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Where Did It All Go Wrong? Analyzing Each Darrell Hazell Loss

Purdue has lost 25 games under Darrell Hazell, often because issues that were problems in game 1 have not been corrected by game 30.

Other teams celebrating on our field is common.
Other teams celebrating on our field is common.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Darrell Hazell is currently 5-25 as Purdue head coach. He is 1-17 against Big Ten opponents, 2-25 against non-FCS teams, 4-14 at home, and 0-9 at home against the Big Ten. The last coach to start this poorly at Purdue is NO ONE. Even Elmer Burnham started 1-8 in 1942 and went 9-0 in 1943, and there was a damn World War going on too!

But enough of that rant. The point of this post is to show that in almost all 31 losses, there was a critical moment where something went wrong and everything simply snowballed. It may have come early and Purdue never recovered. It may have come late. The point is that Hazell's more disciplined approach has been pretty flawed from the beginning and never really came through.

L 42-7 at Cincinnati - Yes, this was a 35 point road loss, but this was a close game for awhile. After a fumbled punt Purdue scored on an 11-yard drive to make it 7-7 just before halftime. Purdue would only have the football for five offensive plays while Cincinnati would score 21 points over the next 12 minutes of game play, and one of those was a kneel down before halftime. The play in question was a 40 yard pass play given up on 3rd and 9 just after halftime. Purdue trailed just 14-7 at that point and a stop out of the half could have been huge. Instead, Cincy went on to score, then after trading punts a pick-six by Rob Henry sealed it.

L 31-24 vs. Notre Dame - Purdue was in this game throughout, but in the span of less than four minutes a 7-point 4th quarter lead became a 14 point deficit. The culprit here was a Bennett Jackson pick-6 that came 82 seconds after the previous Notre Dame touchdown that gave the Irish the lead.

L 41-10 at Wisconsin - An early interception by Ricardo Allen gave Purdue the ball at the Wisconsin 10 trailing 14-7 midway through the second quarter. Purdue had to settle for a 24-yard field goal when a pass in the end zone to Justin Sinz was broken up. The Boilers would not score again.

L 55-24 vs. Northern Illinois - Rob Henry fumbled at midfield late in the first quarter as Purdue trailed 10-7. The Boilers even led 7-3 at one point. NIU would then outscore the Boilers 17-3 in the second quarter and go on to the largest MAC victory ever over a Big Ten team.

L 44-7 vs. Nebraska - Nebraska got off the bus. Seriously. Purdue never even showed a hint of scoring despite getting 3 interceptions. Of the 216 yards gained by Purdue 55 came on the final play, a passing TD to DeAngelo Yancey.

L 14-0 at Michigan State - Purdue was in this one for a good long while, but the offense could generate nothing. A tony Lippett TD catch with 8:55 left finally sealed it, as Purdue had a chance if it ever could have gotten Akeem Hunt loose.

L 56-0 vs. Ohio State - It was over in two plays. Doran Grant returned an interception for a TD on the second play of the game as the Buckeyes handed out one of the most thorough ass-whippings I have ever seen. They could have scored 100 if they simply felt like it. This capped a streak in which Purdue would not have even reached the red zone, let alone scored, if not for the long catch by Yancey, in three straight games.

L 38-14 vs. Iowa - Purdue reached the red zone and was even tied 7-7 (okay, it came after Iowa fumbled a punt, but hey!). The tie lasted about 4 minutes, as Iowa scored on the next drive to go into halftime up 14-7. Purdue wouldn't score again until a late pass from Austin Appleby to Danny Anthrop.

L 45-21 at Penn State - By this point most people had walked away from Purdue in 2013, but at Penn State the boilers improved from "horrendous" to "not that bad". A third quarter TD run by Danny Etling got Purdue within 28-21, and after getting a stop for a field goal there was a modicum of momentum. Purdue then fumbled at midfield and the game was essentially over.

L 20-16 vs. Illinois - There was a chance for a win here as two epically bad teams "battled" to a 14-14 tie after three quarters. Illinois got a pair of field goals and an interception of Etling by V'Angelo Bentley at the Illini 13 with a minute left ended a solid late drive.

L 56-36 at Indiana - Raheem Mostert is stuffed for a 5 yard loss on Purdue's first offensive possession. The Boilers couldn't run against a very bad rush defense, it set up 3rd and 15, and naturally Purdue failed to convert. Indiana scored to make it 14-0 on the next possession and they were off to an eventual 35-9 lead.

L 38-17 vs. Central Michigan - Purdue could have been off to a nice 2-0 start to 2014, but they couldn't do anything against Central Michigan. A 57-yard interception return for a touchdown by Brandon Greer gave CMU an early 7-0 lead and after a Purdue punt CMU scored again to go up 14-0. They would cruise the rest of the way.

