As Purdue heads into their second bye week of the year I wanted to slow things down a bit and take one last look at the game against Wisconsin and see what Purdue did good, see what was bad, and what was just plain ugly. Let's start with the good (since it won't take long to write up).
- Paul Griggs here is number one with a bullet. The much maligned kicker who struggled mightily last year has now found a groove and actually became the first Purdue kicker in history to make two 50+ yard field goals in a game. How that never happened with Danny Hope and his favorite player of all time Carson Wiggs I don't know. Perhaps if he wouldn't have tried for 67 yarders Wiggs would've had this record.
- A close second here was the play of Landon Feichter. The guy was everywhere on the field. He got behind the line to stop a fourth and one. He forced a fumble and recovered it, and he grabbed an interception. Feichter single handedly ended three promising Wisconsin drives. Sadly the offense could do nothing with it.
- The receiving corps is going here instead of in ugly for just on reason: injuries. Purdue didn't really expect Trae Hart and Gregory Phillips to be playing so many snaps. Unfortunately with injuries to Danny Anthrop and B.J. Knauf people are being forced into positions they probably aren't too comfortable with. Hart played admirably and so did Phillips but you can tell they aren't quite there yet. It sure would help if a guy like Cameron Posey or Gabe Holmes would be consistent. Unfortunately it doesn't look like that's going to happen.
- Overall I think the helmets have to go in this category. Personally, I liked them. Judging by a large swath of twitter users though they weren't received very well. Forget those people. I like that Purdue is actually experimenting and trying to do some more things with the uniforms. Since Purdue isn't a top notch football school that Nike likes, cough Oregon cough, Purdue doesn't get as much flexibility so they have to get creative. Kudos to them for giving it a try.
- Unfortunately this is where the majority of the points are going to fall after this Wisconsin game. Isn't that always the way it is though when Purdue plays Wisconsin? It doesn't matter who the coach is or who the QB is since 2004 things just haven't gone well against Wisconsin.
- What about that offensive line huh? Yes, I know the Wisconsin defensive line has some pretty solid perhaps future NFL players on it but guess what that's the game. You're going to have to play against guys that are just straight up better than you. David Hedelin for one got abused in the second half and gave up at least two sacks coming off his side. No one else really fared much better in pass protection in that second half as poor Austin Appleby was running for his life.
- To the offensive line again as they were completely unable to generate any kind of hole for the running backs to get through. This was especially bad since Purdue was clearly planning to rely heavily on the running back trio of Akeem Hunt, Raheem Mostert, and Keyante Green with the injuries to the receiving corps. Purdue could manage just 26 yards of rushing offense. That's thanks in large part to Appleby's -17 due to the sacks. Still, adding that 17 yards back in only give you 43 yards rushing. That's not gonna win you many games unless you are a pass happy team and have 500 yards passing. Purdue had just 204 through the air. Not a recipe for success.
- Though Feichter performed well as mentioned above the Purdue defense as a whole struggled to stop the running backs of Wisconsin. Perhaps I should just save this article and post it when these two teams play next year as it's a recurring theme when they get together. Wisconsin rushed for 264 yards against this Boilermaker defense. More egregious to me is that Purdue allowed the 119th ranked passing offense to pass for 225 yards. Purdue couldn't stop a thing.
We all knew this wasn't going to be an easy game going into it. With the resurgence of the Purdue offense and the way they had been able to put up points against both Michigan State and Nebraska there was hope that Purdue would be able to do the same against Wisconsin unfortunately that just wasn't the case. Short of the wheel route to Hunt that went for the touchdown the Purdue offense was stymied all day. It's clear there's a lot of work left to do and a lot of depth left to build. The injuries are mounting for Purdue and the young guys are struggling to step up. Luckily Purdue heads into the bye week and to the easier part of their schedule with games remaining against Northwestern and IU.