Wisconsin Wrap Up

For two weeks, it was pretty hard to find a silver lining.

Versus both aOSU and Illinois, our Boilers seemed out-of-sync, over-powered and under-prepared. The gameplans seemed non-existent, the passion and fire wasn't obvious from the players and the games weren't close to competitive.

This week was different.

The offense showed a ton of improvement...especially right out of the gate in the first half. And the core of that was probably in the game plan and play-calling. Nord used misdirection often and effectively. Robinson played like a Freshman...but one with a bright future. His option reads weren't always right. But, his biggest problem seemed to be that he tended to throw the ball high. A couple of these errant passes had horrible & game-changing results. But, much like Henry, he looked very poised as the pocket collapsed. He bought time and escaped Wisconsin's front four time and time again. His receiving corps was inconsistent and didn't do him a ton of favors as a lot of catchable balls were dropped...hopefully, Siller will be healthy enough to play next week as his services, at many positions will surely be welcomed.

Edison continues to show glimmers of what he might be in the coming seasons. Both he and McBurse were able to change direction in traffic as if they were connected to an R1/L1 button. Dierking and Carlos both ran hard and finished their runs well. Plus, the offensive line gave them space to do their jobs. And while Purdue only mustered 13 points, this effort gives everyone reason to believe a decent output might be possible...especially verus UM's questionable defense.

The Special Teams units were solid- Gravesande had a couple good runs...if not gutsy, while returning punts. ATM showed some flashes of his ability while returning kickoffs. Wiggs hit two field goals and Webster was solid punting the while the coverage was very good, with the exception of one return where Purdue's spacing wasn't great.

Finally, the D showed the most improvement. They played like they did versus Northwestern- with purpose, at a high speed. Like Kerrigan said after the game, Purdue's defense didn't wait for Wisconsin, but instead took the contact to the Badgers. The front four made it hard on Tolzein as he was sacked more today (3 times) than he had been in any previous game. The DBs were hawkish and jumped routes and didn't give up a ton of space as we had seen the previous two weeks. The linebackers were in position to make plays a lot more often than they had been recently. And while the score looks like the defense's effort yielded similar results to last years butt kicking in Madison, one of the scores was the result of a pick 6, another was nearly the same and a fumble by Edison was returned deep into Purdue territory...but the defense held Wisconsin to a field goal on that possession.

Toward the end of the game, Wisconsin was able to blow open larger holes as the BT's largest OLine wore down Purdue's front four. In fact, both Taylor and Isaac saw more action late in the game than I had noticed previously in the season.

You hear the phrase all the time, but the 34-13 score wasn't really a fair indicator of the game. While it looked like UW was taking control in the fourth quarter, especially in the trenches, it didn't seem like they were going to beat Purdue this badly...but isn't just amazing how accurate Vegas is?!? (20 point spread)

Upcoming Dilemma?
With Robinson and Henry both showing similar promise and Henry becoming available in the next week to two, Hope might have a difficult decision to make. Robinson took the majority of the snaps with the first team last week, for the first time in his Purdue career...and his preparation helped him look much more calm and capable. If nothing else, I think Hope will use both quarterbacks when Henry becomes available...and that might be soon.

Shut It
Wisconsin fans did what Wisconsin fans do at RA today- annoy everyone who's not clad in red & white hill jack overalls. From the goofy dances they do when their orgy-hungry band plays, to the way they seem to embrace the kitschy taste, their fan base is tough to like. What doesn't help them is that they almost always live up to their reputation as a foul-mouthed group. There are exceptions to the stereotype, but I didn't see a ton of them today.

Low Angle View
Thanks to one of our pals, I got to spend a little time on the field during the game. Being down there gave me a chance to talk for a moment to Robert Marve. Our brief exchange reminded me how hard this season must be to watch for Marve, Smith, Bolden and others. Both Smith and Marve looked pretty pained to not be able to play...Get healthy, fellas!

Also, I got to watch Charissa Thompson doing her job...that's not a horrible thing.

Looking Ahead

Michigan was just involved in the highest-scoring game in BT football history...so we know they can score. But we also know their defense is very suspect...especially their defensive backfield. So while winning two of the final three games is still not likely, the possibility still exists...and it's definitely more realistic than it was a week ago. Everything hinges on the play of Purdue's defense...and if good Don or bad Don is controlling it.

BTN's Brent Yarina To Join Handsome Hour This Wednesday

Badger Predicto