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Purdue vs Northwestern: Winning is Winning

Are we Boilerhusker or Cornmaker fans next week?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 19 Northwestern at Purdue Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Purdue hosted the Northwestern Wildcats on Senior Day and did not look sharp. Fortunately for the Boilermakers, Northwestern showed their lack of playmakers and couldn’t muster more than 2 scoring drives. Despite decent numbers for Aiden O’Connell, he had a rough time putting the ball on target, missing several open receivers. On defense, the Boilermakers did their jobs against a Northwestern offense that is simply lacking talent. This game should not have been this close, as another unsportsmanlike penalty took a touchdown off the board when Purdue looked to go up 21-3. But as the great Dom Toretto once said, “winning is winning”.

Offense

Wind truly is Aiden O’Connell’s kryptonite. In a cold and blustery game, AOC simply was inaccurate on his passes. AOC flat out missed Tyrone Tracy on a deep post, Payne Durham on a sideline up and out, and TJ Sheffield on a double move in the end zone. On all three passes, the receiver was open, and the misfires killed momentum. I did like the gameplan for the offense though, as 8 different receivers caught a pass and there were some nice screen plays thrown in. Also, AOC did continue his ratcheting down of his interceptions down to zero, a big plus. I truly hope the weather is calm and in the 50’s next weekend for the sake of the passing game.

The big news out of this one was the injury to Devin Mockobee in the first quarter. Devin met a Northwestern defender straight up and would be pulled from the game to be evaluated for a concussion. Mockobee would not play the rest of the day and is in the concussion protocol. Dylan Downing and Kobe Lewis would fill in the rest of the day, rushing a combined 28 times for 91 yards. The 3.25 yards per rush was not stellar but the backs made it work on a day where running was a necessity. Later in the game, center Gus Hartwig was injured as another lineman rolled up on his legs from behind. Coach Jeff Brohm has mentioned that Gus could be out for a bit, so look for Josh Kaltenberger to fill in.

Defense

It was clear that the defense was facing an overmatched opponent today. 3rd string QB, Cole Freeman, did what he could for the offense but was often off the mark. The Wildcats often ran wildcat with Evan Hull and Cam Porter for a run up the middle. I think the defense tackled fairly well today, though there were not a ton of open-field tackling opportunities. The defense also forced 3 turnovers and recorded 2 sacks, areas that Purdue has struggled with lately. One play I’d like to highlight was made by Cory Trice as he turned and got a hand on a back shoulder pass in the endzone to prevent a touchdown.

The lone interception on the day was made by Jalen Graham, who cut off a short curl route and took it back for a touchdown. Unfortunately, Jalen began high stepping at the 35 yard line and was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, taking the touchdown off the board. This was a MASSIVE swing, as Purdue would have gone up 21-3 with the extra point but were instead forced back to the 35 yard line. Purdue would miss a field goal 4 plays later and would only score 3 more points over the next 23 minutes. Let me start by saying that the rule is dumb. If the player is not directing his celebration at the other team or if the celebration isn’t dirty, then let the kids have fun. That said, this rule has been around for over a decade, and it’s another unnecessary penalty in a key spot for Purdue. The lack of discipline has been the bugaboo for this team and I can’t believe that Jeff Brohm hasn’t put an end to it by now.

Special Teams

Not the best day for the special teams. Mitchell Fineran was 1/2 on field goals, making a 26 yarder and missing short on a 48-yard attempt. Mitch made both extra points as well. In the punting game, Jack Ansell had a punt blocked but averaged 41 yards on the three other punts. Kobe Lewis was able to return 3 kickoffs for 29 yards and Charlie Jones took 1 punt 7 yards while Reese Taylor lost hold on a punt but was able to recover it.

Other

Congratulations to the Purdue seniors that played their final game in Ross Ade today. This program has taken leaps and strides during your years here at Purdue and we are Ever Grateful to you.

Farewell to Morgantown, as the tented sections of the south endzone are set to undergo renovations this offseason. It’s really nice to see Purdue invest in necessary renovations to bring us up to the standards of other Power 5 programs.

Hot take time: I HATE Shout. I understand the appeal of having the whole stadium putting their arms up in unison but it’s time to revamp that tradition. May I suggest blasting Crazy Train to get everyone pumped for the 4th quarter?

Looking Ahead

Purdue did its job this week. Minnesota choked. It’s really simple for Purdue: win against Indiana and hope Nebraska beats Iowa. Those results end in Purdue going to Indy to take on the winner of Ohio State and Michigan. Regardless of the Iowa game, go out and win the bucket next weekend!