Well, that went about as bad as it could.
One of the hallmarks of the Jeff Brohm era is having a team that doesn’t quit. Purdue entered the day only 12-10 under Brohm, but five losses (Rutgers and Nebraska last year, Northwestern, Eastern Michigan, and Missouri this year) were by 11 total points. The others were by 10 (Michigan State this year, expanded on a late touchdown), 18 (Michigan last year, and we led in the third quarter), 7 (Louisville), 8 (at Wisconsin), and 10 (at Northwestern). In every game under Brohm Purdue had a realistic chance of winning deep into the third quarter...
Let’s call it what it was: This was by far the worst game of the Brohm era. The offense came out flat and David Blough couldn’t get anything going. I was concerned when Minnesota came out and took the first eight minutes off the clock in getting a field goal. An early interception by Antonio Blackmon led to a field goal, that’s when cracks began to appear.
The defense gave them a pair of really dumb personal fouls on their first half TD drive while the defense continued to do nothing. Another dumb personal foul led to a field goal before the half. Still, down 13-3 at halftime it was a reasonable margin. We had a chance and started the second half with the ball.
Then Blake Cashman stripped Blough and returned the ball 40 yards for a score.
That was the moment that turned the game. Before that Purdue was somewhat driving for a score. After that, the Golden Gophers continued getting stops and generated three more touchdown drives. The game turned into a rout because the Purdue offense did nothing. We were 0 of 12 on third downs. We gave up on the run far too early. I was listening to Pete Quinn and Rob Blackman on the radio in the first half and they mentioned how, when a team controls possession like Minnesota did, teams can tend to get a little jumpy on offense trying to score with quick strikes. After D.J. Knox had nine yards on his first carry Purdue pretty much gave up ont he run. This was against a team that gave up 400+ on the ground last week. Ot wasn’t like we were down big early, either. We had chances to establish the run when it was a one possession game and continued to pass.
That’s not the lone reason we lost though. We lost because the defense gave up four really dumb personal fouls. We lost because Blough wasn’t sharp and his receivers dropped passes. We lost because Minnesota play infinitely better than last week. We lost because Minnesota played mostly mistake-free football and we did not.
To summarize, we lost because we sucked in virtually every phase of the game.
This was a complete team loss today. We haven’t seen a Brohm-era team give up, but that is pretty much what happened. Everything fell apart in the third quarter and we were left wondering what happened. The defense, which was doing pretty well outside of the penalties, melted down after the Fumble-six and Blough showed again that he needs an early scoring drive or he struggles.
All you can really do is move forward now. The West is lost and was probably lost anyway today after Northwestern won at Iowa. The important thing is to get one more win and get to a bowl game. That is still a step forward after the 0-3 start. We absolutely can beat Wisconsisn next week and we absolutely need to win in Bloomington to keep the Bucket. The good news is that we only need one of those.
We’re not going to play this poorly next week. I trust this staff to make adjustments needed and be ready for the Badgers, who are struggling. The truth is we’re still digging out from the Hazell era, and consistency is going to be an issue. As we have seen, we can blow out a top 2 team, but we can also get blown out like we did today.
But I trust this coaching staff. I trust them because this is an anomaly and not the norm like it was under Hazell. It is the first true stinker we have laid under Brohm (second if you count EMU). We had five of these halfway through Hazell’s first season.
Just get somewhere in the middle, get another win at home next week, and lock up a bowl game. Overall, the season is a success still with a bowl game. The key is to forget this, regroup, and move forward for next week.