Purdue seemed to come in today with the game plan of taking the ball out of their young QBs hands and allowing the running game to do the damage. That's just a bad plan. Purdue's offense managed an abysmal 191 yards for the entirety of the game. Wisconsin racked up 418 yards on offense. On defense Purdue seemed intent to give Wisconsin a 10 yard cushion off all of their receivers and then rush up to them immediately after they make the easy reception. Yet another brilliant strategy by this coaching staff. I just can't fathom the thought process that goes into making these game plans.
Purdue somehow managed to stay in the game for the entire first half going into halftime down 10-7. Those 7 points were largely the result of an interception by Leroy Clark who then chugged 60+ yards down the field to give the offense great field position. Even with that great field position Purdue almost managed to blow that. So you look at a 10-7 halftime score and you have to wonder what happened in the second half to derail this game so much.
Well, Wisconsin started finishing drives. Wisconsin consistently racked up yards on offense in the first half but ended with an interception in their red zone to go along with a missed field goal to end the half. It could've been much much worse in the first half for Purdue. In the second half Wisconsin decided to put their heads down and finish drives. For example rather than going for the easy chip shot field goal on 4th and 1 at the goal line Wisconsin chose to go for the touchdown. Despite Purdue hitting the ballcarrier in the backfield the defense wasn't able to wrap him up and he rumbled into the end zone. It wasn't pretty. Whatever goes on in the locker room at halftime Purdue has to find a way to reverse it. All things considered the defense didn't play terrible overall when you look at the amount of time they spent on the field. The time of possession heavily favored Wisconsin. Purdue had the ball for 22:09 compared to Wisconsin's robust 37:46.
To make matters worse D.J. Knox went down in the fourth quarter with either a foot or leg injury. Yes, Purdue still has Markell Jones but you'd like to have that one two punch back there for this anemic offense. After Knox went down and with Purdue down 24-7 Shoop decided to open up the playbook and allow David Blough to actually throw the football. It would be far too little, far too late. Even if it weren't too little too late it was still just four yards when seven yards were needed.
Purdue now falls to 1-6 on the season with perhaps no winnable games on the horizon. Purdue is staring down the barrel of a second one win season in the last three years. I'm not sure we learned anything about this team or this coaching staff today that we didn't already know. The staff seemed content not to lose too badly rather than looking to win. The defense allowed so many yards and the offense seemed content to just fight for field position. It continues to be frustrating to be a Purdue fan. Something needs to change. Coach Hazell is now 1-18 in conference games. 1-18.