What a game.
I am a little late on posting this, but with the Holiday yesterday, a 9 month old crawling all over, it had to wait one day.
And that is okay - looking back nearly 48 hours later is fun.
Purdue, down their Two All-Americans in David Bell and George Karlaftis, pulled out a gutsy performance in overtime, with some help of coaching malpractices from Josh Heupel.
Yea, down GK and DB was not enough though. Add, Dedrick Mackey, Milton Wright, Greg Long, and Branson Deen - depth took a hit.
Then, the piling of injuries as the game went on, it had been over a month since Purdue played a game, and cramps were evident, as well as taking some timely falls to stop the UT offense, hey, don’t hate the player, hate the game.
But, this gritty Purdue Squad pulled it out, on the foot of Transfer Kicker Mitchell Fineran, after the Boilermakers STOPPED FORWARD progress on the one yard line, on 4th down. The 2nd time in OT that Heupel decided to go for it, rather than take the 3.
Down 21 to 7, quick, there were many tweets, comparing this game to the Auburn Music City Bowl a few years back. But, it wasn’t, a couple of times we shot ourselves in the foot, not scoring touchdowns in the redzone, an interception here and there, but by halftime, we were back in it.
Taking the lead 23 to 21, after not allowing a point in the second quarter.
In what was 55,000 fans for UT to 15,000 thousand fans for Purdue, this bowl game just seemed to mean MORE.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I HATE the cliché that bowl games do not matter.
Want to know what matters?
Ending the season with a W.
Young players getting an extra month of practice with some of the best coaches around.
Improving draft stock for players that are on the fringe of the NFL, like DeMarcus Mitchell, Greg Long, Tyler Witt, Zander Horvath, etc.
How many bowl games outside of the CFB playoff were sold out?
The answer is none and the UT base made it personal, such as verbal attacks on our All-American March Band Member.
But, I digress.
The 3rd quarter started off fast, with UT striking fast, scoring un under 10 plays.
But, the Aidan O’Connell lead Boilermakers struck back, finding TJ Sheffield in the back of the end zone, which would end his season with an ankle injury.
UT would end the quarter with a field goal taking the lead, 31 to 30 headed into the money quarter.
This is when the fireworks went off, 29 combined points between the two teams, forced overtime.
While AOC had 3 interceptions, the man threw for what was the 3rd most yards in Purdue History in a game, he now has 2 of the top 5 in Purdue history.
While the 4th quarter went off on offense, this is also the quarter where the UT HC committed some laughable offenses.
From the 40 going in, with multiple timeouts left, this clown decided to take kill shots. Throwing a fade to the end zone on 2nd and 2, as well as 3rd and 2.
The Quarterback had not been great throwing it deep most of the game, it ended in two overthrows, MIND YOU, he had multiple timeouts and a running attack averaging 7 YPC, the 56 yard attempt could have easily been in the 40s. The 5th year senior had made a 51 yarder and was 12 of 16 on the year, but not many NFL kickers can make that.
Then the rest is history, going for it twice in OT, the stop on the 1 and then the banger by Fineran to win for the Boilers.
In history, this is right up there with the victory in the Alamo Bowl, it was fun, exciting, it was BOWL Season, it truly felt like a playoff game for both teams.
Broc Thompson went full David Bell, having over 200 yards. He had been a solid player for us all year, but with Bell and Wright out, all the sudden, he was the #1 guy.
TJ Sheffield showed that the slot will be his. Deion Burks and Collin Sullivan got the most PT they have seen this year.
And it showed - AOC can do it without a David Bell or a Rondale Moore, we have rising stars in the receiver group, transfers coming in, highly touted players coming back, and the fact is - AOC makes players around him better.
Looking ahead to more than just the pass game.
In 2022, we get our QB back, every tight end, all wide receivers besides David Bell, 3 of 5 starters on the OL, 6 of 8 defensive lineman that were in rotation this year, 5 of 6 linebackers and all but one defensive back.
2022 is bright, Purdue Football started it off with a BANG.
Congratulations Coach Brohm, his staff and players. Let’s roll.