Purdue's offense hummed, at times today...but lapses by the defense, a very-early key turnover scoop & score and, get this, Special Teams problems doomed our Boilers bowl chances in RA today, with a 40-37 loss to MSU.
The Old Oaken Bucket becomes the Old Oaken Bowl for both IU and Purdue as, for the second season straight, this rivalry will end both teams' seasons.
Elliott managed the game very well all day, and followed his BT offensive POW with another great game- 39/55 373yds, 2TDs, 0Ints. Smith had 152yds receiving, and C. Smith caught everything thrown his way...Bolden, Taylor and Elliott combined for a solid 150yds rushing...but, the dreaded two-minute offense, or lack there of struck again as an obvious Achilles heel left Purdue looking like it had no idea how to handle a small clock and a small deficit.
Wiggs (uncharacteristically) pulled and missed a field goal and had a long one blocked...and the kick coverage was as bad as we've seen all season. Purdue's lanes were non-existent and the speedy Spartan returners shredded Purdue time and time and time again. Is anyone else sick of this crap? I hope Coach Hope is. This poor coverage is really the difference in the game- note that MSU's offensive output (362 yards) doesn't typically merit 40 points...but when you combine it with 229 return yards, it seems about right.
Purdue's defense, that came up with plays to stop MSU early in the game, couldn't seem to counter the adjustments made by Dantonio and company in the second half. In spite of big plays by Brandon King and David Pender in pass defense, Purdue's lack of aptitude covering the TE & RB was glaring.
So here we are- The Bucket-Bowl is horribly reminiscent of my time on campus...The lousy mid-late 90s when two 4 win teams would battle for state supremacy and no one cared outside of Indiana. Maybe that's not-exactly correct as a few recruits down in Florida might be watching...but, for the most part, you get the gist. I'm positive a 5-win season wasn't what Hope had in mind as he spoke about the 'special season' this year. But let's be honest- This was a pretty fitting end to the quest of a bowl game for '09.