Last week someone asked if the virtual season was leading to blowouts because of the difficulty level or the skill with the game. While I am pretty good at it by now, the All-American level is strong on momentum. When things start to go sideways it can snowball, and the game is an example of that. Against Air Force I got ahead early and defended the true option well. Against Boston College I struggled again with the read option and the Eagles were a lot tougher, especially on the road.
Of course, I had Dedrick Mackey.
The junior cornerback had himself a game, much like Lorenzo Neal against Air Force and Geovante Howard against Nebraska. Mackey intercepted Boston College quarterback Dennis Grosel four times, gathering 111 return yards, including a 69 (nice) yard pick 6 as the Boilers won 38-24. His four picks in one game ties a school record set by Paul Beery in 1976 at Wisconsin.
As I mentioned, this one was a lot tougher. Purdue went three and out on its first drive and the Eagles read optioned their way down the field, setting up a 38 yard field goal. Purdue got the ball back and put together a nice scoring drive of its own, capped off by a one yard run by King Doerue.
Grosel gave the Eagles a 10-7 lead after a quarter with a 10 yard run as Boston College was gashing me. That’s when things started to go sideways. Jack Plummer was intercepted three times in the first half, twice in the end zone. His first interception was erased by Mackey, who took it 69 (nice) yards untouched to the house.
Still, Grosel was trouble and he scored from 20 yards out to put BC ahead 17-14 49 seconds before halftime. I had time thought nd using timeouts and a solid passing game Plummer found Rondale Moore for a 28 yard touchdown two seconds before the half.
The third quarter belonged to the Purdue defense. At one point the Boilers picked off Grosel on three straight drives, two from Mackey and one from Simeon Smiley. The BC defense held, however, and forced three straight J.D. Dellinger field goals from 34, 27, and 19 yards. I was mostly concerned about the BC linebackers, who were ruthless on crossing routes all game. Deon Jones twice got Plummer in the red zone.
That gave Boston College a chance late. Grosel finally stopped throwing picks for a moment and converted several third downs on a drive. He finally hit Ethon Williams for a 5 yard TD to make it 30-24 Purdue with 2:44 left.
That’s when I put the ball in Doerue’s hands. He ground out the clock and took all three timeouts before Doerue got his second TD on a 4 yard run with 23 seconds left. To make sure nothing too crazy happened Plummer hit Zander Horvath for the deuce. It ended up not mattering as Mackey picked off Grosel yet again on the final drive.
Doerue finished with 139 yards on 26 carries and two scores, most coming in the second half. Rondale had another big game with 6 catches for 132 yards and a score, plus three catches for 19 yards. Plummer struggled with the three picks, but still was 24 of 37 for 279 and a score. David Bell had a steady game with six catches for 57 yards.
I am going to try and speed these up a bit to get through the remaining games before the real season starts, but with a 4-0 start and a blowout of Memphis I think Purdue is (virtually) ranked for the first time since 2007.