Purdue Report Card
Wow, what a difference two weeks makes. If only Purdue had a similar turnaround following their bye week. But let’s not take away from this week. Hudson Card looked very good in this game, throwing for over 250 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. Card was able to use his legs to really keep the defense guessing. Balance is necessary for this team and balance is what it had on Saturday. In the ground game, what more can you ask for? Three Purdue rushers averaged over 8 yards/carry and the combination of Mockobee and Tracy looked unstoppable. This was by far the best offensive performance of the year.
Not exactly thrilled that the defense gave up 30 to the Minnesota offense but in the scope of the game as a whole, it’s not as bad. The first half was pretty lackluster as Minnesota had no problem moving the ball around. Every Minnesota drive, except one had a chance to score in the first half. There is something to be said that Purdue did limit touchdowns, which could have been a real backbreaker. The second half went much better though. Minnesota would only score 10 points in the half and you could say that 7, if not 10, were scored in garbage time. The defense set the tone early in the second half, forcing 3 straight punts on 11 total plays by Minnesota. That allowed Purdue to jump from a 28-20 lead to 42-20 and seal the game. Of course, we have to mention the usual stars of Scourton, Jenkins, and Thieneman. All three were, again, lights out and these guys will really be a building block for Purdue. There has only been one game this season in which neither Scourton nor Jenkins recorded a sack.
Special Teams: D+
Definitely a mixed bag here. Purdue’s kickoff team was not doing the defense any favors when they kicked three kicks out of bounds and a penalty led to Minnesota staring at the 40 on another. That’s unacceptable. On the bright side, Purdue made all 7 of their extra point attempts (no field goal attempts). It’s like free throws: gotta make your gimmes.
Play calling seemed to really click in this game. The designed runs and read options for Hudson Card were working swimmingly and definitely opened up the passing game. Of course, when your offensive line blocks the way they did for the running backs, it reflects positively on everyone. Nevertheless, coaching put Purdue in a spot to win this game and the players executed like never before this season.
Purdue does not quite hit an A, but do not misunderstand me. I am ecstatic about this grade, considering where Purdue had been the past month. I try not to grade on a curve so that grades seem more genuine and so that we keep the team, as a whole, accountable. If Purdue can keep up this level of gameplanning and execution, there will be plenty of positives to build on going into the offseason.