When Caleb TerBush threw a 52 yard pass to Edison to start off the game and then TerBush punched it in for a 1 yard TD I thought maybe things had changed. Maybe Purdue had been able to find that offensive potency we heard about all summer long. Purdue scored in 38 seconds on a true deep pass. This wasn’t a screen that someone break to inflate the passing numbers this was a legitimate 52 yard pass with Edison going down at the one yard line. It was the best offensive play I’ve seen from Purdue this year. It also might have been the first deep ball I’ve seen Purdue complete in about 3-4 years. You think I’m joking but I honestly can’t think of another one. I was buoyed and thought the defense could get a quick stop and really put Wisconsin on the ropes early. Instead Wisconsin ran all over Purdue and found holes in the secondary to score in just over 2 minutes. This wasn’t the game Purdue wanted. Montee Ball got unhinged and before you knew it things were falling apart quickly.
On the very next possession TerBush overthrew the tight end and the ball found its way into Wisconsin hands. Wisconsin turned that into a missed field goal and I, along with many others, held out Hope that the defense could turn it around. Of course you have to score points to win ball games and Purdue wasn’t having any of that. The run game was stymied all day, staying in negative numbers for most of the second half due to multiple QB sacks, and QB overthrows by all three and drops by the receiving corp made the offense completely ineffective. Purdue went down to half down just 10 but you got the feeling that lead was insurmountable given Purdue’s recent second half ways and the way in which Wisconsin absolutely had manhandled Purdue’s defense. Turns out that feeling was right.
Things quickly got out of hand in the second half as Wisconsin came out swinging and per their M.O. Purdue came out sluggish. It took just two plays for Wisconsin to score in the second half. Montee Ball broke a 67 yard run that allowed Wisconsin to press their lead to 24-7. It was all over. Purdue would never threaten. So what exactly went wrong? Well the offensive line couldn’t block, the QBs couldn’t hit their targets, and their targets couldn’t hang onto the passes. Overall this loss can be blamed on pretty much everyone. On the opposite side of the ball the team seems to have forgotten how to tackle. They relied heavily on one armed tackles today which tend not to work. Sean Robinson in particular had a shot at a safety but whiffed on the ball carrier in the end zone. He wasn’t the only one so don’t think I’m singling him out but that play sticks in my mind. The edge was wide open for Wisconsin all day as they gauged Purdue to the tune of 467 rushing yards with an average of 8.2 per carry.
The Purdue offense finally score again with a little over a minute to go on an 81 yard run by Akeem Hunt. If you put the Akeem Hunt run, Purdue still leads the nation in Akeem touchdowns I’m sure, with the 52 yard catch by Edison it accounts for 133 of Purdue’s 252 total yards. Think about that for a second if you will. That leaves just 119 yards for the rest of the game. Purdue held the ball for 21:18. Let’s say, and be extremely generous here, that those two plays took one minute. Purdue then has 20:18 and in that time they scored 0 points and totaled 119 yards. That’s just a shade over 5 yards for every minute of possession. Wisconsin by contrast averaged over 16.5 yards per minute.
- Purdue completed it’s first deep pass since the Carter administration today on the first play from scrimmage.
- The kick return team looked great except for Mostert being injured during the game.
- The weather was horrible. It was cold and rainy.
- The fans didn’t take part in the black and gold game at all except for a few patches here and there.
- Yet another punt was blocked.
- Purdue failed to score in the third quarter, again.
- Dropped passes, overthrows, and poor protection abounded.
So where does Purdue go from here? If you pay attention to the site, and specifically my postings you’ll know that this is exactly where I thought this team would be at this time of the season. Then why do I feel so angry about how the season has gone? It’s because of the WAY Purdue has lost. They’ve been absolutely dismantled in every facet of the game in the last two games. There’s been nothing to truly take away from a positive from either of those games. Sure Cody Webster has made some outstanding punts but you can’t build a successful team on that. Next week will be another tough one and it’s probably one that you can put in Sharpie so they say. Ohio State looks fantastic and Purdue does not. After that though the schedule is much more manageable. Can Purdue do anything with it or will they spiral. This is where Hope’s reputation for motivating his team has to come through. The fan base is angry and not ready to accept yet another Pizza Pizza bowl. Something needs to change within the culture of Purdue football. I’m not sure what the solution is but I know for the first time in the last 8 years I seriously contemplated not ordering season tickets next year. I’m not the only one thinking this way either. Danny Hope has time to turn this season around, and Ohio State has been his favorite team to do this against, but his time is running out both this season and for the long term.