Against Minnesota, the defense dominated, the offense moved the ball with ease. Against PSU, the defense was stout and the offense was effective. Against Illinois, the offense was great from the get-go and the defense was motivated and hard-hitting. So, many Purdue fans thought Hope's Boilers had turned over a new leaf and might be able to compete with consistency for the remainder of the season. Now we know the Vegas gold helmets are painted with with fool's gold...reality can be a bit of a downer.
The contest started out with great promise as Gary Bush found his way through the middle of the UM defense after a short pass from TerBush...48 yards later, Purdue would be up 7-0. That point 1.5 minutes into the game was the high point for our Boilers.
|Bush's TD was the bright spot in a gloomy day for the Boilers|
Joe Holland made an acrobatic diving interception, and Josh Johnson intercepted an ill-advised long pass down the left sideline by UM's back-up QB. Those defensive stops kept the floodgates from opening. But in the second quarter when Purdue was down 22-7, it felt like it was a 30-point deficit.
8 Wolverines gashed Purdue for 6.4 yards per carry. Hope and company decided early to try to contain Robinson on the ground, and UM's running backs responded by looking like they had another gear that the Purdue defense didn't have. Robinson, who was completing just over 50% of his passes on the day was hitting his receivers in the numbers and completed nearly 65% of his passes when he was pulled in the fourth quarter.
It wasn't all bad for the Purdue defense though, because they stiffened up a few times in the redzone to hold Michigan to a field goal and later to keep their effective rushing game out of the endzone from the half-yard line.
The two biggest killers of momentum on the day came from the OLine and TerBush and later, Justin Siller. The former followed Johnson's interception on the Purdue 5 yard line- TerBush took the snap and the offensive line gave him no pocket, TerBush didn't recognize the pressure quickly-enough and UM swallowed him up in the endzone for their first safety since '03. The second play was absolutely a killer. Purdue was down 12-7 following Michigan being held to a field goal. Purdue needed an answer as they hadn't effectively moved the ball since their first possession- they took over at the 28 after Mostert's return and drove well-into UM territory to the 16. Marve dropped back, threw a quick slant to Siller that caromed off of his hands into the hands of a UM defender.
Purdue didn't threaten to score again until UM had a lead of 36-7 in the early fourth quarter. And on that play, after a timeout and Purdue on the two yard line, Bolden and Pegram ran into each other, busting up the play and forcing TerBush to keep it...he valiantly tried to get into the endzone, but was stopped on the one.
Undisciplined play absolutely killed Purdue, yet again. Costly penalties hurt our Boilers time and time again...they ended the game with 8 penalties for 86 yards...and because of that Purdue will probably stay in the cellar in this category.
Emotion and effort really have not been a problem for Hope teams, and today was no exception. There were a ton of plays that ended with the camera on Purdue and UM players (usually Johnson and Allen v. a UM receiver) locked in hand-to-hand combat after the whistle. Perhaps my favorite was Allen ripping Roundtree's jersey as wrestled him to the ground in a conflict that had nothing to do with the play.
And that was kind of the deal on the day- Purdue's execution, especially when it was really needed was atrocious. Conversely, UM shored-up the issues that had been exposed v. MSU following their bye week...and played soundly all game.
Michigan seemed to want to test Purdue physically in the trenches and Purdue failed as they looked pensive, slow and soft when popped in the mouth. The end result was a sound defeat for Hope's squad, 36-14...but it felt much worse than that score.
It gets much more physical next week as the good guys head to one of the hardest venues in America to play one of the best teams in the land, Wisconsin.