Welp, I was wrong. Like so many out there, I thought Purdue would come off its bye week rested and prepared for an elite defense. Instead, the Purdue offense consisted of driving the ball just past midfield, stalling, and giving the ball back to Iowa. On the other side of the ball, the Iowa offense, touted as one of the worst in FBS, used a 16-minute stretch as their best effort on the season, scoring all 24 of their points in the second quarter and first minute of the third. This game was atrocious for the Boilermakers and marks the second consecutive game that we all want to forget as well as the lowest scoring output in the Jeff Brohm era. At least the Wisconsin game featured a decent Purdue uniform.
In the passing game, it was Aidan O’Connell to Charlie Jones and not much else. Jones finished with 11 of AOC’s 20 completions and 104 of his 168 yards. No other Purdue player had more than 2 receptions. Today looked to be a bread-and-butter game for Payne Durham, but there were only crumbs and no butter as Payne had 2 receptions for 35 yards. TJ Sheffield and Mershawn Rice were held without a catch and the only other player with more than 10 receiving yards was Dylan Downing with 15. For a season that started with Heisman aspirations for Aidan O’Connell, he has struggled mightily, especially lately. Much like last week, AOC had 2 untimely interceptions on back-to-back drives, both overthrown bullets to his receivers. It should be noted that the wind was at his back for both throws, but O’Connell is more than capable of handling wind.
In the rushing game, Devin Mockobee and Dylan Downing combined for 100 yards on 23 attempts. Considering the weather, this was not enough carries for a blooming rushing attack, but the entire second half was spent playing catchup. 3 plays that absolutely should have been rushes were at the 2-yard line in the second quarter following a 15-yard Mockobee run. Purdue then pulled 3 consecutive Seahawk specials, amounting to 2 incomplete passes and a long sack where AOC should have thrown the ball away. This resulted in Purdue’s only score. Tyrone Tracy did get one 5-yard sweep, which looked promising, but that was the only time he got to touch the ball (he might have skimmed the first AOC interception on the overthrow).
On three consecutive drives, Purdue’s defense was done in by the Iowa offense, as they scored more than their season average in points. Spencer Petras was 8-9 for 170 yards and 2 touchdowns on these drives. This is mind numbing for a quarterback that averaged 155 yards per game and threw for only 3 touchdowns on the season. The Purdue defense looked lost as there were numerous throws to wide open receivers, including both touchdown passes. There were also often extra men brought on a blitz, to which Petras just hit his quick slant and got a nice gain. Purdue gambled and lost while Iowa built a lead and coasted.
The rushing defense was gashed in this one by the one-man wrecking crew that was Kaleb Johnson. Johnson rushed 22 times for 200 yards, including a 75-yard rushing touchdown on the second play of the second half. Johnson was able to rush for 8 yards almost on command as the Iowa offense showed its best showing on the season. Purdue did itself no favors though, as their inability to tackle provided Johnson with many opportunities to make a jump cut and get downfield. The defensive tackling woes are well-noted, and something must change. This comes down to coaching as fundamentals are lacking. First, the team was undisciplined, and that change has been made but if I see a Purdue defender simply put their shoulder into a player rather than wrap up, I’m going to lose it.
Yeah, Tory Taylor plays as advertised. The Iowa punter averaged 51.8 yards per punt despite the wind and made it impossible for Charlie Jones to return anything. Jack Ansell and Brendan Cropsey were also busy, averaging 37.7 yards per punt. Mitchell Fineran did hit a 34-yard field goal when Purdue still had hope, so good for him.
During the pregame run out, the Xtra Special decided to stall on the field and needed to be pushed off. This was the epitome of the Purdue offense, and we didn’t even know it at the time.
Can we please stop using the two-toned jerseys? I am all for a grey or anthracite jersey but make them the same color throughout. Having different colored shoulder pads just looks dumb, especially since the cattle catchers are on them. Here’s to hoping that Nike football takes the basketball route and goes simple.
The fly over is always a nice sight and before the Military Appreciation Game, the jets were roaring over a (at the time) packed Ross Ade. I appreciate the yearly dedication to this cause, as well as the Hammer Down Cancer game.
Purdue will travel to Champaign to take on Illinois in a game with much less sparkle now. Purdue has 3 more attempts against Illinois, Northwestern, and Indiana to get to 6 wins and none seem like a given anymore. On a brighter note, basketball season is about to start as the women’s basketball team hosts their exhibition game against PNW today in Mackey and the men’s team begins their regular season Tuesday against Milwaukee.