As emotional last week was, this one might have been just as boring. Sure, there were a couple of big plays- Taylor had a nice TD scamper, Elliott had a few smart runs, but not much to write home about really...and that's OK with me.
A few weeks ago, turnovers were a disease that seemingly couldn't be cured. Wide receivers, running backs, kick returners and the quarterback were all getting in on the action. But this week, ZERO turnovers (for the first time this season). Moving Gravensande, while not an exciting move, has allowed Valentin to focus solely on being a wide receiver...and in spite of the sky spitting icy-cold drizzle, the Boilers held onto the ball very well.
This team learned something new today- play solid football versus a team you should beat, and you win...don't make unforced errors and your chances of winning go way up. Generally, Purdue took what was given today...I'd love to see more big plays, but would much rather see Purdue win 2-0 than lose with a bunch of big plays. I don't have a ton of thoughts...but here are some points from today:
-Illinois gave Elliot the chance to run, he took it. They gave Purdue the chance to run the ball with great success and Purdue took advantage...and wasn't it fun to see Taylor kicking ass? Love seeing this guy thrive.
-I really like the way King and Pender are playing- they're jumping routes when the opportunities arise and aren't missing the tackles they were earlier in the season. McLean was also very tough today, especially in run support.
-I counted three dropped interceptions by Purdue. Granted, a couple weren't easy catches, but I hope they learn to make those plays. The game was probably closer than it should have been because of missed opportunities like that.
-I like Jeff Lindsay's potential, but he dropped a few passes that he just should have caught. I'd like to see both he and Adams turn up their production in the next few games.
-The front four continues to look stout. And after the first quarter, they seemed to stiffen up and disrupted the offensive backfield. Mike Neal was bull-rushing all day and on more than one occasion took his man straight into the quarterback. To me, it looks like he has a future in the NFL.
Looking at the final third of the season
Coach Hope and the players are still believing a bowl game is a possibility. Next week, our Boilers go to Madison...then onto Ann Arbor (where Purdue hasn't won since Griese was playing QB)...then back home versus MSU and finally to Bloomington. So here is my question:
How much of a longshot will it be for Purdue to make a bowl game this season? And the follow up, would this be one of the biggest surprises for you as a Purdue fan in the last 10-15 years if they make it to post-season play?
Weigh in, if you have an opinion.