Bye Week Pulls Away Late as Boilers Drop Another Home Game Amid Concerns That The Season May Be Lost
After going down 3-0 following the first Purdue possession, the Bye Week scored 13 unanswered points and never looked back on their way to stunning a Purdue Boilermaker squad that was looking to the Bye Week to regroup and turn around what has thus far been a disappointing season.
The 17,692 in attendance filed out of the stadium in stunned silence, the prevailing attitude of the crowd was that of confusion.
“I…don’t know. I mean, the flyer said there was a pep rally for the basketball team at Ross-Ade. Glenn Robinson was supposed to be in attendance,” said freshman Jonathon Towers. “When I got to my seats the usher asked me to take off my jacket and fold it over the seat next to me. He said it made the counting easier, whatever that meant.”
Purdue coaches were similarly surprised when the Boilers were unable to hold onto their early 3-0 lead. The opening Boiler drive went 75 yards in 8 plays, all runs. Freshman Markell Jones got the bulk of those carries, slicing through the outmatched bye game defense with ease. He had 6 carries for 68 yards, and finished the game with 7 carries for 78 yards when offensive coordinator John Shoop oriented his play-calling more to the passing game. Redshirt freshman David Blough would finish the game 12-27 for 135 yards, mostly on called quick outs and hitches.
“I wanted David to work the short game,” said Shoop, between bites on a raw turnip. “We quickly realized that the Bye Week was really focused on stopping the short passes, playing their corners up close to the line of scrimmage and whatnot, and I wanted to prove that we could enforce our will. I thought about calling a few long passes to stretch the defense, but I guess I never got around to it.” Shoop then wandered off to embark on what he referred to as a “vision quest”.
Despite missing standout sophomore linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley due to an injury suffered earlier in the season, the Purdue defense looked strong against the Bye Week during their first possession, holding them to a 3-and-out which included two sacks. Unfortunately, the Bye Week’s offense really got going during their second possession, when they were able to take advantage of Purdue’s more conservative defensive scheme.
“During that first possession I really challenged my guys to pin their ears back and attack, attack, attack. And boy, did they respond!” said defensive coordinator Greg Hudson. “The offense put us in a great position too, putting up a lead that should have held,” noted Hudson, referring to the early 3-0 lead. “After taking the lead I moved us to more of a shell defense to try to hold on for the win. Unfortunately the Bye Week was able to take advantage of the 12 yard cushions I asked our corners to take and they were able to consistently move the ball down the field, 8, 9, 10 yards at a time. I dunno, maybe we need more Oklahoma drills.”
Head Coach Darrell Hazell spoke of what needed to change in order for Purdue to reclaim what had appeared to be a promising season: “We need to tackle better. And catch the ball better. And block better. Basically, we need to score points, while not allowing the other team to score any points, or at least, not letting them score as many points as us. That’s the key.”
Hazell continued: “I don’t think this season is lost at all. We’re really close. We beat a tough Indiana State team, and I firmly believe we can beat any team of that caliber again.”
Hazell dismissed notions that Purdue’s struggles affect his job security as “premature”, but concerns remain. When reached, Athletic Director Morgan Burke offered his unequivocal support for the embattled third year coach:
“Honestly, I haven’t been to a game all year. See, Kohls has these amazing sales on men’s button up short sleeved shirts, and they usually start on Saturday. If I wait until Saturday night, or God forbid, Sunday morning, all the tan ones are usually gone. Anyway, I talk to Darrell about it a lot, and he assures me that the team is close. Of course I believe him; have you seen him in a suit? He looks amazing!”
For now, Purdue will have to lick their wounds, regroup, and get ready for next week’s game against Nebraska.