So Close

Obviously, there will be more coming from us on this one, but for hurts.

I had said earlier this week that as long as the Boilers showed us heart and focus, I'd be pleased. If they lost because of Notre Dame's talent, I could live with that. So why did Purdue lose? Notre Dame's talent? That was an impressive drive, calmly led by Pickles. Or was it what is being called gross incompetence on some of the boards by the Boilermakers coaching staff?

Was it the way too many penalties? Perhaps. Was it a time out in the final minute when UND was facing third and goal and had no time outs and a running clock? I know I am not alone in wondering what was happening there. If the argument is that the defense was not ready, well, who's to know if maybe the Irish could have just pounded one in? But the broadcast team told us the sideline was indicating the Irish were going to spike the ball, bringing up fourth down. Not good.

There was little to like in the first half, after an impressive first drive. Well, I shouldn't say that. The students seemed to be loud and into it from the start, the blackout appeared to really be in effect and I loved that the team bought into the blackout completely. All-black unis, head-to-toe, for the first time in years. And even a blacked out "Purdue" in the end zones. Nicely done.

Then that good first drive, followed by ineptness, on both sides of the ball. In face, while the defense showed up in the third quarter, the offense barely did. Boilerdowd and I have been bickering about yanking Joey Elliott -- at least for a series or two -- to get his attention. By late third quarter we were agreeing that something -- anything -- had to be shaken up. And maybe it was.

The fourth quarter had the makings of one of those legendary Purdue wins. A defining win, it would have been called. I don't know about you, but I saw heart and effort and resilience from these guys tonight. I thought the defense finally adjusted and stopped the ND running attack that was slicing through them in the second quarter. Big stops, good pass defense, forcing three-and-outs. They did their job. Holding a good offense down to 17 until the final minute is a good showing, especially from a D that has been struggling.

The offense even came to life in the fourth. No, Joey Elliott is not having a good run right now. But we've seen over several games that if he gets the ball to guys like Bolden, Carlos, Valentin and especially Smith tonight, these guys can do things with the ball.

And then, of course, the moment where it actually felt like things could be different this time -- the 38 yard touchdown to Jaycen Taylor. Nice to see JT get that one, too.

I can only imagine what it felt like to be there at that very moment. To hear that place like we all know it can be. Sadly, though, it wasn't over yet.

I think there are things to be encouraged about after this one. But going back to my criteria -- that a loss here is tolerable if it's not a bad showing -- it's hard to argue that this wasn't a poor showing from the coaches.

Not sure where we go from here. I need to sleep on it.

Hang on.

Purdue v. UND Predicto