Purdue made me quit tonight.
After the first two series, when Notre Dame walked down the field for an early score and then Purdue had a pedestrian 3 and out I had enough. I had to walk away and I said as such on Twitter. I went, played with my son for a bit to get some perspective, and came back around the time that Brandon Cottom bulldozed into the end zone. It was the beginning of a pretty solid run for Purdue, but it wasn't enough in the end.
Once again, Purdue was facing an opponent that did not play its best game, but was able to take advantage of the Boilers' mistakes. Tonight's litany:
- Akeem Hunt fumbled inside the 5 as Purdue was driving to take the lead. Purdue held and forced a punt, but this was a missed opportunity.
- The offensive line was unable to open a hole on 4th and one, forcing a turnover on downs after the punt. This was the second straight possession hat ended inside the ND 30 with no points. Yes, we were able to force a fumble, then score, but it just felt bad at the time. We also had a huge drop by Danny Anthrop.
- On 3rd and 5 near midfield just before halftime Purdue led 14-10. It was getting the ball to start the second half and desperately needed a stop. It gave up a 6-yard play to Ben Koyack (who had fumbled earlier), and kept the drive alive. Everett Golson scored on a nice 16 yard run to give them the lead for good. As usual, Purdue's inability to get a third down stop was critical. A stop on that play at midfield, just before halftime, changes the game.
- Midway through the third quarter ND converted a 3rd and 7 and a 3rd and 8. It led to a TD and put them in front 24-14.
- The two biggest mistakes occurred on the following drive. Down 10 and needing a score, Purdue drove into ND territory. On 3rd and 5, Danny Etling threw behind a wide open DeAngelo Yancey on a play that is probably a TD if the pass is converted. On the next play Gabe Holmes dropped a first down conversion. There was also a nice playaction where Etling overthrew Holmes on the drive. This all occurred in the final five minutes of the third quarter and pretty much sealed it.
- With 8:19 left Etling underthrew Yancey and it was picked off by Cole Luke, which was the final chance.
At least this was better than last week. The effort was clearly and Etling had a much better game, but his two missed throws to Yancey and Holmes, ended up being huge plays. Convert either one of those and the end game is very interesting. Instead, this game felt like a missed opportunity all around. It was there for the taking because Notre Dame did not play well. They had a ton of injuries int he game and Purdue got the breaks it needed. The Boilers just couldn't get out of their own way at key points.
Still, at least Purdue was better this week. That is what is so frustrating. Purdue looked terrible against Central Michigan for an entire game, but for 2.5 quarters it played right with a good Notre Dame team. If Purdue can replicate this effort in the final nine games a lot of good can happen, especially with teams like Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, and Northwestern looking beatable. Purdue just needs to match this effort and it will be in some games this season, maybe even winning a few.
That's really what we need to take from this. We at least saw something to build on if we can do that. As for the Irish, they are now off the schedule until 2020. It is a shame we can't keep it going, but given that we are 10-35 against them since 1969 it is probably not a bad thing. We're clearly not in a position to beat them now. We can only make games close. Maybe in 6 years we can do something good.