Last week there was some bulletin board material. Brycen Hopkins said that he felt sorry for TCU having to face Rondale Moore:
Since I, perosnally, am responsible for all that is wrong with Purdue athletics, I mentioned that Rondale is a “Just how the hell do you stop this guy” guy in the Q&A with Frogs O’ War to just add tot his. That’s why I will be responsible for this loss. I talked up Rondale and even down 13-6 at halftime I knew we were one big Rondale play away from tying.
The TCU defense was more than up to the task, however.
First, Rondale was non-factor for the first time in his Purdue career. He had 3 catches for 25 yards, 1 rush for zero yards, and 3 kick returns for 55 yards. He touched the ball with a chance to do something only 7 times and the Horned Frogs limited him to 80 yards. That’s is pretty damn good, to be honest. He had a critical drop very early when Purdue had to settle for a J.D. Dellinger field goal after a George Karlaftis interception, but this was even after his first catch of the game.
This game is not entirely on him, however. Jack Plummer was asked to make his first career start with no running game at all (King Doerue had 27 yards on 11 carries and Zander Horvath had 10 on 4 carries), a porous offensive line, and facing a defense that knew this and pressured him relelentlessly from the first quarter on. He finished 13 of 29 for 181 yards, a TD, and 2 picks, but for most of the night it felt like he could handle the game at 50mph and it was coming at him at 75mph. Plummer had no running game, no line, and was facing a defense that only gained confidence as the night went on.
The Horned Frogs knew they were facing a good passing game and played exceptionally well. They made life miserable for Plummer and as a result, Purdue did nothing. Because Purdue did nothing they could be patient offensively. Darius Anderson shredded a defense that wore down as the night went on for 179 yards and 2 scores. The Purdue defense did everything in its power to keep thhe Boielrs in it and it worked into the third quarter. The Purdue offense did no favors until the game was decided. It managed a field goal thanks to the Karlaftic interception and a field goal because Brycen Hopkins had a big chunk play. That was it for the competitive phase of the game. They made it a point to stop Rondale at all cost and Purdue had no answers otherwise.
So, at the quarter pole of the season, Purdue is 1-2 without half of its senior class playing right now (Markus Bailey, Tario Fuller, Richie Worship, Elijah Sindelar, and Lorenzo Neal. The Nevada game is what it was: a choke job on the road that should have been a win. Facing the adversity of injuries and inexperience We got out of the first quarter in just about the worst case scenario.
This team can still make a bowl game.
The key to that is beating a Minnesota team that is very lucky to be 3-0 instead of 0-3. Beat the Gophers and then Maryland two weeks later and we’re 3-3 assuming a loss at Penn State. You then go into the second half of the season needing to win three of five against Illinois, Northwestern, Nebraska, Iowa, and Indiana. Is that impossible? Absolutely not.
Yes, I know settling for a third straight 6-6 season at Brohm’s salary is not exciting, but this is still an incredibly young team that has been beset by injuries to its top upperclassmen. We’re still building towards 2020 and 2021. That’s where Brohm’s prowess will truly be judged.