I debated opening this entry with a picture of a turd floating in a toilet bowl. That's the best description I could come up with for this entire Purdue football season. Indeed, that is how I feel after the entire day relating to Purdue athletics (women's volleyball aside). After making proclamations in the preseason that no game was out of reach and a nine win season was possible we find ourselves here at the end.
...having lost the Bucket to Indiana...
...after absolutely owning them in Ross-Ade for a decade and a half.
Forget any lamentations about being home during bowl season for the third straight year. We have now suffered the indignity of getting outcoached by Bill Lynch. Add to that, we were outplayed by a defense that gave up 83 points two weeks ago.
Folks, it doesn't get worse than this. All of the positive momentum of the Joe Tiller Era, let alone last season, is now gone. We are back in the Colletto Era of football, with very little hope for the future. I understand that it has been a tough season. We suffered more injuries than anyone else in the conference. Still, after the Minnesota game we at least looked like we were headed in the right direction. Then the following happened:
- We completely checked out after the fumbled punt at Ohio State in a 49-0 loss
- We ran perhaps the most retarded offensive game plan possible at Illinois in another blowout loss.
- We led two of the three Big Ten champions at halftime before completely self-destructing on offense in the second half.
- We failed to score an offensive touchdown against Michigan, who had a defense that couldn't stop a Pop Warner team against anyone else.
- Finally, we shit the bed at home against our rivals. Those same rivals came in with a 12-game conference losing streak and 14 years of terrible play at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The final insult was the loss to the Hoosiers today. I think I could have taken a loss to Indiana if they were a good team. After all, they had beaten us before and it was only a matter of time before we lost to them again. Even three years ago there was no shame in losing the game in Bloomington with the emotion involved. Today, however, was an exercise in failure. We were defeated offensively and defensively by a team that had no success at all in conference play, and had only earned victories over teams that 90% of the country would beat on a given day.
I have to give credit to Indiana. They played like they wanted it more. The key sequence of the game was their drive just before halftime. Down 21-7, we twice got a third down stop only to keep their drive alive with a pass interference penalty. They were close calls, especially the second one when, it looked like to me, our defender did not touch the receiver and merely put his hands up to knock the ball down without turning around. They were called though. You have to recover and get a stop. These bailouts allowed the Hoosiers to score a critical touchdown before the half and seize the momentum.
From there, we were in trouble. We just didn't know it yet. The Hoosiers used halftime as a defensive stop, and drove down for a score to start the second half. Suddenly, it was a tie game. Even with the long Rob Henry pass to Cortez Smith (which accounted for more than half of our second half offense) we struggled incredibly on offense. We couldn't run against a defense that had defended the run against absolutely no one. Did we adjust? No! We kept running sweeps to the strong side when it had not worked at any point this season.
Defensively, our weakness of flat out refusing to cover the middle of the field on third down killed us, and Ben Chappell took advantage of it. I don't understand this. It is not a difficult concept to master, yet we continue to give a 15 FUCKING YARD CUSHION on every inside receiver or tight end in the trips formation. It is a conscious decision that we do not want to defend this. That is the only logical explanation at this point because it has been a glaring weakness for many years under multiple coaching staffs.
We looked completely lost on defense, especially with them holding Ryan Kerrigan at bay. We repeatedly either let them complete wide open passes or committed bailout pass interference calls to keep their drives alive. We even let them have a modicum of a running game when they had run against no one.
By the time overtime rolled around, we were done. After Kyle Adams caught a pass on the first play and rumbled to the six we continued to try the non-working sweep with Dan Dierking. Henry, who threw the deep ball well, struggled with short passes because of his grip on the ball and that killed us at the worst time.
As if it wasn't bad enough, Bill Lynch tried to get fired on IU's overtime possession. Why they didn't kick on the second play, I don't know. Instead, they ran two plays where they nearly turned it over, then Mitch Ewald was money. It is ironic that Tandon Doss ran to our sideline and stole the Bucket out of the equipment cart with no one in front of him. We hadn't gotten in front of them all day for a meaningful stop, so why try then?
What is so sad is not just the loss, but that Indiana played with more fire than us. Even after the ejection that bailed us out on a drive we did nothing. Instead, we tucked our tail between our legs in order to forgo a 50 yard field goal. So much about that talk of trying from 70. When we forced a punt another dumb hold killed us and we settled for another field goal when we absolutely needed a touchdown. We showed no interest in wanting to stop them on the following field goal drive.
This entire program needs an overhaul and an attitude adjustment. Every single starting position needs to be up for grabs. The offensive line opened nothing in the running game against the most pathetic defense in the league. Therefore, all five starting spots need to be up for grabs. We already know quarterback will be up for grabs, but the defense did itself no favors today. In fact, only Carson Wiggs and Cody Webster had good days of anyone.
This is an embarrassing way to end a season that was nothing short of an utter disaster. When coupled with the basketball tonight, I am feeling as low as I have in some time.
Here is what I am going to do, however. I am going to handle it with dignity. Dany hope is not going to be fired, so I am going to get behind him to fix things for the next football season. I don't have a choice in the matter.
When it comes to basketball, it is one game. Naturally, we are going to be written off. I can already predict any national headlines, as they will say, "Without Robbie Hummel..." and static. We played like crap, but I trust coach Painter to fix things and we will beat Virginia Tech on Wednesday.
So sleep tonight, Boilers. The best thing you can do to anyone who mock you is handle it with dignity. They want you to overreact, and you will piss them off more if you don't.
I am going to move forward because I saw my Kats win tonight, and that is enough to keep me positive.