The Boilers went to Lincoln, Nebraska with the hopes of picking up a key victory to move to 3-5 on the season. Instead, the Boilers wasted a good defensive effort with an offensive showing that was...well...offensive. How did the Boilers fare in the keys to the game? Let’s see
1 | Contain Heinrich Haarberg as a Runner
Heinrich Haarberg is a legitimate threat as a runner and had done some damage to teams in the previous weeks. In fact, the Huskers QB was the leading rusher for t Big Red heading into the game against the Boilers. Haarberg couldn’t find many running lanes as he had just 22 yards rushing on 19 attempts. That was a great effort considering the issues the Purdue defense had had throughout the season with any QB that could escape the pocket and run effectively.
2 | Put Pressure on Heinrich Haarberg as a Passer
Another great piece to hang your hat on if your are Purdue here. Kydran Jenkins and Nic Scourton were just absolute terrors against Nebraska throughout the entire game. Outside of a long pass play that is more on the defensive backs and a blocked field goal that was returned for a touchdown, the defense really didn’t give up much. The Boilers two best front seven players combined for 18 tackles, 2.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and a touchdown. More so than that, they controlled the run game both inside and outside by allowing only two rushed to go over 15 yards.
Considering Haarberg was also only 6-11 for 122 yards, 73 of those coming on one play, I’d say the defense put lots of pressure on Haarberg.
3 | Establishing the Running Game to Help the Passing Game
This is where it gets ugly for the Boilers. There was very little they did well at all offensively against a tough Nebraska defense. Hudson Card was really not very good again but he got no help in the running game as the Boilers only managed to garner 96 yards on 29 rushes for an average of 3.3 yards per carry. That’s not going to get it done, especially when one of the only explosive plays in the running game was washed away by another Devin Mockobee fumble.
4 | Find Another Threat Next to Deion Burks & TJ Sheffield
Nobody was really a threat for the Boilers, Sheffield and Burks included, against Nebraska. It was an embarrassing day for the receivers as they dropped at least 6 passes on the day. Card didn’t give himself any help by missing a number of receivers that could have gone for big plays, but the drops were painful. No receiver went over 38 yards receiving and Card threw for only 100 yards total. In fact, including Bennett Meredith’s sole completion of -1 yards, Purdue failed to get 100 yards rushing or receiving. Bad.
This was just an ugly game and even had the Boilers somehow won this one, it wouldn’t be getting a good grade. The defense is clearly making strides as the season has progressed, but for every step the defense has taken forward it seems the offense is jumping and skipping itself backwards. It was hopeful that some changes to scheme or personnel might come following the bye week but the play calling looked vanilla and the scheme continues to be less than impressive. There just isn’t anything that appears to be very innovative watching Purdue’s offense while other programs seem to be taking major steps forward.
The offense was bad enough to bring the overall grade down. No easy way around that.
Overall Grade: F