Nearing Rock Bottom? Boilers Crushed By Domers 38-10

Two weeks off to prepare for Notre Dame yielded nothing that we could discern on the field. In fact, that players played with less discipline than usual, which is saying a lot given how poorly Coach Hope's teams have performed in that department over the past two-plus seasons.

The only somewhat "trick" plays were a pass play from Tommie Thomas (which we knew was coming two weeks ago from one of our spies) and a nonsensical play where Justin Siller lined up at QB and handed the ball off. Whoooooo!!! Craaay-zeee!!

The Boilers were embarrassed tonight in their own building. It's as simple as that. And yes, Notre Dame was unquestionably the better team. But then, we said that from the start of the season, throughout this week, on the podcast and in our predicto for the game. So that was never really in doubt.

However, while the Boilers cannot control a talent disparity, they can control effort and discipline. They racked up 118 yards in penalties and only had 272 in total offense (versus almost 550 yards for ND). Curiously, the Boilers passed more than they ran, despite the fact that the run game has seemingly been a strength for this Purdue offense and, unlike last year, they actually have healthy, talented running backs. Bolden and Shavers got the ball 11 times for 22 yards -- combined. What? I don't know, either.

As I said, Notre Dame is much better than Purdue. However, they're not all that good and Purdue did not make them earn it by putting the Domers under pressure at all. Interceptions bouncing off DBs, Purdue unable to fall on fumbles, etc. This is not an opportunistic team at all. They don't create their own breaks, they don't get lucky, and so forth. And as we've said before, good teams make their own luck.

To beat -- or compete with -- a team like ND, Purdue needed to take advantage of easy picks and grab a fumble or two. Or return a kick for a TD. Or anything. They simply don't do those things.

Purdue did not look prepared to handle ND, either, and their adjustments -- if there were any -- did not slow the Irish down.

We would have liked to see Marve get a complete game and get to see what he could have done had he not come in down 14-0 and with the team reeling. He moved them down the field at times and, frankly, they just looked better -- though the results weren't ultimately much different -- with Robert at the helm. Marve's ball has a better zip on it and he appears far more confident. I like Caleb TerBush and don't want to disparage the young man, but he's simply not a better QB than Marve and I don't see how Coach Hope and the rest of the staff can possibly keep Marve from starting going forward. Sure, they're 2-2, not 0-4, but they're not good and the season is in serious danger of getting away from them. We think it basically already has, but if there's hope to hang on to anything, Marve is the guy to do it. Of that we are convinced.

I'm sure there are still those who will make excuses for why we shouldn't be disgusted with the direction of the program. However, yet again, there is no excuse for looking this disjointed, especially after an extra week to prepare.

As per usual, the defensive scheme was ineffective, the play-calling was uncreative and uninspired, and the players -- while amped to play tonight -- were undisciplined and sloppy. It's a systemic problem at this point and it's not going to just magically vanish one day. It's here to stay, for as long as this regime stays in place.

A Month In: Assessing the 2011 Season

The Predicto - Notre Dame