Boilers Drop Fifth Straight
Losing 24-7 in Madison is yet another moral victory (when compared to Purdue's games versus Bucky in recent years) for Coach Haze and his staff...but in reality, it felt much worse than the score. Coach Shoop's plan was obvious: Never pass...never, ever, ever (except after the game's out of hand). Entering the third quarter, Blough had completed three passes...and one of those was an underhanded shuffle toss. So as the modern football world continues to march towards more high octane offenses and more points, Hazell and Shoop have decided the wave of the future will be staying in or around single digits (while holding opponents to 20-50 points).
Purdue's depleted defense showed some fight against Wisconsin's running game, but against the pass, they were porous. Stave, who is a career 59% passer completed just 77% of his passes...30/39 for 322 yards. He had an awful interception in the first half that was returned by Leroy Clark to Wisconsin's side of the field (As I think back through the game, that's my sole bright spot). It looked/felt like it might be a turning point for the game. Purdue took advantage and, on the legs of Markell Jones and David Blough, marched down a short field to tie the game 7-7.
It felt pretty nice...it felt familiar, but it didn't feel like the tide had truly turned. In the second quarter, it looked like Purdue might go into the locker room with a tie...something that doesn't necessarily mean death for Hazell-coached Purdue squads. Instead, Purdue's prevent defense allowed Wisconsin to put together a short drive to end the half that put them up 10-7. If you're a history buff, you knew then the game was over for the Boilers at that point, sadly.
Hazell's team never wins when down at the half. Part of that might be lack of depth...a bigger part is Purdue's inability to make adjustments at the half. There's statistical backing for this (as Dave told you on this very site a few weeks back). It doesn't just feel horrible, it really is.
Purdue allowed Wisconsin to slowly and steadily grind out drives...two of them ended with a running back punching in short touchdown runs. The running back who made the big difference for the Badgers was a LB just a month ago. History also tells us that trying new stuff is almost always good versus this Purdue defense.
Blough finished 15 of 26 with 136 yards...no TDs or INTs. Did you get that...NO INTERCEPTIONS!!! VICTORY!! Yet another moral victory brought to you by the Coaching mind of John Shoop. His game plan was based on what we saw last week...interceptions are bad. Purdue loses when quarterbacks throw too much or too far away from the line of scrimmage. Problem is, Purdue loses when it doesn't pass enough too. Another observation: Purdue loses a lot when John Shoop is calling the shots. Just spit-balling.
If you're bored, check out how similar Blough and Appleby are on the season. I think one could argue that since Blough is a RS Freshman, it's wise to look toward the future if their results are so similar...I think it could also be argued that it doesn't matter who is behind the center in Shoop/Hazell's offense...Henry, Etling, Appleby or Blough...it all feels very familiar.
Markell Jones looked good at times- averaged nearly four yards per carry...but just carried the ball 12 times. His fumble was costly, but wasn't why Purdue lost the game today. Purdue didn't hold onto the ball long, didn't sustain drives, and on defense, couldn't get Wisconsin off of the field quickly. Purdue's defense held Wisconsin to less than 100 yards (another moral victory- this one goes to Coach Hudson)...but when Wisconsin needed to sustain a drive, they would with a pass over the soft, soft middle. Purdue's Freshman punter got in on the act by shanking a few and averaging under 40 yards/punt...but STs didn't play awful really (that moral victory goes to the STs coach who I imagine is a dashing 40 year old balding chap who looks like me...for those of you who don't know, Purdue has no STs coach).
If you missed it, you missed a slow, painful death, poor or no adjustments at the half and absolutely nothing to be excited about on the offensive side of the ball. Those who watched saw no bounce back from one of the worst games of Hazell's time at Purdue.
Next up, Purdue plays Nebraska who performed a Herculean feat by beating the world-beating* Minnesota Golden Gophers earlier this afternoon...after a bye week. So take heart! I can unequivocally guarantee that our Boilers won't lose next Saturday.
*read as: Purdue