L 30-14 vs. Notre Dame - Purdue once again had a lead at 14-10, but could not get a stop on 3rd and 5 at midfield before halftime. Notre Dame went in to score and take a 17-14 lead at the break. They pitched a second half shutout for the win. A special note should be given for Akeem Hunt's lost fumble inside the 5 earlier when Purdue could have gone up 14-10 before the eventual real second TD.

L 24-10 vs. Iowa - Purdue led 10-0 by virtue of being the team that did the pick-sixing, but did absolutely nothing on offense the rest of the day. From the point where Purdue went up 10-0 they had four three-and outs and a kneel down before halftime. Purdue got three total first downs in the last 49 minutes.

L 45-31 vs. Michigan State - Another close game decided by, you guessed it, an interception for a touchdown. Darien Harris intercepted Austin Appleby and returned it for a touchdown with about 2 minutes left to end the game-tying drive.

L 39-38 at Minnesota - You have your pick in this one. Either Appleby coming up short on 4th and 1 because he fumbled or Taylor Richards committing a personal foul 3 yards from the play on a third down stop that kept alive the Minnesota drive for the winning field goal. Purdue even recovered from an interception on the first play from scrimmage that gave Minnesota the ball at the 2. I have officially lost count of free touchdowns handed out by the offense.

L 35-14 at Nebraska - Gabe Holmes (surprise) drops a pass on 4th and 5 at the Nebraska 31 as Purdue trailed 28-14, but had just intercepted the Cornhuskers and were driving to cut the lead in half with 7:55 left.

L 34-16 vs. Wisconsin - Purdue trailed only 24-16 late in the third quarter, but gave up a 58 yard TD drive in four running plays as Wisconsin got its breathing room.

L 38-14 vs. Northwestern - Purdue was playing a backup quarterback and even got an early interception in NW territory, but Purdue turned it right back over. The boilers would fall behind 24-0 eventually, giving up a punt return TD too.

L 23-16 at Indiana - Once again, Purdue squandered a late lead. Purdue had 1st and goal at the IU 9 early in the fourth quarter but had to settle for a 20 yard field goal because they couldn't run on the IU defense. That FG gave Purdue a 16-13 lead, but it was really a loss after IU had fumbled to give Purdue the ball at the 22 before the FG.

L 41-31 at Marshall - this one had not one, but two pick sixes. One to start the game on the first play from scrimmage and a second that ended it as Purdue was attempting to drive down 3. It should also be noted that Purdue had a 4 point lead with 9 minutes left and the running game, which had done well all day, could not even get a single first down.

L 51-24 vs. Virginia Tech - Up 17-14 after a 90 yard fumble return for a score Purdue lets the Hokies' anemic offense march 75 yards in 12 plays to immediately get the 7 points back. The big play is a 3rd and 6 conversion at midfield after VaTech had it 1st and 25 due to a personal foul penalty. It all fell apart from there.

L 35-28 vs. Bowling Green - Another new twist! An interception returned for a touchdown by Anthony Brown appeared to give Purdue a 35-38 lead, but it was called back due to a bogus pass interference penalty on Ezechukwu. Yeah, Purdue would get a stop, then miss a field goal, but the call changed everything.

L 24-21 at Michigan State - this one came late, as three straight incompletions from midfield lead to a turnover on downs with Purdue down 3 and a minute left. It was a valiant effort and David Blough had been able to drive Purdue over 30 yards (thanks to a gift penalty), but it wasn't enough.

L 41-13 vs. Minnesota - Jalen Myrick intercepts Blough at the Purdue 37 with the boilers leading 6-3. To this point Purdue had done a great job defensively, but Purdue could do nothing after the opening drive resulted in a touchdown. After this play everything unraveled, including the long Shannon Brooks TD run which was an exercise in how NOT to tackle and another pick six by Myrick.

So there you have it. Be it penalties, turnovers, poor execution, or whatever, Purdue has managed to find creative ways to lose, often while either leading or at least being close for a decent portion of the game. The only game that was a complete and thorough but-whipping was Ohio State. In every other game Purdue at least held things close for a short time, with the first Indiana loss being the next biggest drubbing.

Why did I do this? I don't know. Mostly out of idle curiosity, but I also wanted to see if I was correct in seeing that Purdue can play teams close, even in 2013, before it is undone by a fatal flaw. Sometimes it comes early. Sometimes it is late. The fact of the matter is that 25 times in 27 games (I don't count the FCS game because there is never a valid excuse to lose one of those, even if Hazell nearly did lose one) Purdue has had those fatal flaws come through and they are not being corrected. Purdue had a pick six that was crippling in game 1 under Hazell and it had one in the most recent one, game 30.