Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
The crisp cool, breezy air filled central Indiana, as the previously night’s rain threatened no longer. The maple trees lining campus have given way to a bright fiery red, as the shades of autumn sweep across the Midwest. October in God’s country, the greatest time of the year.
Fifty seven thousand plus entered Ross Ade Stadium, as the darkness began to overtake the light. The Boilermaker faithful proved to provide a raucous atmosphere, as the invading Cornhuskers, filled with confidence, played in front of a hostile, sold out stadium.
The atmosphere, the amplitude of excitement vibrated through the community. Ever cocky, for every dropped pass, for every big play, Nebraska would hold one finger to their facemask, hushing the Boilermaker masses. They implored, begged the Ross Ade crowd to silence their cheers. None the less, the fans persisted.
In the end, the black-clad masses willed their warriors onto victory. The Boilermakers led wire to wire, dispatching the ever boastful Cornhuskers, back to Nebraska from whence they came.
Another October. Another Nebraska loss to Purdue.
The Game: Nebraska 37, Purdue 43
A high scoring affair, defense was at a premium. Nebraska bombed away on the suddenly shaky Purdue secondary. The final score indicated a close game. It was an excellent bout. The thing is, this game was an oxy-moron. Simultaneously not as close as the score indicated, and a game in which Nebraska had every opportunity to win.
Aidan O’Connell was picked off in the endzone on his first drive, but otherwise proved lethal against the weak Nebraska secondary. He threw for 391 yards with 4 touchdowns, and 1 interception. The majority of his incompletions came from Purdue drops, of which the Cornhusker secondary would celebrate vociferously. Charlie Jones (Chuck Sizzle, as the kids call him), returned to his regularly-scheduled greatness, hauling in 12 receptions for 132 yards, and 2 TDs. He was flanked by TJ Sheffield who added 2 more TDs on 70 yards receiving.
Devin Mockobee was the real show stealer, on Saturday. He had thirty carries for 178 yards and a touchdown, Mockobee could do no wrong against the Cornhuskers. If he wasn’t running over his opponents, he was juking them out. If he wasn’t sidestepping them, he was simply running by them.
Defensively, however, the Purdue secondary was completely lost. WR Trey Parker went super-hyper-thermo-nuclear against the Boilermakers, skipping freely behind the cornerbacks. He finished with 237 yards receiving and 2 TDs. Fortunately, for the good guys, the rest of the Nebraska offense could not support his herculean effort.
Future NFL player Jalen Graham led the way with 6 solo tackles, two tackles for loss, including one sack. Purdue garnered 4 sacks, and 5 tackles for loss on the night. Clyde Washington and Reese Taylor both added interceptions which stalled Nebraska drives.
Break It Down:
Purdue simultaneously controlled this game and nearly lost at the same time. The Boilermakers played with a tenuous but consistent 2 score lead for the majority of the contest. A missed extra point, and some easy, quick TDs by Nebraska left Purdue needing to cover a 4th down to ice the game late.
Had O’Connell not thrown a terrible pass in the first quarter, which negated a promising drive Purdue would have had another touchdown.
Had Purdue’s secondary not been terrified (read as paralyzed) by Nebraska’s deep passing attack, the Boilermakers would have won comfortably.
The bottom line is, Purdue should have won by multiple scores, but instead won by one. Credit to Nebraska. They’re playing tough following the unceremonious exit of their
favored son coach earlier this season. Just not tough enough to merit the cockiness of their players or fans.
What Went Well:
- Chuck Sizzle: … Returned to his normal form. This offense really hums when he does his thing.
- MockoA+: Devin Mockobee has grown into an absolute stud at RB. He hits the hole fast, makes his cuts, and moves upfield. In the absence of King Doerue, Mockobee has grabbed the bull by the horns, and ridden it to positive yardage.
- Pinpoint Accuracy: AOC did not have his most accurate percentage (64%), the majority of his incompletions were drops. However, some of the passes that he threw this week were absolute dime-pieces. The TD pass in the second half to Jones at the pylon, was an absolute perfect pass.
Opportunity for Improvement:
- Don’t Look Behind You: Because Trey Palmer is running back freely for a touchdown back there. The lack of resistance against the deep play is astonishing this deep into the season. There are NFL caliber players in the Purdue secondary, but they absolutely did not show it on Saturday.
- Don’t Look Behind You In the Last Minute of the Half: Another halftime drive, another failure by Purdue. The Cornhuskers marched right down field and got a field goal to end the second quarter, in just a few seconds. Thank God that Purdue held Nebraska off at the end of the 4th by sustaining that drive. We all know that Nebraska would have scored against the Purdue 2 minute drill defense.
One More Thing:
This game marked the 2022 version of Purdue’s Hammer Down Cancer game. While the Boilermakers have been doing this game for years, the embodiment of this game became none other than former Purdue student Tyler Trent.
As we all remember four years ago in 2018, Tyler Trent became a nation storyline as his inspirational battle against cancer inspired the Boilermakers to victory against the #2 Ohio State. Unfortunately, Tyler succumbed to his illness, but his legacy and story lives on.
I, like many, have many loved ones who have been affected by cancer. Some have won their battle, others have lost. The bottom line is we all will continue to fight this disease, and continue to raise awareness to the battles being waged.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue travels north to take on Wisconsin, a team which they haven’t beaten in nearly a generation. The woes against the badgers have been well documented, but there is no time like the present to take down the badgers.
As of the writing of this story, Purdue are 2 point dogs against Wisconsin, for some reason. Regardless, it should be a tough battle in Madison, Saturday afternoon.
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Game Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2022/Nebraska/