After Purdue's absolutely demoralizing loss to Northwestern this weekend the thought occurred to me of completing this post by doing just the ugly, putting everything, and calling it a day. That's not entirely fair though. There were actually some things that were good and some that were bad but not entirely ugly. It's hard to be objective when it's your own team and you're trying to evaluate them but I'm going to do my best here after Purdue got trounced by the Wildcats. Just like anything else I'm going to want the good news first.
- First and foremost here has to be Danny Ezechukwu. The guy played easily the best game of his career getting an interception early on, that Purdue's offense squandered, and a forced fumble, which Purdue's offense squandered. He also recorded a sack. The guy showed some real promise at a time when the rest of the defense looked like they had just eaten a big hoagie. Hopefully he can build on that.
- Improvement from receivers goes here. Keep in mind I'm grading on a curve here so it's not as if they performed fantastically. It's simply that they looked better than they have in previous weeks. Dolapo Macarthy, Gregory Phillips, and even the elusive DeAngelo Yancey and Cameron Posey had some good catches. It's still not enough but I'll take any trend upward at this point.
- The punting and punt coverage for Purdue continues to be inconsistent. They allowed a touchdown on a 64 yard return that looked all too easy for one. Second, Thomas Meadows averaged just 36 yards per punt and only managed to get one of his five punts inside the 20. Not what you want out of a guy who is supposed to be a weapon.
- I'm gonna throw Austin Appleby here rather than ugly because he did manage to rack up some solid stats at 251 yards and two touchdowns. It didn't help him that the interceptions weren't necessarily his fault. He's the QB so ultimately the buck stops with him but when a ball goes bouncing off hands or helmets it's hard to blame the QB.
- The majority of my points are going to go here sadly. First, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the just terrible attendance. I get it was a crappy day and Purdue is quite frankly a crappy team but Saturday's game might've been the worst attended I've ever seen. I was not able to attend seeing as how I now live in Virginia and my wife doesn't have a job. Heading to a football game isn't exactly top priority at this point. I get there are reasons not to go but it's also embarrassing. On one hand I get the argument that if the team doesn't care why should the fans. I know it's frustrating but there are still guys out there busting their butts trying to make a name for themselves and bring honor and glory to Old Purdue. I'm not going to shame people who don't go but Purdue and the fans need to mend their clearly troubled relationship. I just wish I knew how.
- Going into the season it was expected that Purdue would be a running team. That didn't materialize Saturday as Purdue was only able to muster 61 total rushing yards. To go along with that Akeem Hunt fumbled the ball twice, Appleby fumbled it once as well, but somehow didn't get benched like Raheem Mostert did earlier in the season. Mostert only got one carry for five yards. It's something I can't understand or comprehend. Just another head scratcher personnel decision by this staff. Mostert is fast. Get him the ball. He run fast past defense.
- Short of singling anyone out here I'm just going to list effort as something that was ugly. With the exception of a few guys there just didn't appear to be a fire or urgency on the faces of these guys. No one seemed fired up to play on Senior Day and that's difficult to swallow. Again, I don't have a solution for the give a shit meter problem but it's not something I get paid over $2 million to figure out either.
So there you have it. There's much more under the bad and ugly than under the good. As a general rule that's not something you want to see. What a disappointing game it was. It pains me to say but if Purdue wants to beat IU next week it really has to shape up otherwise the Old Oaken Bucket may reside in Bloomington for another year. The last time IU won two straight in the series was 20 years ago in 1993 and 1994. Gulp.