At a certain point I start to feel like Charlie Brown. I keep coming to Purdue football and pouring my emotions into the games and believing that perhaps this could be the year that Purdue becomes nationally relevant again. I’ll admit I’m the eternal optimist and that’s why I picked Purdue against Michigan in yesterday’s game. I wanted to believe. Then, like Lucy does to Charlie Brown, Purdue pulled that hope and optimism right out of me.
From the opening drive by Michigan yesterday Purdue was simply outmanned, outclassed, and quite frankly outcoached. Purdue looked lost on offense for much of the game and seemed completely baffled that Denard Robinson was running with the ball. Everyone knew coming in that Robinson was THE GUY that Purdue needed to stop in order to defeat Michigan. Purdue failed miserably to do that. Robinson ran for 235 yards in the game. That’s more yardage than Purdue had on offense. Wrap your head around that. Purdue couldn’t stop or even contain the one guy on Michigan’s team that is capable of beating a team on his own. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone in the stadium or the sideline that when Michigan needed a big play Robinson was making it with his legs.
Purdue looked out of sorts on offense until Robert Marve came into the game in the third quarter. Strangely enough Purdue’s offense seemed to have different play calling and a different attitude once he came into the game. Why then did Hope/Nord wait so long to bring him into the game? I’m not saying Purdue would’ve won the game with Marve in the game because the defense still would’ve had to stop the Michigan offense and Robert Marve couldn’t do that. Purdue again failed to score in the third quarter and allowed Michigan to score 3 points. Sure it’s not a lot but being outscored is being outscored.
Each time Purdue football has had a chance to change the identity and culture and feeling around the program they fall flat. Since the Rose Bowl after the 2000 season there’s been a feeling that Purdue has had a chance to do something special. Then in 2002 the defense was phenomenal but the offense couldn’t keep up and Purdue lost plenty of games by few points. In 2004 we saw the fumble and the team fall apart. Then came Curtis Painter and the inability to beat a ranked team or any team that had a pulse. I don’t blame Painter for this the teams he was on just weren’t very good. Since then Hope returned and Purdue seemed to be unafraid of big games but yet would lose the small ones. Teams like Rice, Toledo, and Northern Illinois defeated the Boilermakers. This year was supposed to be different though. This year the team was mature, prepared, and the division was weak and Purdue’s for the taking. Unfortunately it looks like Purdue is going to pull the football away from all of us again.
- Cody Webster had some pretty good punts.
- Attendance for a game that Purdue fans were hoping could signal a return to national attention was in the low 50,000s. Purdue needs more fan support. With games like this though it’s hard to make the argument that they’ve earned it. It’s a bit of a conundrum.
- The offensive playcalling at this point is what it is. Screen passes and rollouts that limit where TerBush can throw are the norm. Purdue receivers were unable to get any room.
- Purdue’s inability to stop Denard was their undoing. It started on the first drive and didn’t stop all game.
- Turnovers killed Purdue again with 2 fumbles lost and 2 interceptions. Michigan had a pick six of a TerBush pass that was tipped.
It’s only one game but it’s difficult to believe that Purdue can turn around next week and beat Wisconsin. I want to believe. I really do. At a certain point though even Charlie Brown stops trying to kick the football.