Sindelar Finds His Touch; Defense Stands Tough in Iowa City
If you read the Predicto on this very site (and who doesn't?), you know the BS staff is full of guys who love to watch their Boilers...but we keep it real in the halls of the BS World Headquarters. We thought if the defense could make Iowa play from behind as Sindelar played a solid game, the Good Guys would come out on top.
Then, none of us picked the road dog Boilers to win.
As we often say, we love being wrong in cases like this.
Nick Holt's defense was simply magnificent. When Purdue needed a stop, they generally did it on the back of an aggressive blitz call. Purdue had 10 tackles for loss...six of those were sacks. Purdue's front seven was as salty as two pounds of bacon sizzling in a pan on Sunday morning...and just as hot.
What about that offense?
I dunno...No Worship? No problem. Dinged-up Sindelar? Not even an issue. In fact, Purdue's Sophomore QB was a maestro behind center. The touch that we all have wished he had this season, showed up in a big way. Maybe his sore knee kept him from pushing off and firing the way he likes to. Or maybe, he's been listening to his coaches. Regardless of the reason, the Kentucky native had a ballgame. 22/37 229 yards, three TDs, ZERO ints. Solid.
While he did his thing, his receivers caught the ball with consistency...which, I'm told, is good for passing offenses. Nine receivers caught the ball...but my favorite French football player EVER had his greatest game in the gold and black. Mahoungou had seven receptions for 135 yards with two TDs. Simply put, he took the game over in the opening minutes of the third quarter as he did his best Calvin Johnson impression. Vertical pass receptions were the norm on the two drives that seemingly spelled the Hawkeyes doom...something our Boilers have wanted all season, but haven't been able to establish...Purdue's unlikely deep threat was a game changer.
Purdue never was able to establish the run. On the day, Brohm's Boilers averaged 2.2 yards/carry...even with Jones' 32 yard run in the closing minutes of the game.
It wasn't all roses and lollipops (but close). Sindelar took a costly sack in the end zone early in the game that gave Iowa their first two points of the game. On the play, it looked like Sindelar decided not to throw into coverage (GOOD!), but wasn't aware of the Iowa end coming around his blindside (BAD!). The very next drive, with a short field, Iowa ran all over the Boilers, and added another seven points (WORSE!). Purdue went into the half down by two points...but Mahoungou's third quarter crushed the Iowa faithful's cheery mood...then Holt's defense stepped on their collective throats.
I'll admit that the injuries to Worship and Sindelar made me believe winning at Iowa was highly improbable. And watching Sparks limp off of the field in the second quarter made me cringe as the worst-case scenario started rattling around my mind. As I worried, Jeff Brohm orchestrated a win that I didn't see coming...in doing so, he reminded all of us, even some of the premature skeptics, that he is absolutely the guy that Purdue needed and needs.
Also, make no bones about this: The defense that allowed nearly 50 points/game last B1G season and is comprised mostly of Darrell Hazell recruits, is an absolute mother this season. We all thought the D would be this team's strength this season...but few saw this one coming.
With the 24-15 win, Purdue improves to 5-6 on the season...and now they'll play the Hoosiers with the same record. Winner goes to a bowl game, loser stays in Indiana for the holidays. In the history of this rivalry, IU has never won five straight over the Boilers. They'll bring a four game winning streak over our Boilers to God's Country for the noon kickoff next Saturday.
This Senior-laden defense playing for an opportunity to extend their careers one more game, on Senior day on a gray, cold afternoon? Can't wait.
See you next Saturday.
Note: I could caught up in the fact that Purdue wore light gray pants and socks for no apparent reason...but honestly, they could wear green fishnets and raspberry berets and I won't care, if they win on the road.