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Just Ugly...

There's no witty comeback to something like that. I don't think there is anything I can say to put a silver lining on the 47-17 pantsing we took at the hands of the Hawkeyes today. I am simply stunned at our inability to do anything positive today. I was listening to the game in the car on the way to Brown County and from the sounds of things Purdue was simply uninterested on defense and on offense could not take advantage of anything positive.
Shoot, we don't even have an IU loss to fall back on today.

In retrospect, something like this was bound to happen. You can have as young of a team as we have and expect no mistake to happen in a road venue like Iowa City. We couldn't expect Painter to have another nearly flawless game like the past two weeks. We couldn't expect the receivers to suddenly get it together, and we certainly couldn't expect the defense to become the '85 Bears.

But it was so much worse than that, and that is what makes things all the more frustrating. Offensively, the number of dropped balls and overthrown passing was even more alarming than it was last week. We could not take advantage to all the injuries that Iowa had on defense, when they weren't playing that well defensively in the first place. Once again, we had the disturbing trend of rolling up 450 yards and having almost nothing to show for it. Yes, we got Bryant back involved in the passing game, but it's time we score points. Each week so far our scoring has dwindled, and next week we face a Northwestern team that has a decent defense, but one that we should still be able to score on.

Also alarming is our inability to take care of the breaks we did get. We had three critical fumble recoveries that netted nothing on the scoreboard, and good field position from kickoff returns netted next to nothing. The offense didn't do its part in keeping up with Iowa as it raced up and down the field. We owned the time of possession, and it still didn't matter.
Defensively, matters were even worse. It's like we have taken a step back, if that was possible. We let a backup running back have a career day against us and even a banged up quarterback who was struggling was able to tee off on us. There was no defensive pressure, and the secondary played like it was missing a clue. The running defense was simply atrocious. 286 yards given up to a team missing its top running back and a quarterback who wasn't as mobile as usual. What is Wisconsin going to do to us in two weeks?

The defensive front seven was an absolute joke today. They were just a complete non-factor, which of course leads to our secondary getting torched. Maybe it wasn't the secondary all along last season, but the front seven. I don't know what changes need to be made up front, but we are getting almost nothing out of anyone not named Anthony Spencer up front, and when opposing offenses only have to concentrate on one guy, then it's tough to do anything. You would thing simple math would prevail in that if two guys were concentrating on Spencer, that would mean an extra guy could rush or be in coverage.
Even on special teams things were an adventure. Summers struggled to hit long field goals, but at least he had the distance. The accuracy will likely come with him. In the end, those six points weren't going to matter. We also had bad punts and the 98-yard interception return for a TD was certainly forgettable.

So what positives can we take from this. I think there are very few. One of them is the fact that we have already finished with the two toughest teams on our schedule. When you looked at the slate coming into this season, we are exactly where almost everyone picked us to be at this point. We probably weren't going to win the Big Ten anyway, so one loss doesn't matter. Penn State and Michigan State look more winnable than they did a month ago, but Wisconsin looks more and more like a loss. Thanks to a very weak schedule from here on out, the potential is still there for nine and maybe even ten wins. Nothing is lost from losing to Notre Dame and Iowa both on the road, as many teams would do that.

It does, however, make Northwestern a very big must win game next week. WE have to be concerned if the defense gives up a big game to them, as they have the most inexperienced quarterback we will face this year and maybe even a worse offense than Indiana State. Next week needs to be a statement, as it is one of our fallback "Win at any cost" games in order to have a successful season.

I really think that this is the type of team that will feed off a better crowd at home than on the road. It certainly seems like they are a different team there. Yes, if we win the remaining three home games we go to a bowl regardless, but I know that Northwestern and Illinois need to be wins for some breathing room. This could simply be a case of our youth going through some growing pains and learning how to win away from Ross-Ade. If so, Northwestern is the perfect opponent up next.

So, I propose that we as Purdue fans do as much as we can to get fans up to Chicago next week. It's only about two hours from campus next week, and tickets can be had for less than face value. Let's take advantage of this and really support our guys for a much needed win on the road. This team is still so much easier to support than last year, and you get the sense that once all the bumps are smoothed over, things will start to roll. We're still right on where people expected us to be, and I think the only disappointment lies in not exceeding those expectations.

So let's all head to Chicago next week, and turn this thing around.