I listened to the first half of the game on my way back from Kansas City and then settled into my favorite chair with a tasty beverage to enjoy the second half. I’ll watch the replay tomorrow and go much more in depth, but these were my general impressions from the game last night.
People are going to spend all week talking about Blough, and rightfully so, but I think the biggest sustainable improvement going forward is the reshuffled offensive line.
There were a few breakdowns, but Missouri also has one of the more talented front 4 Purdue will face this year. Beckner in particular is an absolute beast, and Purdue’s line didn’t let him dominate the game.
McCann looked like a natural right tackle and Evans is solid in the interior. That was not the same line that allowed EMU’s defensive line to consistently pressure the quarterback. For Purdue’s offense to consistently good, they are going to need this sort of O-line play going forward.
There wasn’t much work for any of the backs in last nights passing binge, but shout out to Jones for picking up some important yards in the passing game. I think you’ll see a more balanced game plan against other teams.
Look, this is never going to be the most sure handed crew, but what they lack in consistency they make up for in athleticism.
Rondale is the obvious headliner, and he’s an electric play maker, but I would like to see him dance a little less and hit the accelerator a little more in certain situations. I think he’ll make that adjustment as he matures as a player.
Zico/Wright look like totally different players with a year of experience under their belts. Sometimes you need to wait a year for JuCo guys to catch up with the speed of the game. Wright and Zico can both be explosive play makers for Purdue. Their ability to run away from defenders and get the corner on crossing routes will be a staple of the offense.
Sparks is looking more and more like a solid, physical possession receiver. He might not be a guy that breaks open the game, but his skill set is important.
Hopkins and Herdman both played well. Hopkins lucked out (even though he showed some incredible reflexes) on the deep pass, but even if you take that play away they still combined for 7 catches and a touchdown. The fact that they didn’t have to stay in and block as much because of the improved O-line play was also noticeable.
First and foremost, kudos to Blough. I’ve been consistently pushing Sindelar over Blough (not that it matters) and David went out there and played a game for the record books. As I said in my position preview, when Blough gets hot, he can get red hot and take over a game. In 2016 we saw him throw for 458 yards and 5tds vs Iowa and go for 391 and 3tds vs Minnesota.
You saw the best parts of Blough’s game last night. He’s better when he’s aggressive and Brohm turned him loose (it helped that Brohm lit him up on the sidelines for being passive and throwing check downs early) and Blough ran around and made plays. His arm strength still isn’t great, but when he has time to step into throws and use his base and core it’s fine.
Blough is the starter going forward. I’m going to be interested to see if he can keep this up. Maybe he’s figured it out as a senior and can become a consistently good quarterback instead of an occasionally great / occasionally terrible quarterback. He’ll certainly earned the opportunity to prove it on the field.
Neal is good at DT but he’s getting double teamed. I think Watts showed some potential last night, but he still gets moved off the ball in the run game. Keiwan Jones played well last night, but he can’t stay healthy, and that’s been the story of his career. He could give Purdue a viable 3rd option at DT but he’s never been able to stay on the field. The talent behind those 3 is questionable. I think Marks will be good, but he would be red shirting if this weren’t an all hands on deck defensive emergency.
I liked what Holt did with the defensive ends last night. None of them have been particularly good this year, so he decided to play all of them. None of them were particularly good last night but at least they were fresh, and more guys got experience. Willie Lane might be a name to watch moving forward. He got into camp late but managed to get on the field last night. I didn’t expect to see him this season.
Purdue may have struck absolute gold with Barnes and Jones both turning in exceptional games. They still make bad reads and they still miss some tackles they should make, but they are making mistakes at 100 miles an hour instead of over thinking and being passive. Barnes and Jones accounted for 20 tackles last night.
I continue to be underwhelmed by Marcus Bailey this year. He’s supposed to be the star of the defense, but honestly, he’s being over shadowed by Barnes and Jones. Missouri ran 89 plays last night and Purdue’s best defensive player only had 5 tackles. Purdue’s defense can improve if Bailey starts playing up to his potential. He should be putting up double digit tackles every game....he’s recorded 10 tackles in the last 2 games combined.
There’s not much talent, and the talent that’s out there is young. Blackmon can play on my team any day of the week. I have no question that dude absolutely emptied the tank last night, but he’s not a #1 corner, he’s probably not a #2 corner either.
Major has some talent, but he’s incredibly green. He’s going to make some plays, but he’s also going to make some big mistakes. I’m not sure I want him at the #1 spot, because even though he might be Purdue’s most talented corner, I don’t want to ruin him by making him play way above his head as a freshman.
The rest of the corner crew needs more time to develop. You saw Mackey last night, and he’s another guy with solid potential, but asking him to play anything more than a supporting role is putting him in a position to fail.
Finally, I know Cason got burned against EMU, but we could really use him. I hope he gets back on the field soon.
Thieneman’s elite skill is tackling. When he gets you in his sights, he’s going to get you on the ground. Also, without his blocked kick, Purdue probably isn’t in the game. Thieneman’s problem comes when you put him in coverage. His range is extremely limited and he struggles to help outside of the numbers. If Purdue had more talent, that would be easier to hide, but Purdue doesn’t, so it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Mosley misses so many open field tackles it hurts my soul. He takes poor angles and slaps at runners as they go by, usually not even forcing them to cut back or slow down. Sometimes I wonder if he really wants to tackle, or just wants to look like he’s attempting to make a tackle. He’s decent in coverage and is Purdue’s best option, but I was hoping for a much bigger jump in Navon’s game this year. So far, it’s been disappointing.
That replay was terrible. If it takes you 10 minutes and 12 different camera angles you are not correcting an obvious mistake but instead, interjecting yourself into the game. If it was ruled a TD on the field, it was a TD if it was ruled incomplete on the field, it was incomplete.
The obvious missed hold on Missouri’s last drive was terrible. Their itchy personal foul trigger finger was terrible and capricious.
I thought that entire crew was hot garbage.