These blowouts are getting ridiculous.
After giving a team that played for a national championship just 10 months ago everything and more before falling late Purdue has played 12 quarters of football. It has given up 140 points and scored only 41 in that time. It has led for two minutes and three seconds of the last 180 minutes it has played. Even worse, you could say that the ugly results we have experienced in the last three games came in contests that weren't even as close as the final scores have indicated.
That is certainly what you could say about today. Not only did Purdue lose, it managed to look as ugly as possibly against a Nebraska team that almost reluctantly blew out the Boilers. As a team the Cornhuskers had thrown only one interception in five games before coming to West Lafayette. Today, Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw three interceptions and was only 6 of 18 passing. It is rare that a starting quarterback has a day that bad and it ends up being completely inconsequential.
For Purdue, it was more the same. The offense did absolutely nothing against one of the worse defenses in the Big Ten. They ranked ninth in run defense and 11th in pass defense coming in when it relates to the Big Ten, but Purdue crossed the 50 yard line once in the first half, reaching the Nebraska 47 down 14-0. That was the play in which Stanley Jean-Baptiste was ejected for "targeting" Dalyn Dawkins on a questionable-at-best play. On the very next play Dawkins fumbled, Randy Gregory (who played as if he had a personal vendetta against the team he formerly committed to) recovered, and Ameer Abdullah formally ended the game with a 28-yard touchdown run on the following snap.
That was the moment in which the game truly ended, but we still had two and a half quarters to go. The rest was a comedy of errors as Purdue could not run the ball, could not protect Danny Etling, and would defensively play well for two plays before completely breaking down on third and long. Nebraska successfully converted Third and 13, Third and 15, Third and eight, and had a huge gain on a Third and five, all when receivers were inexplicably wandering wide open down field without a Purdue player within five yards of them.
We knew this would be a rebuilding project, but this is becoming a historically bad Purdue team. I always thought that Jim Colletto's 1993 that went 1-10 was the shit standard for "worst Purdue team ever", but I fear this one is far worse. At least that season Purdue had a win over an FBS team (Western Michigan, who finished 7-3-1) and was competitive against a very tough schedule. The Boilers played three teams (Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Wisconsin) that finished with only one loss and the largest defeat to them was only 21 points. The worst team it played was a 4-7 Minnesota team that beat the Boilers 59-56.
This Purdue team may not score 56 points in the remaining six games total, while the defense could conceivably give up 59 points to any team remaining on the schedule. The offensive line is a sieve that cannot protect Etling at all. He was running for his life on almost every play from the first snap until the end. This line has taken a back in Akeem Hunt that for two years averaged eight yards per carry and has made him completely irrelevant. Bear in mind, this is a line that had four seniors starting who should be a solid, cohesive unit. As we have seen, they got pushed around by an FCS team earlier in the year.
Then you have the defense, which is honestly the better of the two units and is making a game effort each week. Unfortunately, they are often exhausted and they are still a poor tackling unit that cannot stop anyone on third and long. They wear down because the offense cannot stay on the field, and they aren't good enough like Michigan State to keep the team afloat when the offense goes AWOL.
This is, sadly, how it is going to be for the rest of the season. We are going to see a bunch of freshmen go out and get pounded week in and week out. The four seniors need to be replaced on the line by the redshirt freshmen waiting in the wings such as Jason King and Jordan Roos. It is entirely possible that the Boilers could legitimately field a starting offensive 11 of freshman with Etling, Dawkins, DeAngelo Yancey, B.J. Knauf, Cameron Posey, Carlos Carvajal, King, Roos, J.J. Prince, Cameron Cermin, and Joey Warburg. All 11 of those guys have been on the two-deeps at some point this season and could be good players int his league in the future, but for now, they are simply going to get the snot knocked out of them as they learn.
At some point we also have to question Darrell Hazell. Yes, his record is exactly the same after six games as his predecessor, but Hope's team could have been 6-0 very easily. This team is very lucky to not be 0-6. Say what you will about the Nordfense, but at least it could score on bad defenses. This offense has been ineffective on its best days. Purdue is also somehow looking worse each week. It's once victory came against an FCS team that is now 1-5 and has only a win over a Division II school, and Purdue needed a very late interception just to seal that game.
I really hate to be so negative, but so far we have seen very few positives this season, especially when the lone offensive play that worked today was "Etling throws deep to Yancey". Purdue is going to have to have a night and day turnaround just to be competitive with anyone else left on its schedule.
At least basketball season is only 27 days away.