Welcome back, Purdue Boilermakers
Of course, there are different degrees of “being back”. Purdue hasn’t been at the same level of an Alabama or an Ohio State since the late 60s when it spent some time as the No. 1 ranked team in the country. Purdue hasn’t even been a serious contender in the Big Ten race since losing at Ohio State in overtime in 2003. The level of “backness”, if there is such a thing, is probably a mere bowl game and being at least competitive against good teams. That is a level Darrell Hazell very rarely had (really, only a couple games against Michigan State) and Danny Hope also struggled.
For now, we’ll take it.
This afternoon was absolutely stunning though. I thought Purdue would win. I was alright if we lost because we were going on the road to an SEC opponent with a good offense. I never expected to walk out by making the Missouri Tigers quit in every phase of the game.
That’s what happened though. Purdue took the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards with ease for a score, capped by a 5 yard David Blough touchdown run. The defense then forced a three and out, and the offense came back with an 87 yard drive for a touchdown. In fact, Purdue scored twice on the drive, really. Terry Wright scored on a 55 yard catch and run that was called back due to a hold, but given the penalty Purdue converted a 2nd and 21, then scored on a Tario Fuller 36 yard run.
Less than 10 minutes into the game Purdue was up 14-0 and, on a 90 degree day with heat an issue, had whipped the Missouri defense up and down the field for almost 9 of those 10 minutes. Missouri managed a first down before punting, but then Purdue made a 13 play, 96-yard march that basically broke the will of the Tigers.
That is really the best description. By the time Richie Worship pounded into the end zone on a 3-yard run to cap the drive Purdue had held the ball for 14:51 compared to Missouri’s 3:03 and 31 plays to Missouri’s 8. Their high octane spread offense had generated a paltry 17 yards to Purdue’s 258 and the game was basically over. Missouri visibly quit and managed only three points thanks to a tipped interception just before halftime.
Jeff Brohm, perfectionist that he is, was disappointed that Blough’s next two drives didn’t result in a TD even though he was virtually flawless on the first three drives. He brought in Elijah Sindelar to direct a 73 yard TD drive capped by Jackson Anthrop’s fourth TD of the year. Normally a two QB system doesn’t work, but so far Brohm has mastered when to go with Blough and when to bring in Sindelar like a baseball manager managing his bullpen in October.
That was really the final blow. Missouri, shell-shocked as they were, got their pity field goal just before halftime thanks to a ball that when off the hands of Brycen Hopkins, but an interception by Markus Bailey was returned to the two on the first drive of the second half and Worship scored again four plays.
That’s where the real joy of the game began. The Purdue fan in me certainly did not feel safe up 35-3. Most teams would, but we are used to “Purdue” being a verb. If there was ever going to be a team blow a 35-3 lead in a game where it looked completely dominant, it was Purdue. Instead, we basically sat on Missouri’s head for the remaining 27:30. The Tigers did nothing, partially because they were disinterested at that point and partially because Purdue’s defense was putting in its best work in more than a decade. The offense went completely vanilla and got some other players some run, including Jared Sparks more snaps at QB. It moved the ball in a disinterested “I guess we need some first downs to keep the clock moving” way, but did little else. We pretty much toyed with a team waiting for the clock to run out. When was the last time you could say that?
That’s what made this game so wonderful. The faces we saw on the sideline? The empty stands? The look of complete shock devolving into disgust? THAT USED TO BE US! Purdue completely whipped a team’s ass and made it quit. We haven’t done that in who knows how long!
Now, some numbers, starting with this game and going into some historical ones:
· Purdue completely dominated time of possession 43:43 to 16:17. The defense did great work today and let the offense wear them down.
· Purdue held a 26-10 edge in first downs, and only three of those came during the competitive portion of the game. The remaining 7 came after Purdue was up 35-3.
· Damarea Crockett had only 19 yards on the ground after 202 against Missouri State and 97 against South Carolina.
· Drew Lock had just 133 yards passing and two picks against no TDs after having a 521-7-1 line against Missouri State and 245-1-2 against South Carolina.
· Purdue held a team without a touchdown for the first time since beating Southeast Missouri State 58-0 in 2011.
· If you want to go back to an FBS team, this was the first time Purdue held an FBS team without a touchdown since beating Iowa 31-6 on October 20, 2007.
· This was Purdue’s first road win over a power conference team outside the Big Ten since beating Arizona 31-24 in Tucson on 9/17/2005. It was our first road win against a team not named Illinois since beating Iowa in 2012.
· It is the first time since 2012 Purdue has won two games in a row.
· It was Purdue’s first EVER road win over an SEC team.
· It is Purdue’s first win over an SEC team since December 31, 1979 when we beat Tennessee in the Bluebonnet Bowl (and I was about 10 weeks old).
I don’t know what will happen the rest of the season. Purdue is a huge surprise right now and one of the biggest surprises in all of college football. Most fans would have absolutely taken a 2-1 record going into Big Ten play given our recent history. When you look at the game and see where Purdue might have gone 3-0? That’s something else.
Now we get the Michigan Wolverines coming to Ross-Ade and, as fans, we need to sell this game out. This team deserves it. It has been more than a decade since we have sold out Ross-Ade Stadium and I am going to make it as easy as possible for you: GO TO THIS LINK RIGHT HERE AND BUY TICKETS BECAUSE WE NEED TO SELL THIS GAME OUT. The goal has changed to a bowl game, but coach Brohm changes that every week. If we pull off the upset over Michigan…
… I can’t even dream of that.