Boilers Masquerade as B1G Football Team
On the back of an explosive 3rd quarter, Purdue beats beleaguered Cornhuskers 55-45 on Halloween afternoon
Purdue had lost their last nine Big Ten football games...and playing historically-strong programs had been nothing but scary under Hazell. But today, Purdue's defensive backfield terrorized the Cornhuskers' backup QB to the tune of four interceptions (three by Brown alone). On top of that, Purdue recovered an errant snap by Nebraska's center and advanced it 60 yards...AND had a blocked field goal.
Purdue's defensive front confused Nebraska's Fyfe in his first collegiate start...on the other side of the ball, Blough looked confident both passing and running the ball. In spite of a conservatively-called fourth quarter, Blough finished with four touchdowns while passing and no interceptions...and added 82 yards rushing with a TD by his feet.
Purdue had their best quarter of the season (by far) in the third, scoring 21 points and allowing just 7...that quarter blew the game wide open and put Nebraska in the unenviable position in which a walk-on QB was forced to pass nearly every down.
As one of my pals asked- If I told you that Nebraska would score 45 points, would you dream this Purdue team would still win by two scores? Hell no.
Purdue looked tougher, stronger, faster and better coached. Yeah, I just said that. The only place where Purdue looked questionable was in the kicking game; a point after TD was blocked, and Hazell (correctly) demonstrated that he has no faith in Griggs.
In spite of Purdue dominating the game, they still seem to have a strong disdain for success as the defense did everything it could to keep the Cornhuskers' hopes alive in the fourth quarter- missed tackles, busted coverage and poor spacing allowed the disgruntled Nebraska faithful to stay away from becoming completely suicidal.
Purdue had about 25-30k fans in the seats...and at least 7,500 were clad in red. Based on their faces, Purdue's record in the conference over the past few seasons and the Huskers' current record, it's kind of hard to see a scenario in which Riley keeps his job in Lincoln very long (read as past this weekend).
Jones led all rushers with 92 yards on 23 carries and two TDs. DeAngelo Yancey had five grabs for 111 yards and two TDs of his own...but the niftiest TD catch of the day belonged to Jurasevich who caught a dump pass from Blough directly over his head.
You knew it was over when:
Jones scored his final TD of the day on a short run.
Player of the game:
Anthony Brown (3 interceptions)
How does that happen?
Nebraska's second string QB is a walk-on...and their starter completes only 52% of his passes.
Fool's Gold or a Turning Point?
This is Hazell's first Big Ten victory at home...and the Purdue faithful let the team know how much they appreciated the effort. Catching Nebraska with this starting QB absolutely helped Purdue's cause...but perhaps the more aggressive offensive philosophy by Shoop that helped Purdue win the game will be seen again v. Illinois next week?
Make no mistake, Illinois is still pretty bad (is 4-4 after their 39-0 loss to PSU today)...and IU isn't great. Purdue winning more games than last season actually looks like a possibility not just a pipe dream, as it did just two weeks ago.
Regardless of the 'Why?' the good guys won the game...the Purdue football team and fan base needed this win. Hopefully it provides a little momentum as they welcome the skidding Illini next Saturday.