Jack The Snack Breaks Out: Purdue beats Maryland 40-14
Feature image from @Boilerfootball
With injuries to Elijah Sindelar, Rondale Moore, Mershawn Rice, Jared Sparks, TJ Sheffield, [takes a deep breath], Victor Beach, DJ Washington, Marcus Bailey, Lorenzo Neal, and Anthony Watts, the Boilermakers were 3.5-point underdogs at home.
But nobody really knew what to expect from this Maryland team – the Terps opened the year with a combined 142 points in back-to-back wins against Howard and Syracuse, and put up 48 points at Rutgers last week. They also got blanked by Penn State (it happens), and only scored 17 in a loss at Temple. Maryland would need this victory for viable bowl hopes to survive in the brutal Big Ten East. Were they a high-powered offense, or were they an empty-calories team that got lucky against a reloading Syracuse team?
Boilerdowd was pretty confident on this week’s Handsome Hour – Maryland wasn’t anything to be concerned about, and Purdue’s coaching staff and young roster would get amped going into Homecoming weekend. I was nervous – Jack Plummer aka Jack The Snack aka Snacktime looked rattled against that aggressive Penn State front, and Maryland’s pass rush had shown flashes this season. In this snakebitten season, it was fair to say I was pessimistic.
I’ve never been happier to be wrong.
Nobody comes into Ross Ade.
We’ve often said this.
In their undeniably gorgeous Homecoming astronaut all-white kits, Purdue’s young core finally pulled everything together and left no doubt, controlling the game from kickoff to victory kneel. There were a few hiccups, and it wasn’t an entirely perfect game, but it was the kind of confidence-boosting win that this team desperately needed.
Let’s do a quick Good/Bad/Ugly for Purdue’s second win of the season:
Jack The Snack broke all the way out this afternoon, finishing with a Elijah-esque line of 33/41 for 420 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Snacktime benefited from the most balanced offensive gameplan Purdue’s shown this season, with great performances by David Bell, Brycen Hopkins, and King Doerue (more on them later). Plummer broke the game open with this 59-yard touchdown pass to Milton Wright, launching the ball 40 yard into the wind putting Purdue up 20-7 and forcing Maryland into a pass-heavy gameplan that didn’t play to what was working versus Purdue’s defense. He doesn’t quite have Eli’s cannon, but Brohm trusted Jack with the keys to his offense and The Snack earned his first college football victory.
David Bell needs more attention as a fantastic receiver and perfect human. 138 yards and 2 touchdowns on 9 receptions for the true freshman receiver, who should be talked about as one of the country’s best receivers but isn’t because how could Purdue have two of the best receivers in the country? With Moore out, Bell had room to shine while forming a real connection with Plummer on 3rd down – SEVEN plays on 3rd down were directed to Bell, catching six of those with one for a touchdown. David Bell is wonderful.
King Doerue is the starting running back for the foreseeable future. The true freshman ran for 69 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries, and with a year like this 3.6+ yards per carry is absolutely something worth parade.
These jerseys are absolutely perfect and I hope Purdue makes the executive decision to wear them for every home game from now until the sun explodes.
Brycen Hopkins and Jackson Anthrop were the safety valves Jack needed, and are the only veterans that have been productive and (relatively) healthy this year. Hopkins recorded a career-high 10 receptions for 140 yards, Anthrop had an extremely solid 8 receptions for 33 yards, and both were the reliable targets all game long. If Plummer, Bell, Hopkins, and Anthrop keep this chemistry working all season, we might find ourselves in the midst of another unexpected Brohm season resurgence after a shaky start.
Mike Locksley’s gut is awe-inspiring.
The offensive line gave Jack and Doerue plenty of time and space to work, and in a season like this it’s a great starting point. Games like this do a lot to provide consistency and experience to the younger linemen filling injury gaps, and it’s those small victories that will make this season fun to watch.
CORY TRICE, REAL NAME NO GIMMICKS. Two picks, great special teams play, incredibly handsome, what else do you need?
That stupid Nevada loss looms large, if you still have any Bowl hopes for the season. (I’m not sure I do, but it sure would be nicer to be 3-3.) If you pencil in wins against Illinois and IU (the latter isn’t close to a sure-fire win), Purdue still needs two wins from the following slate: at Iowa, vs Nebraska, at Northwestern, at Wisconsin. The room for error on the way to a Bowl is razor thin, and it’s mostly because of that Nevada loss. Purdue shouldn’t ever open the season three time zones away from West Lafayette.
Rushing defense. The defense only gave up 14 points (a good thing) and picked off QB Tyrell Pigrome twice with one pick-6 (a very good thing), but there were too many flat-footed moments like the clip below, where the entire defense sold out on misdirection leading to some absurdly long plays. Pigrome, Maryland’s backup QB, rushed for 107 yards and running back Javon Leake put up 79 yards on 7 carries. Too many big plays were given up, and that needs to change if Purdue doesn’t play with a lead like today.
Jack holds on to the ball a little too long when pressure is getting in his face, continuing to drop backwards instead of throwing the ball away or taking the sack in the pocket. He showed a lot today, but this is a habit he’ll need to work on.
Moving Picture of the Day