Sunday Morning Gumbo

Balancing Act
Some of you didn't get to watch the Michigan game and might be asking why Bolden didn't have more carries. He only ran the ball 16 times and had over six yards/carry. I think the answer has many parts. First off, did you see the passing stats? Joey "The Duke" Ellington* completed over 70% of his passes, had 367 yards, 2 TDs and 2 Ints...and one of those was a tipped ball. Pretty good day, if you're into that sort of thing. Plus, I still think Hope and Nord are trying to limit Ralph's carries as he's still not 100% and they're looking at the big picture. So running the ball was effective...but Michigan, who usually has tremendous corners and safeties, can't stop anybody on the pass.

Case in point: "The Duke" had a legit long bomb yesterday to Carlos Smith. Keith Carlos' injury gave Smith the opportunity...and UM botched the coverage so badly that Smith was wide open 30 yards down the field. Elliott underthrew Smith a bit, but the Wolverine DBs were so far back, Smith still scored easily.

What I saw yesterday was two mediocre teams playing. Neither defense could stop anything. Michigan's Minor had 150+ yards, Roundtree had 100+ yards receiving...and both of these players feasted on the lack of tackling prowess that Purdue exhibited. This problem has kind of come and gone this season for our Boilers, but regardless of the reason, it was back in full-force yesterday.

Atop of the offense being a muthah, I was really happy that Chris Summers didn't give anything away. Sure, he wasn't booming the ball, but he got his punts off quickly...little victories are important. We can't really say the same for the kickoff coverage team...they gave up some sizable run backs due to...get this- poor tackling and bad angles. Gibbony!!!

The Big Ten officiating crews are awesome! We all know that. And I've said it all-along, if you put your team in the position to be affected by poor officiating, they'll probably lose the game. Thank God Hope's team wasn't up by less than a touchdown in the closing minutes.

The first black and white missed call came very early in the game, but in a key point for Purdue. After driving down the field and scoring on a 4-play, 80-yard drive, Michigan had the ball. Forcier threw an errant pass and Jason Werner caught it on one knee. Roundtree smartly tried to rip it away. The officials ruled spontaneous possession, which favors the offense, of course. Damn the whole premise of a player being down if he's on a knee.

The second bad call was the most glaring and even more critical. With Purdue up by 8 and forced to punt, Summers kicked one to near mid-field. The Michigan player (who I can't remember right now) had the turf monster swipe one of his legs which killed his concentration. The punt was muffed, Purdue jumped on the ball. The officials, of course, called interference...on no one on Purdue. Well-played.

Granted, missed easy calls are what the BT officials do, so none of this is surprising...but it surely doesn't help the nation's opinion that the conference isn't good.

The aftermath
There's a ton of good discussion going on right now on Purdue and Michigan boards alike about yesterday's game and post game. Clearly a bit of a rivalry is developing between the Rodriguez-coached Wolverines and Purdue. Problem is, I don't know how much longer Rodriguez will be around. Let's all remember a few things:

First, UM is still not bowl eligible...and has to play Wisconsin in Camp Randall and Jim Tressel's Bucknuts. Tressel's had moderate success against the Wolverines...and his Buckeyes can't really afford to lose anymore games.

Atop that, Michigan got the notice that an NCAA inquiry was beginning, back in October. In this case, it sounds like the NCAA wouldn't have a case if players and ex-players had not been willing to throw the coach under the bus.

What's this mean? It means the short season of bad blood between Purdue and Michigan won't be around much longer, in my opinion. And a coach out west, whose team gave Oregon the business yesterday is already aware that his alma mater might be calling soon.

And speaking of Stanford...
The large trees have been on the back of Gerhart all season. Gerhart has been able to run on about every team the Cardinal have played this season (averaging over 5 yds/carry on the season). Am I the only one who can't wait until the Irish visit NoCal in three weeks?

UND hasn't been able to stop anybody from running the ball...what makes the Irish think that after losing to a good Pitt team next week, the Irish won't lose their fifth of the season against the Harbaugh-led squad?

Sure, Pat Hayden and Co. lamented yesterday that the Irish were watching the sun set on their BCS hopes...but, might these Irish be on a collision course with the island state, yet again in '09? We can hope.

*J's favorite, Charissa Thompson tripped over her words during a post-game interview and called Joey Elliott...."J-J-Joey Ell-Ellington Elliott"

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Way To Stay On Point, Rich