
0-4 in the conference...and really this team has only competed once in those four games and the cellar dwellers now look tough to our Boilers. IU just won a road game...but the good news is Purdue is hosted by that very Illini squad in just a few weeks. The bad news is IU is a much better team than Purdue right now...and their upside is pretty sizable.
|Confused by the outcome.|
As little as I want to do this, let's look back at Minneapolis for a moment.
Purdue's back to getting flagged with regularity...like the last few seasons. And the defense that got made the last two DCs lose their jobs seems to be back, yet again. It almost seems like the defensive problems are bigger than just the defensive coordinator. In fact, Purdue allowed Minnesota's offense to get nearly their season average in yardage...in a half. Atop that, Purdue let Goldy score almost exactly double their points average for the season. And to pile on, Minny had scored exactly 13 points in each of their first three Big Ten games -- and then hung 44 on the Boilers today.
Young DBs got burnt for easy TDs...solid veterans got burnt just as easily. The defensive scheme was deplorable today...and put none of Purdue's players in the position to make plays; plain and simple.
On the other side of the ball, TerBush's solid game v. aOSU was followed up by a dog. He panicked under Minny's pressure and made slow decisions and poor throws. And once Purdue was down by a couple touchdowns...which was very early in the game, TerBush couldn't stretch the field. Purdue ran the ball well- Bolden, Hunt and Shavers all averaged over 6 yards/carry...but since TerBush doesn't run the hurry-up well, Purdue was forced to pass on nearly every down; not good.
Marve came in, for some reason, after Purdue was already down 44-7. I'm not going to tell you that Purdue would have won the game had Marve started. Neither Marve nor TerBush nor Henry, who also played QB, by the way, could have stopped Tibesar from having no one further from the line of scrimmage than 4 yards...time and again.
Some offensive positives of this team might get lost by the fact that Purdue's defense played so poorly. Macarthy continues to become a big time receiver as Edison continues to be consistent. Shavers ran hard and finished runs well as did Hunt and Bolden (who I just love to see running the ball). And Henry was very sharp passing the ball...even over the middle (*gasp*) in relief of TerBush, then Marve.
We've gone from high expectations (division/conference championship)...to OK expectations (solid bowl)...to low expectations (Little Caesars Bowl)...to where we are now- hoping and praying for another win. Sure, there are plenty of opportunities left, and our Boilers aren't mathematically eliminated, but with the way this team is playing now, what have any of you seen that makes you believe this team can win another game? Help me out; I haven't seen it.
Our Boilers lost 44-28...but the score is really not indicative of how badly Minnesota beat Purdue. Let that flow over you for a moment...
In spite of that...in spite of losing week after week after week after week, in a season that was supposed to be special (according to the coach himself), Hope still thinks the program is going in the right direction (according to his post-game comments).
Short summed it up well after the game- he said Purdue wasn't as well-prepared as they were for aOSU...and while a 6-6 season is still well within Purdue's reach, it's not at all acceptable.