Behind The Numbers: Despite Record, Boilers Have Big Ten Leaders

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

A handful of Purdue players were among the Big Ten's best in a few categories.

I will get more into a more complete football post-mortem either tomorrow or Tuesday when I have some time at work, but for now I wanted to mine the stats and see some of the very few positives that the Boilers can take from this season. There are not many. Purdue had the worst offense in the country for a team from a BCS conference and the defense was not much better. In the 11 losses only two, Notre Dame and Illinois, were within a touchdown or less. In the lone victory Purdue needed the other team's best player to be injured and a last minute interception to preserve victory over an FCS team that finished 1-11. Basically, it was as bad as it could get.

Still, several players were among the Big Ten leaders in individual categories:

Ricardo Allen - The senior defensive back finished with likely First Team all-Big Ten honors by tying Michigan's Blake Funchess for the most interceptions in the Big Ten with six. Allen was often the only player on the entire defense that seemed to give a crap, but could only do so much as a one-man team. I would argue that many of his weaknesses came from having no one around to help him. He finished his career with 13 interceptions, which is second behind Stu Schweigert all-time.

Frankie Williams - Williams did not have enough returns to qualify with only five, but if he did he led the Big Ten in average yards per punt return with 16.5. This is without the return that was called back due to a penalty against Illinois, which also cost Purdue the game.

Akeem Hunt - Hunt was second in the Big Ten in average yards on kick returns, and let's face it, he got to return A LOT of kicks. He averaged 26.1 yards per return. He was also seventh in all-purpose yards per game with 119.2.

Cody Webster - Webster led the Big Ten in punting average at 43.5 yards per kick while attempting 70 punts. He also had the longest punt in the Big Ten, hitting two 73-yarders. That's why he is a Ray Guy Finalist and likely Big Ten First Teamer.

Jesse Schmitt - Schmitt tied for second in the Big Ten with several players for most fumble recoveries with two. Did I mention he is a long snapper?

Okay, so these are very thin straws I am grasping at, but what else do you expect from a team that went 1-11 and was blown out in eight games? Webster and Allen are likely First Team all-Big Ten and unfortunately they are leaving Purdue after this season. While there were several freshmen that showed some promise, the Boilers have a very long road ahead just to make it back to contention for a bowl game.

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