This one was ugly from start to finish for Purdue. The rain played a huge part in this one, I’d have to be stupid not to acknowledge that. However, the rain was failing on both teams and yet at the end of the game Illinois stood victorious while Purdue was left with more questions. It wasn’t until under 5:00 minutes left in the game that Purdue even put together a drive that wound up in the redzone. At that point it was obviously too little too late.
Illinois came into this game fresh off the shocking upset over Wisconsin from last week and they brought that energy into Ross-Ade. Purdue used most of their energy getting around the chair that Brohm threw in the locker room during his pre-game speech (he sure hates those chairs). At first it looked like neither team was going to be able to do anything as the teams traded punts. Then Illinois and
Dee Dre Brown turned it on. He’s not the fastest running back in the league but he’s big and strong and was able to both hold onto the ball and stay on his feet. He finished with over 130 yards. He more or less single handedly won the game for Illinois.
The Illinois defense also played a part though as they had a pick 6 of Plummer, which led to Plummer being briefly benched, as well as a fumble recovery of Plummer that led to great field position for their offense. Special shoutout to the Illinois punter who put two punts at the 1 yard line or closer. There were 17 punts in this game and Illinois wound up with the better of that battle as well.
Nothing was going right for Purdue as the receivers struggled to catch the ball and the QBs, both Plummer and Aidan O’Connell, couldn’t find the right touch on their passes. It was a long, miserable game for the fans and for the team.
There was a lot of grousing on Twitter today, including from this website’s own account, but I’ve gotta say it’s hard for me to be too upset about this outcome. This team is decimated by injuries on both sides of the ball, the weather was abysmal which obviously impacted Purdue more as a passing team, and Illinois is actually improving vastly this season. It’s certainly not the outcome we all wanted to see but I’m not going to let this ruin my day. Purdue has to get better and they have a lot to figure out, but I still trust Brohm to make those changes going forward. This rebuild is a long process and sometimes you take a step backward. This was one such step.