Earlier this week athletic director Morgan Burke made it clear that Darrell Hazell would return in 2016. Even though he is now 6-28, he inexplicably has job security. That we have to live with. If John Shoop returns, however, it will clearly be a middle finger from Morgan Burke to the remaining Purdue football fans.
Today was a complete indictment of how poor he is at his job. Gifted three turnovers, Purdue ran 12 plays and gained 22 yards for a total of one first down. Gifted a Northwestern offense that did little to nothing in the second half, partially because the Purdue defense was playing so well, Shoop did nothing. Purdue tied the game with a very good opening half drive, got the ball back with a defensive stop, and drove into field goal range where Paul Griggs missed a kick wide right with 5:22 left in the third quarter. Here are Purdue's drives, in a tie game, after that point:
3 plays, 0 yards
3 plays, 7 yards
3 plays, 5 yards
3 plays, 2 yards
Twice Purdue intercepted Northwestern to get the ball back, one of them at the Northwestern 41 yard line, but Purdue gained 14 yards in 12 plays over the final 20 minutes. This was after a decent first half by David Blough, where even his interception (which set up a touchdown) was not on him as it went off the hands of Danny Anthrop. Once Markell Jones went down with an injury the offense completely stopped.
What's more frustrating is that Purdue didn't have a single 3-and-out before that. It was moving the ball against a good defense and even made the extremely rare halftime adjustments to come down and tie the game out of the locker room. The defense did its part with the turnovers, but Purdue could not take advantage. On the game's critical play with 4:37 left and Purdue trailing 21-14 the Boilers needed 10 yards on 3rd and 10 from the 25 yard line.
They gained 2 yards.
Yes, on third and 10 with the game on the line our play was a 2 yard crossing route to Domonique Young. If you're a 2-7 team, already trailing, and you haven't had a first down in 15 minutes, WHY THE HELL DO YOU NOT HAVE EVERY RECEIVER AT LEAST RUN TO THE STICKS?!?!?!?!?! The worst case scenario is an interception that clinches the game we were already losing. At least go down swinging. I understand that Young was a check down there, but criminy, why run a two yard route at all?
Then, as if to not be undone, we swathe surrender punt. Joe Schopper had struggled all day and was kicking into the wind, so he only got off a 24 yard kick. Hazell, who said we were going to stay aggressive after the Nebraska win, had the perfect chance to show he was at least going to go down swinging, but with only two timeouts he surrender punted and Purdue did not touch the ball again.
This was a winnable game. Juan and I felt it, and that's what makes it more aggravating. Poor coaching gets you blown out by Illinois at home. Poor coaching loses games like this where the opposition is trying to hand you the game. There was a surprisingly large Purdue contingent and even the Ross-Ade Brigade had a nice section in front of us. The whole team felt flat though for most of the game. I went down with my son as they came on the field and they had almost no energy. Only Frankie Williams was trying to get them going, and even then it seemed like they were giving him half-hearted responses. This isn't exactly rowdy:
Mercifully, the season will be over in two weeks, and the only hope left is to win the Bucket and ruin Indiana's season in the process. IU will likely beat Maryland next week, meaning they are playing for a rare bowl game and to become the first Hoosier team in 68 years to win three straight Bucket games. Purdue has a chance to spoil that, but does it really mean anything? The real change will come the following Monday, when John Shoop is hopefully shown the door.