Purdue got absolutely embarrassed and manhandled in every single way yesterday afternoon in Ross-Ade Stadium as Purdue lost to NIU 55-24. On the plus side Purdue was a part of history as NIU became the first MAC team to ever beat two B1G teams in the same season after beating Iowa previously this season. Also, the 55 points allowed by the Boilermaker defense was the most points allowed in a home game in Ross-Ade Stadium. So there’s that! This was perhaps the worst Purdue football game I’ve ever sat through. Part of the reason was due to the opponent and the fact that you expect a team from the B1G to easily handle a team from the MAC. Maybe my expectations are skewed. Maybe this team isn’t really a team that can handle the easiest of games anymore. Maybe the re-building process will take much longer than most of us thought. Maybe I’m still thinking of Purdue in 2004 terms rather than 2013. I need to base my reality on the recent history not 9 years ago. Perhaps my expectations of this Purdue football season, while low, need to be re-evaluated. What happens for the rest of this 2013 season? More on that later this week. For now let’s do a post-mortem shall we?
Purdue started out this game with the usual players out there minus the depleted secondary. That defense proved no match for the arm and legs of Jordan Lynch as he absolutely decimated the Boilermakers. He only ran for 35 yards which wasn’t what you expect from him but he was more than able to make up for it with his arm. He went 18/25 and racked up a tidy 207 yards with 3 TDs and 0 interceptions. Those are great numbers for any QB but really pathetic for the Purdue defense. Those 7 missed passes weren’t even passes that Purdue defended many of them were drops or just plain overthrows by Lynch. The Purdue defense had absolutely no answer for the Huskies offense all day even when the Huskies put in the second and even third string quarterback. Going into this season the defensive line and secondary were thought to be strengths of the team. Purdue’s defensive line got little to no pressure today and, stop me if you’ve heard this one, the banged up Purdue secondary constantly gave up one more yard than the offense needed on third down. It’s just a pattern that Purdue has been in for roughly 3+ years and doesn’t show any sign of stopping. Enough of the defense though let’s take a look at the offense.
Purdue’s offense led by 5th year senior Rob Henry looked absolutely pathetic for most of the first half. Rob Henry was 5-16 with just 130 yards and 1 TD versus 2 interceptions. Most of Henry’s throws continue to be overthrown, underthrown, or generally not thrown where they need to be. A big part of that is the absolutely sieve like offensive line that Purdue has trotted out there this season. For such an experienced group of guys it’s absolutely unacceptable that they allow a defense like NIU to get through the line on nearly every single play. I can’t imagine how this group gets any better this year. Purdue has to hope that some of the freshmen and redshirt freshmen are able to come in next year and make an impact on the line. Right now that’s the biggest problem Purdue faces on offense. With the clock winding down and Purdue trailing 27-7 Rob Henry threw his second interception of the game Coach Hazell, and the fans, had seen enough of Rob Henry and on the ensuing Purdue possession Danny Etling was brought into the game for his first action in a college uniform. He quickly led Purdue down the field in 27 seconds to get them into field goal range and Paul Griggs nailed a 47 yards to put the score at 27-10 at halftime.
That was just enough to give the fans hope because after all Purdue is a B1G team and NIU is from the MAC. Those hopes were dashed immediately after the half began as poor lane discipline and poor tackling allowed NIU to return the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown. At that point the game was completely out of reach especially with the way Purdue was playing on both sides of the ball. The story of the second half was what exactly could Danny Etling do now that he was in control of the Purdue offense. While he didn’t lead Purdue back to victory, hell I’m not sure Drew Brees could’ve done that, he did show some flashes of the talent we’ve all heard so much about. Etling made some difficult passes that quite frankly I’m not sure we’ve seen Henry make this year but he also showed that he is still a freshman. Many of his passes were incomplete due to him putting too much zip on the ball. In time he’ll figure out when he needs to put more touch on the ball to make his receivers have the best chance. He ended the day 19-39 for 241 yards to go along with 2 TDs and 2 interceptions. While his stats weren’t impressive you could see the difference between the two QBs if you watched.
- Etling was given a chance.
- They mic’d up the band allowing those of us on the east side of the stadium to hear them. Finally.
- The crowd was once again overtaken by opposing fans this time from NIU. Not good.
- McCarthy and Cottom still not getting the touches they deserve.
- Literally everything else.
Where can Purdue go from hear? There’s a large part of me that thinks Purdue won’t win another game this year. I’m not sure how the fans would recover from a season like that. It would be tough to bounce back from. As the season progresses Purdue has to find some semblance of progress. Where that will come from I don’t know. My guess is that this is now Etling’s team barring some sort of injury. We’ve more than likely seen the last of Rob Henry. Will that improve the record for the rest of the season? I don’t know but I do think it will pay dividends in the next 4 years as Etling leads the team.