You probably had some questions about our Boilers coming into today...and you might even have more now.
For instance, if you're new to the site, who's this "Tim" guy that posted?
Let me answer that one first. Tim was one of the original writers on BS...now he writes about once/365 days or so. And while he used to be famous in some circles for his angry in-person long sports rants, his hits on BS are short and more geared towards those with shorter attention spans. So for those of you who are still reading, here's my post-game look.
I came into the game looking for info about the defense, the QB situation, seeking old issues to be eradicated and hoping for a rock-solid win with the game never in contention.
Well, we definitely saw a game that wasn't in doubt after the first few minutes...so that's good. But it was far from flawless.
-Caleb TerBush was suspended prior to the game for violating team rules. Our pals on Boilerradio.com scooped the situation about an hour prior to kickoff while I visited the show...and I still don't know the reason for the suspension.
My thoughts on this are pretty simple- I don't know what he did. What I do know is that he's a captain and was the starting QB. Thinking about the team matters. If I were Hope or Nord, which I'm obviously not, he'd not only not be the starter for the remainder of the season, but he'd be third string.
Marve had a few mistakes...no doubt about it. But in the first three quarters he completed an eye-popping 82% of his passes, had 3 TDs and an Interception. The interception was pretty damned ugly as he tried to force the ball in across the middle...in the first quarter, but after that, he showed just why we've always favored #9 as the QB for our Boilers.
He escaped pressure brilliantly, looked quick, kept his eyes downfield and went through his progressions. He went down in the 2nd quarter in an eerily-similar way to the last time he tore his ACL...it scared the crowd and clearly scared him as he checked his knee right away. But a play later, he threw a great pass while rolling right. After watching the play though, I hoped we'd only see him for one possession in the second half.
But I didn't get my wish as he played into the fourth quarter...and atop that, he was still running with a 35 point lead. That was the worst decision of the day by far from the coaching staff. During the fourth quarter he also had a costly, ugly fumble in which it looked like he just tossed the ball in the air as he ran to the left.
The second awful decision by the coaches today was bringing in Henry in the second quarter and having him pass the ball. Marve had found his rhythm and the offense seemed to be clicking...and Nord and Hope decided to break that by having Henry come in and throw the ball over the middle...Like Marve earlier, he delivered an ugly interception that was in slow motion as the entire crowd seemed to see the LB that Henry thought he could throw through.
Henry made up for it later in the game with a brilliant drive that ended in a score.
EKU gave Purdue's WRs space...so they dinked and dunked the Colonels all day. I have no problem with short passes...as long as they aid the team in moving the ball efficiently...and Purdue did so- Marve and Henry went 37/47...pretty awesome.
JB Gibboney wasn't our favorite guy two seasons ago as his units looked consistently-inconsistent and were prone to make large, costly mistakes. Last season, STs were pretty darned special as they won a few games for the Boilers. Today, the crappy STs play returned with a vengeance.
A blocked punt, blocked point after, multiple kickoffs out of bounds and a muffed punt reception were putrid. Sure, EKU made its mistakes as well, but Purdue's fumbles by Marve and Henry and its ST woes by nearly all units would have surely lost the game for Hope's squad versus a less-overmatched opponent.
Hunt and Mostert looked good in limited chances to return kickoffs...and Allen was the lone bright spot returning punts...and was rewarded by never getting another chance to do it again. Much like the offense was coached, the punt returners were given similar treatment. They kept rotating positions...if the coaches are working toward finding ONE punt returner, ONE kicker and ONE QB, then great- do this crap v. a lower division team...but I get the impression that this is Hope's dream scenario more than a proving ground.
Overall, I really liked what I saw from Allen, Hunt and Mostert on STs...in multiple facets.
Tibesar's debut as DC was pretty brilliant...but before we immaculate him as a defensive genius (a term which I generally hate in sports), let's remember this- EKU was without a few key parts- their all-conference center is gone, and one of the best QBs in the history of the program were both out for today...it showed.
The gifts that Purdue gave them led to ZERO points. They'd inherit a fumble and move backwards. They'd get an interception and their offense wouldn't move the ball forward. Purdue crammed the box with five down lineman, showed an ameba look with no down lineman and hit EKU hard. That said, I believe they only sacked EKU's QB once...but they were in his face all day; and there weren't many blitzes or stunts...just overpowering bull rushes and a few delays. I can only remember one super-aggressive blitz package in which Allen and one of the FSs blitzed. It ended in EKU throwing the ball away.
The defense did what they should have done- controlled the line of scrimmage and tackled well.
Ricardo Allen ended the game early as he was "nicked" according to Hope. He'll be back for UND, it sounds like. But while he was playing he didn't really break on the ball at all and as EKU fluttered the ball time and again, he did nothing to take advantage of it.
Feichter was the most-noteworth DB today- he had an Int for a TD and was all over the field. He hit hard broke on the ball well and did what a safety is supposed to do...something we really haven't seen since a healthy Albert Evans played two seasons ago.
After Marve's uber-efficient game, one of his favorite targets, Gabe Holmes probably had the best game. He didn't have the most yards, but was dependable and looked like what we thought he'd be when he arrived on campus- a mother of a match-up.
Ross, Edison and Bush all had solid days. But both Ross and Bush dropped passes that hit them in the numbers...and Ross' lazy route running kills me to watch. He also had a moment in which he wasn't paying attention in the hurry-up to end the first half in which Marve had to shout at him and clap to get him the signal. He's got more potential than anyone (outside of Mostert) on the roster...but if he never decides to use it, he'll stay right where he is...which is a shame.
Shavers ran very hard (11 carries, 74 yards), initiated contact, blocked well and caught the ball extremely well out of the backfield. I was glad that Bolden didn't even need to think about coming on the field. Cottom looked great as well...and Mostert in very limited touches had 72 all-purpose yards. Hunt and Mostert seem to be transposed in their responsibilities, to me. Mostert's strength and ability to hit a hole fast make him an ideal RB...Hunt's ability to change direction and smaller frame seem to point him into a Dorien Bryant-type of role...but it looks like that's not going to happen.
Anthrop carried the ball a few times late in the game...had a nifty pair of spin moves in one run. Dalapo Macarthy seems to have jumped Mikesky and Torwudzu on the depth chart as he saw significant action in the second half and had three catches.
Sean Robinson quietly played LB...didn't have to do too much. But no longer looks anything like a QB; big neck and big arms. Actually, Henry's gotten bigger as well and seems to look more like an RB than a QB to me.
Devlin Smith is a big dude- he seems to be every bit of 6'7" and 330 pounds...and looks like a very good run blocker. Purdue backs ran through holes he created time and again. His foot work will get better as he leans out...but I like what I saw from him.
Ross and Allen both left the game a bit earlier than they might have. Foy was injured a bit at one point too. From what I hear none of them will miss next week's game.
Next up, Purdue travels to the god-forsaken land of South Bend to play UND...who looked as if they were playing a D-IAA team today; but they were playing a BCS school. The question is- are they that good, or is Navy that bad? We'll find out soon.