Let’s start with the good: as a whole, this Purdue season has been a successful one. Purdue won the B1G Ten West for the first time in school history, won 8 games for a consecutive season, and will likely see multiple players use the season to enter into the NFL via draft. Unfortunately, major cogs in that Purdue team did not play in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl, leaving lots of holes for players to step up into; players that have had minimal experience in games this year. Most Purdue fans saw this game for what it was: playing with house money in a sunny bowl game, and the game went as such. LSU dropped the hammer on the Boilermakers to the tune of 63-7, but I think I speak for most Purdue fans when I say that we are looking forward to the new coaching regime and seasons to come.
Once this game turned ugly, it was no longer a matter of if Purdue won, but if Devin Mockobee would break 1,000 rushing yards on the season. Mockobee would go on to have 48 yards rushing on 13 carries, falling 32 yards short of the milestone. Although still an incredible season for Devin, I would have liked to see him get some more carries in an attempt to break one off and get over 1K. We did see some nice rushes by Tyrone Tracy in this one, as he finished with 4 carries for 26 yards.
For the quarterbacks, it was a rough day. Each of the top three quarterbacks remaining threw an interception, with Michael Alaimo throwing the lone touchdown to TJ Sheffield. The QBs finished combined 18/41 for 143 yards, 1 TD, and 3 INTs. Most of the game, the QBs were under heavy pressure and on the run.
The receiving game was partly at the mercy of the QBs as they needed to get the ball out quick or on the run. TJ Sheffield had the best day, pulling in 7 catches for 56 yards and the aforementioned TD. No other receiver had more than 2 catches for Purdue (Mockobee had 3 out of the backfield).
As Andrew said last week, Jayden Daniels scares the bejesus out of him, and for good reason. Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier splits drives for LSU and carved the depleted Purdue defense up. The two QBs would combine to go 23/32 for 312 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT. Daniels would also rush for 67 yards on 6 carries. This offense has some serious firepower and Purdue was without the likes of Jalen Graham and Cory Trice. It was a recipe for disaster as the middle of the field was often wide open and there was a consistent lack of pressure on the LSU QB. Jamari Brown did have the lone INT on the day for Purdue’s defense, an underthrown ball by Nussmeier in the endzone. WR Malik Nabers would win MVP in the game with 9 receptions for 163 yards and a TD as well as 2/2 passing for 50 yards. Altogether, it was a challenging day for the defense.
There was a scary moment in the 2nd half when Deion Burks went up for a catch and came down hard, slamming his head into the ground. Deion was stretchered and carted off the field in a neck brace and we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery as we do not know the extent of the injury yet.
I would like to thank the Citrus Bowl and Cheez-It for their hospitality and for putting on a great lead into the game and game itself despite the result. I’m sure that the players and coaches were well taken care of for this one and we were all feeling the Cheeziest.
As we wrap up this season, I would like to shout out all of the players for Purdue that put their all into another great season. At the end of the day, they make the Purdue team, and this season could not have been so successful without them. For those players returning for next season, we will cheer you on with Boilermaker pride and for those moving on, we wish you all the best of luck with your next moves. Boiler Up!