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Louisville 35, Purdue 28 So Close

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Purdue continues to lead the nation in moral victories.

NCAA Football: Louisville vs Purdue
One of Purdue’s two QBs that threw a touchdown today.
Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe it’s all about expectations. I had none going into this thing & expected nothing. But then Purdue started to make stops, two forced fumbles in the redzone, great catches by yet another Anthrop and suddenly we’ve got ourselves a ballgame. Amazingly, Purdue didn’t just fall into the trap we’ve seen them fall in before when nothing comes of a very solid first half or first quarter. We’ve seen it numerous times. Sometimes it can change from quarter to quarter with Purdue. Purdue competed.

Unsure of how to feel about this new turn of events I turned to Twitter. You know it can be a difficult place during sporting events but tonight was different. Tonight was kind of fun right? You weren’t worried about the other shoe dropping, even though it may eventually, because you were just enjoying the game.

You never know how fans are going to react when that worm turns. Are they mad? Could people on the internet possibly give a new head coach the benefit of the doubt? Or would they simply turn back into chicken littles and make things exhausting again? Complain or not? Happy or not? I just assumed the internet would be a terrible place. Kind of refreshing to be wrong and see Purdue fans unite around a team that played one hell of a game. We need this, we are hungry for this. The emotional energy has just been drained out of us, but tonight you saw how easily it could come back.

Purdue used an interesting tandem of QBs with Sindelar starting the game, and throwing a beautiful little touchdown pass to Jackson “Yet another beautiful human being” Anthrop. Unrelated note, I know there are no more Anthrop boys coming up but there’s got to be something science can do right? Right? Then Blough came in and gave Purdue the lead heading into halftime. Purdue actually led this game by as much as 21-13 but unfortunately it wasn’t to be.

The third quarter was a bit of a disaster with Louisville scoring two touchdowns in quick succession, including one on a David Blough pick six. My only quibble with the game plan was the seemingly randomness of starting Sindelar but then playing Blough for the majority of the game. The offense looked good with either of them in the game. I have no preference here, no dog in the fight, I want whoever can lead Purdue to victory. Also, in the third quarter Lorenzo Neal was ejected for a targeting penalty that seemed quite iffy to me. One of Louisville’s drives included the aforementioned 15 yard penalty, a 15 yard pass interference penalty, and a “touchdown” that included Louisville fumbling the ball into the pylon and out of the endzone prior to crossing the goal line yet somehow it wasn’t called that way, but I digress.

Sure, Purdue lost, and sure moral victories suck, but here are just a few things that looked light years better today than they did last season:

  1. The tackling was sharper.
  2. The offense actually seemed to have a game plan.
  3. The defense bent, but did not break on numerous occasions.
  4. The energy from the fan base, both at the game and on twitter.
  5. The team seemed to actually care.
  6. The coaches seemed to actually know what was going on.

This isn’t even a full list. I was wrong about Hazell, I’ll admit it. I thought he was going to be a good hire. With Brohm I’ve held back because I’ve been shunned before. Today might have changed my mind. Purdue had no reason to be in this game today, yet there they were at the end of the game, with the ball, down just seven and driving for the game tying score. It didn’t work out in the end but wasn’t it fun to even be there? To be playing on Saturday night on a major network against a ranked team? To be in the game until the very final seconds? Didn’t all of that feel good?

Purdue wasn’t perfect today. Purdue turned the ball over four times, left far too many players open over the middle on third day, and dropped quite a few very important passes, but they did some good things too. Jackson Anthrop has the chance to be a star, the defensive line held its own against the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, Purdue was opportunistic on defense, and changed things up on offense. It was a beautiful game to watch. I can’t wait until Friday to watch this team again. When’s the last time you could say that?

Let’s play football!