Saturday night wasn’t pretty, but the Boilermakers gave us some positives. That’s why the loss hurts so badly.
Five total turnovers and seven fumbles (even with some of them being recovered). Big ol’ yikes. The first questions in the post-game presser were naturally going to be about the miscues against The Cuse.
First-year head coach Ryan Walters wasn’t afraid to take responsibility, stating “this starts with me” and “it’s disappointing, I feel like I failed them this week.”
As Drew and I were talking in the latest edition of Boiler Up Down South, a Purdue team that had four turnovers in the first half still looked sprightly when things were going according to plan offensively, and even after yet another mistake in a missed extra point, was still within striking distance. The score was 28-20 with about eight minutes and forty-eight seconds left in the fourth quarter.
On several trips to the red zone, things just fell apart. Purdue’s first offensive drive involved a fumble on 4th and goal. To add insult to injury in my giant football brain, the guy who recovered the fumble was I guy I said to watch out for in the prediction podcast.
“We got to go look at why. We’ve been really good at ball security...You never want to turn the ball over, especially don’t want to do so in that in the red area,” the first-year skipper said.
When it was 35-20, the final “we have a shot” drive in desperation time involved a dime of a touchdown throw from Hudson Card to Deion Burks negated by a holding call, Purdue’s eleventh penalty of the game.
It was a beautiful pass. It made me think simple caveman things like “Card can throw football good. I trust Card throwing ball when led by Harrell who tell him how and where to throw ball. Offense scheme hot like flame. We may not win battle but we will win war.”
Nope. Holding. There was still enough time for the onside kick and three time outs, but the drive ended with a turnover on downs with another solid throw from Card that was just a bit too far off the sideline.
Defensively, Walters was asked if the coaching staff expected Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader to run to the extent that he did.
“Yeah. We had a spy on him. Sometimes we just couldn’t bring him down.”
I don’t think Purdue’s game plan was ever to “stop” Shrader, as that is unrealistic for a quarterback of his size with his running ability in a spread offense that looks like a modified wing or option offense (and with current roughing the passer and targeting flags).
“We thought we adjusted the way we should at halftime.”
And I agree! I thought Purdue contained much better in the second half and fought their way back into it be a decent game despite a QB like Shrader getting more rushing yardage than even the dude himself is used to having. Again, it was 28-20! After four turnovers and the opposing quarterback looks like a darkhorse Heisman candidate! You are within striking distance! But small errors, when compiled, can take away every big thing you’re doing right.
“Bottom line is: we have to be better, we have to come up with a better plan, and we have to execute.”
Walters has this team headed in a good direction. The train going down the track always starts slow.