As a programming note, things will be slightly backward this week. My Q&A with Maize N' Brew will not be ready until tomorrow, so I am running my normal game preview later this afternoon. In this entry I wanted to go around SB Nation and offer a little more commentary on some Purdue-related news.
The Numerical is the weekly breakdown of college football's numbers at the mothership. Bill Connelly does a great job each week of breaking down statistical trends, and this week he talked about the explosion of scoring around the scoring. The 92 points and 977 yards thrown up by Purdue and Marshall earned a mention in a week where there were scores of 70-63, 51-44, 45-43, 56-49, and 52-40.
I am touching on this mostly because of the alarm Purdue fans felt in giving up 41 points and 534 yards to the Thundering Herd. On the surface, yes it looks bad. We had a defense that was looking very stout through three games and, on paper, it got gashed. The court of public opinion that did not watch the game dismissed us because of this, and many Purdue fans felt uneasy.
I don't think it is that big of a deal, however. First off, the defense scored two touchdowns. That's huge right there. It was the defense that blew open a close game in the second quarter and the defense that got a critical stop on the game's first drive.
Second, we were facing the best passing team in the nation. Of course they are going to be prepared to pile up yards. After going up by four scores we pretty much sat back and let them have the little stuff while our own offense could not keep them off the field with drives of its own. To me, the bigger concern was our running game not dominating and our offense doing very little in the third quarter alone. A great passing team like Marshall combined with an early multi-score deficit is going to skew the numbers a bit because they're going to pass even more to try and catch up. This is the best offense we'll see all year long and we still won by 10, and that was after handing them seven points back on a blocked punt and six more on a questionable 4th down penalty that kept a TD drive alive. The lead never dipped under 10 after we went up by that much, so I am not concerned.
This note gets a mention because recent Purdue grad and NFL Draft pick Nick Mondek has been picked up by the Oakland Raiders for their practice squad. Mondek was one of two picks in April's NFL Draft and was with the Texans before getting cut in training camp. Maybe he'll find a home in Oakland now.
There are often very few teams that have a chance to win the National Championship in college football. First, you have to be from a BCS conference. I say this because some very good and worthy TCU and Boise State teams have been left out. Second, you either have to go undefeated or have a very good loss early in the season. More than one loss means you need a wacky 2007 "all hell has broken loose" scenario.
According to this link, Purdue still falls into the second category. Yes, a weakened Big Ten is doing us no favors and we would have to miraculously run the table, but a 13-1 Purdue as Big Ten champion with our only loss at Notre Dame on a last minute field goal is enough to keep us in the group of 31 teams still alive for the title.
It's not much, but it is a chance!