It’s pretty hard to overcome 3 turnovers, especially when those turnovers lead to 21 points for the opposing team. Despite those turnovers and being down 31-17, Purdue came out in the second half fighting, forcing 3 and outs and getting a touchdown. That momentum continued into the beginning of the 4th quarter as Purdue cut Northwestern’s lead to 31-27.
But after that, Purdue’s offense fell asleep and committed back-to-back 3-and-outs. While the officiating was not good, it was not the reason why Purdue lost this game. Purdue lost this game by giving Northwestern too much room in the first half, too many turnovers, and the offense going silent in the fourth quarter. Purdue only got 5 yards of offense in the 4th quarter.
Tonight’s game will certainly not help solve the Sindelar vs Blough debate. Sindelar became a liability with his turnovers, and the offense became stagnant under Blough. Neither were good, and both unfortunately contributed to the loss. While the turnovers contribution to the loss was obvious, the 3-and-outs under Blough prevented the defense to get adequate rest when they needed it the most. After forcing the Northwestern offense off the field, the defense was just gassed and ran out of time to give Purdue the ball back.
But it’s not the end of the world. Obviously, it’s not the start that we wanted, but this is just a bump in the road if Purdue can learn from their mistakes. Purdue showed the country that they will continue to fight even if they’re down two touchdowns in the second half.
And let’s not the bad overshadow some of the good from tonight: after giving up 31 points in the 1st half, Purdue’s defense gave up 0 points in the 2nd half and only 95 yards before Northwestern’s game ending drive. Purdue’s weakness was the second half last year and was often outscored after halftime.
And of course, how can we forget about Rondale Moore? Despite having a quiet second half, Moore broke the school record of all-purpose yards in a game with 313 yards. Of course, it helps when you get 76 of those yards off one play:
Terry Wright with three (3!) blocks on the play to spring Rondale Moore for the TD!pic.twitter.com/3BOtpnx7Ok— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) August 31, 2018
This is a set back for Purdue, but they can overcome this. They now have some extra time to rest and prepare for Eastern Michigan. Learn from the mistakes, correct them, and move on.