Saturday marks the latest time in the year that a game will be played at Ross-Ade Stadium, passing the previous record of December 1st set in 2001. Apparently it takes terror attacks or pandemics for Purdue to play at home in December. In 2001 we hosted traditional power Notre Dame and lost. This week we get traditional power Nebraska, and here is what Andy Ketterson of Corn Nation had to say about it:
T-Mill: I am sure you’re tired of hearing about Scott Frost Day, but the results have to be disappointing so far. What are your opinions on the hire and how can things be fixed?
Andy: I’m not completely disappointed. I don’t think people realized how far in the hole we were. In games, we were getting run like a directional school by decent but not great teams while watching everything from culture to strength & conditioning to just the general attitude & body language go spinning down the toilet.
At this point, we have reached this area of “competitive but unable to get over the hump”. Thankfully, the Illinois debacle appears to be an anomaly instead of a program killer as the Huskers got back to having a chance to win it in Iowa City and shooting themselves in foot. That’s easier to swallow.
My ultra-scientific theory on Frost is that he’s lost some mojo and needs to get it back. I like the building blocks being established - we are stronger and faster and in the fight in most games. The attitude is greatly improved, recruiting has been very good especially considering the recent W/L records and, Illinois aside again, this new group has some fight. However with a lead, Scott goes conservative too often instead of going for the throat and that needs to stop. I get that success here hits much closer to his heart than at Oregon or UCF, but we need the guy who put the gas pedal to the floor and went for the throat. We’re ready for this and will accept the bumps when it doesn’t work.
T-Mill: On Jon’s podcast he mentioned that he felt this entire season was a giant exhibition. Do you tend to agree and that teams are just building towards 2021?
Andy: I think there’s a mix out there of schools doing exactly that and others seeing an opportunity to grab a title of some sort and act like it’s the same as any other year.
My view is it’s incredibly dumb to be playing at all but money will always speak, so take what precautions you can to not be an SEC petrie dish team and make the best of it. Of course, I’m too desperate for CFB entertainment to take a stand, so I’m watching.
T-Mill: How much of Nebraska’s improved defensive performance last week was actually improved defense and how much was Iowa playing their usual conservative football?
Andy: Probably some of both, but give how our D-line had looked the past two weeks, I was happily surprised to see them somewhat contain Iowa’s rushing attack on a day I was fully expecting the Hawkeyes to go for about 350 yards on the ground minimum.
Bell and Rondale will be a much stiffer test for a secondary that’s been a mix of being shredded but starting to come up with crucial turnovers for the first time in several years. Both could be on the plate Saturday and - thanks to yet another 11am kickoff - the cause of another case on unrestrained day drinking.
T-Mill: Offensively what is working for you guys on a consistent basis?
Andy: Quarterback draws, keeps and scrambles. Period. (ED Note: They will be fine then) Both Adrian and Luke are extremely dangerous in space with a combination of speed and agility which makes a lot guys miss, especially when they lower their horns and come barreling in at full speed on a straight line.
I’d say something about Martinez’ 90% completion rate day against Iowa, but you used the word “consistent”, so pffft to that. If they could ever get a semi-serious downfield threat going (btw, Xavier Betts is open again), the QB run game would be even more dangerous. However, a reluctance to throw the ball more than 8 yards downfield allows everyone to stack the box and stifle it somewhat. It also doesn’t help that the RB position has basically disappeared since Dedrick Mills’ injury. Except for overusing Wan’Dale Robinson as a lead back which doesn’t seem to bode well for his long-term health.
T-Mill: How much of a concern is the duo of David Bell and Rondale Moore?
Andy: I mentioned a guarantee of day drinking on Saturday, right? Mentioned it’s because of those two? I may be doing irreparable damage to my brain, bladder and liver, but don’t you feel sorry for me. Just take it as a compliment.
T-Mill: Finally, what is your prediction for this game?
Andy: Right out of the gate - well, unless we spent another week playing slapnuts in practice a la post-Penn State - a close game seems to be a lock. Purdue has been in every single contest, one of which included a screw job that had every Husker fan going man, maybe these calls aren’t that personal - these guys just flat-out suck!
I do believe the Illinois game was an anomaly but also have to face the fact the time is here to start winning some of these close games. And until it happens, I’m going to bet the trend. Even though Martinez looked much better, coaches have said both will play, but hopefully not to point of messing up his rhythm. I’m expecting a higher scoring contest which includes Rondale busting off a 60-80 yard TD reception of which 40-60 yards is him running. It’ll be the backbreaker - Purdue 38 Huskers 34