I did not see much of today's game. I saw parts of it as I was running errands, but for the most part I was listening on the radio. The majority of the game was a defensive struggle as neither offense could do much. Wisconsin was assisted by a questionable pass interference call on their opening drive as they marched down for a relatively easy touchdown. Purdue then went three and out, and the Badgers were on the march again.
If not for an interception and 66-yard return by Leroy Clark that flipped the field and gave the Boilers the ball deep in Wisconsin territory the Boilers would have trailed 14-0 early and the game likely would have gone exactly as we expected. Instead, Purdue had a perfectly executed 9 play, 29 yard drive (perfect in that it actually let an exhausted defense rest) and they were able to tie the game at 7-7 despite being out gain approximately 17 billion to 15.
From there neither offense did much. The Badgers managed a field goal and they could move the ball, but their traditional ground game was surprisingly ineffective as Purdue's defensive line played an excellent game.
Unfortunately, it did not matter. The offense did nothing. When they did do something, they fumbled. Purdue was never a threat to score again, and a worn down defense gave up two touchdowns in the final 16 minutes for the final margin.
That is where the title comes from. As we were driving home after the game ended I had an epiphany and said to Mrs. T-Mill: "Only Purdue could be disappointing in overachieving." That's really what today was. Purdue's defense, for once, was not physically overpowered by Wisconsin. Instead, Purdue was outdone by schemes. Time and again Wisconsin converted first downs by either taking advantage of a ridiculously large cushion left by the corners (which is exactly what Bowling Green did, so the Badgers watched tape) or they took advantage of a walk-on playing middle linebacker and picked Purdue apart over the middle. Again, Purdue refused to make any kind of adjustment to help out Garrett Hudson and they refused to stop playing a cushion on the edge.
On offense Purdue cut back the playbook, but in that they played right into Wisconsin's hands. The Badgers have a strong defense, but Purdue ran right into the teeth of it and refused to pass unless A. it was absolutely necessary, or B. we were down 17 points. John Shoop's offensive plan was to run headfirst into a brick wall and he was shocked when it did not fall down. We, as Purdue fans, have concussions as a result.
Did Purdue overachieve? Yes. Somehow, they were within three points of the big, bad bully that is Wisconsin for most of the game. They had multiple chances to take a lead. Even down 17-7 in the fourth quarter there was still a chance. This is a credit to guys that played hard all day long.
Is that overachievement still disappointing? Yes. Purdue probably could not have played better and it still lost by 17 points. After halftime there was never an adjustment on either side of the ball. We never made Wisconsin have to think about defending something else and defensively they were able to wear us down for the two late scores.
So this was disappointment in overachievement. It was another Saturday loss where even a 10-7 deficit with more than a half to play felt insurmountable. Purdue's coaches had a good game plan to contend, but the lack of adjustments within the game made sure it was another loss.
What else can you really say at this point? Purdue is headed into the bye week and as much as we want to see changes, there will likely be none. I am to the point where I expect nothing. Purdue, as an entire program, has to prove to me it can do the smallest of things. In three years now under Darrell Hazell the only thing we have proven is that we can beat FCS teams. Congrats! That is the bare minimum a Big Ten team can do.
An athletic department that cared about its football team would shake things up in the next two weeks.
I expect nothing to happen from Purdue.