Over the past week, we've been asking, "Is the season over?" Big thanks to the Purdue football team for giving a resounding answer this afternoon. Yes. Yes, it sure is.
It certainly looks like it's time to fold the tent. Are we quitting on our team? Of course not. So close that comment box. But it's pretty clear how things are going to continue playing out this season.
It's actually kind of jarring how predictible this team has become. Fast start by the offense, an early lead, Joey Elliott looking sharp. In fact, as Purdue drove the field in the first quarter, Boilerdowd texted me, "Elliott looks great." To which I responded, "He always does on the first drive." And that's true, isn't it? Joey Elliott loves the first quarter. Even with the running game being bottled up and Keith Carlos wearing steel mittens, Joey kept firing away, making completions, finding the open guy, not making bad decisions. Of course, facing a 3rd and long on every possesstion was going to catch up with them eventually.
So we've seen this one before. And with a 10-0 lead, I asked b-dowd how it was going to happen. "Breakdown in the secondary, big play to Decker," came the response. And then? Well, yeah, you know what happened next.
And then? Even if you didn't watch the game, you know what happened next. Turnovers. Mmmm, tasty turnovers. Less tasty when they're frozen turnovers baked up by the Purdue special teams unit. This team cannot hold onto the ball. I know we've had some readers commenting that it's not the coaches who are doing the fumbling. Okay, sure. And I've heard others say that you can't "coach" guys not to fumble. Sorry, but that's just not true. Many pro running backs had fumbling issues and when a coach came in and helped them, they turned the corner. Tiki Barber and Tom Coughlin come to mind, but there are other examples. This has got to stop. It's embarrassing.
The defense deserves a better fate. They've improved, in my opinion. The tackling has improved, in my eyes, throughout the season. I don't see horrible routes being taken or guys slipping through arms, or DBs trying to tackle shoulder pads. And Neal, Kerrigan and Werner are doing what they can. Torii Williams has looked solid, too. But if you continue to turn the ball over in your own territory, even mediocre teams -- yes, like Minnesota -- are going to make you pay.
Here's an interesting tidbit -- Purdue has led every game they've played this year. Again, infuriating, because it's not like they can't play with these teams they're losing to. They just can't play for more than about one or two quarters. When you have a lead in every game you play, one would think you might accidentally win a couple.
When the season began and others were predicting 1 and 2 win seasons for the Boilers, we were steamed. We planned on telling them all to suck it each and every week. And early on, we still felt this team was better than its record indicated. But in the end, you are what you are. This is a bad team. Talented? Yes. Poorly coached? Looks like it. But whatever the ingredients in the middle of the calculus equation, the result after the equals sign is this = crap.