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Indiana 54, Purdue 36: Burke’s Fabled Progress

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The Bucket is ensconced in Bloomington for a third straight year, which hasn't happened since Truman was President.

This is a symbol of progress under Morgan Burke.
This is a symbol of progress under Morgan Burke.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Darrell Hazell is now 6-30 as Purdue's head coach, 2-22 against the Big Ten, and 3-30 against FBS level foes.

Hazell has long said he wanted to be a strong running team, but even with a record breaking freshman running back the Boilers were second to last in rushing in the conference.

Under Greg Hudson Purdue has given up 56, 55, 54, and 51 points at Ross-Ade Stadium, which are the four best days in terms of scoring by an opponent in the 91 year history of the building.

John Shoop continues to have no offensive identity and cannot take advantage of even the slightest edge.

Indiana has now won three straight Bucket games for the first time in 68 years and is poised to win four straight for only the second time ever. They have never won five straight, but are now 60% of the way there.

The last time Purdue won 6 or fewer games in a three-year period? From 1921-23 Purdue went 4-16-2 Obviously they played far fewer games back then, so it was easier to have fewer wins.

Purdue has only had double-digit losses in a season three times: 1993, 2013, and 2015. Two of these have been under Darrel Hazell.

These are all undeniable facts. You can look them up and verify them as I have. They have happened and they are proof that Purdue is in the midst of its worst stretch in the 128 year history of the program. Darrell Hazell was hired to improve on a team that was 17-21 in the previous three years because that was not good enough. Instead, he and his staff have failed miserably at their jobs. Despite this, those that matter insist that there is progress being made.

Hazell will be allowed to return. It is hoped that his coordinators will be gone as he tries to save his job, but if there are no staff changes it is a giant middle finger from the administration to the few remaining fans. They have preached progress, but there is no discernible progress whatsoever. The lone Big Ten win at home in three years came about because a walk-on quarterback had about the worst game possible for a quarterback.

Today was more of the same from Purdue. Hazell, a coach who preaches discipline, had six personal fouls and missed out on a seventh when Leroy Clark stomped on an opponent and it went unnoticed. The offense moved the ball but still made critical mistakes such as the fumble at the one yard line. Finally, if John Shoop's indictment was a few weeks ago, today was the indictment of Greg Hudson.

I don't think the defense could have been more unprepared today. Yes, the Hoosiers have a very good offense that can score on anyone. That is known. Purdue's defense was still gashed for 144 yards by Devine Redding, a backup, which has been a common theme this year. Once again, Purdue got no pressure on the quarterback and Nate Sudfeld was able to pick them apart. Every third down was a failure it seemed. On Indiana's opening drive when they converted on fourth down it was obvious to everyone in the stadium they were going for it, except for the Purdue coaches. A timeout was not called and no signal was made as Frankie Williams was back to field a punt when Indiana's punter never set foot on the field, allowing the Hoosiers to have an easy conversion that was essentially 11 on 10.

How can you not be prepared in a situation like this? How can 30,000 people in the stadium know what is happening, but not the coaches?

This game was really lost in two spots:

  • Trailing 17-7 Purdue pinned the Hoosiers on the 1 yard line with a great punt by Joe Schopper. They nearly got a safety on the first play, and a declined penalty on second down had the Hoosiers facing 3rd and 10from the one. Andrew Wilson caught a 14 yard pass out of the backfield to get a first down and start a critical 14 play 99 yard drive for a score to go up 24-7.
  • After missed extra point Purdue scored and converted a two-point conversion to make it 44-36. In a one possession game the defense needed a stop, and there was plenty of time left even if Purdue scored and missed the tying deuce because there was 11:21 left. Instead, Purdue pretty much refused to cover Andre Booker, as he somehow beat two defenders for a wide open 72-yard score that was the backbreaker. For good measure Shoop engineered a brilliant three-and-out afterward.

What stood out to me was how hard Indiana played compared to Purdue. The Hoosiers played like they wanted this game. They may have given up yards, but they were making hits when they got to a ballcarrier. They were constantly in the face of Austin Appleby.Several Purdue runs were disrupted because they were pushing Martesse Patterson and Cameron Cermin five yards into the backfield.

Defensively, Purdue was out of position, missing tackles, and slipping and falling. They were making late hits and stomping on players. It is one thing to simply get beat, but to embarrass our university with cheap shots in the process in inexcusable.

So Indiana heads off to a bowl that, quite honestly, is well deserved. The Hoosiers may not be great, but they are at least fun to watch and play hard. Purdue will be at home for a third straight postseason and there is very little promise of a turnaround in 2016. When those in charge feel that this team somehow made progress when every possible metric says otherwise there isn't much you can do. Somehow, Burke, Hazell, and company have job security when attendance next season will likely hit record lows and the losses will pile up.

In fact, I expect Burke to get a raise any day now.