Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
Whelp. Purdue lost. The End.
See? Just like our Purdue Boilermakers, I too can completely phone in my weekly column before it even really begins.
Like these Boilermakers, however, I will continue to put in effort. Much like my coherent thoughts, I will try, but probably struggle, and end up failing by the time the final gun sounds.
There is good and bad with having a late bye week in the CFB season. The good? You have an opportunity to be fresh for the final stretch of the campaign. The bad? You are pretty much pounded into a fine goo by the time you can achieve any rest.
The world aligned for Purdue to finally beat Wisconsin. A surging Boilermaker squad is taking on a reeling (for their standards, anyways) Badger team. A high-flying offense is taking on a defense that can’t stop the pass. Wisconsin has an interim coach, who is a tremendous football mind, but new to the head coaching position. The weather cooperated. Everything was set up for Purdue to take a commanding lead in the Big Ten West.
Can ya’ll think of any other time that the world aligned for Purdue to have a special season? All Purdue had to do was walk through the door and every goal they wanted was right in front of them. Can ya’ll think of a time when Purdue had the right draw, the right opportunity at the right time, and stubbed their toe?
The Game: Purdue 24, Wisconsin 35
Before ESPN could even get the game on air, this contest was essentially over. You can’t win a game in the first quarter, but you sure as hell can lose it. An easy opening Wisconsin drive, followed by an awful pick-6, had the Badgers up 14-0 before the cameras even broadcasted the action.
The next thing that I remember is another Wisconsin TD, a missed field goal, and wouldn’t you know it… Our Boilermakers were deflated.
Aidan O’Connell played his worst game of the season, throwing for 320 yards, but three interceptions. Devin Mockobee ran for 108 yards, adding a debatable touchdown in the process. Charlie Jones continued his greatness, with 10 receptions for 105 yards.
Defensively, the Boilers tallied 4 tackles for loss and 2 sacks, and held Wisconsin to a respectable 381 yards. However, when the offense is gifting their opponents multiple touchdowns, and not taking advantage of scoring opportunities, then even a productive defensive outing doesn’t matter.
Break It Down:
The sky is not falling, here, fellow Boilermakers. 8 games into the season and Purdue has 5 victories. Purdue had a 3-1 October, with multiple winning games on the horizon. All is not lost for the Boilers either. Purdue is still in the thick of the Big Ten West, despite the sour taste, currently.
In a way, take Saturday for what it is worth. The performance this weekend was the outlier, not the mean. Also, in a sick way, having an ending to a football game not be nerve racking, hypertension causing, and incredibly stressful… is probably good for all of our health.
What Went Well:
- For What Its Worth: Purdue could have rolled over completely, after sleepwalking through the opening minutes of the game. They didn’t. They continued to compete, although unsuccessfully, and ended up losing by a respectable 11 points. We all know the game wasn’t as close as 11.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Wake Up: If Purdue starts the way that they did against Wisconsin against any other team on the schedule, then they will lose. It is particularly embarrassing to get punched so hard in the face by an opponent that is, at worst, just a half step better than you, and get rocked by it. If you can’t be ready to play as a road-dog, in Madison Wisconsin, when can you be ready to play?
- Take Advantage of What You Can: Purdue had plenty of opportunity to make this a much closer game than it ended up being. Even with the zombie-like start, had Purdue been able to score touchdowns when they were marching down the field instead of turning the ball over, or
splitting twosettling for field goals… Purdue very well could have won this game. Would’a, could’a, should’a, whatever. Had Purdue done what they were supposed to do, this would have been a completely different game.
- Do What You Need to Do: Purdue was completely in quicksand in the first half of this game. The way to get yourself out of quicksand, is to capitalize on what you are doing that is positive. When Purdue relied on Mitchell Fineran, when a scoring opportunity stalled out. His missed chip-shot field goal was tremendously influential for momentum. Fineran is a clutch kicker, we’ve seen it. For whatever reason, he is missing some kicks that we all know he can make. The Boilermaker universe knows that he will get back in stride, and Purdue needs it badly.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue has finally reached their bye week. The season to this point has been grueling, and the past few weeks injuries have continued to mount. Likewise, Purdue now has two weeks to think about what happened on Saturday.
Maybe they will be motivated to start next game. Maybe.
Speaking of that game, Purdue will take on Iowa at home, on 11/5. I’d imagine that Purdue will more than likely be favorites in that contest, but we will see!
Rest up Boilers!
Purdue-Wisconsin Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2022/Wisconsin
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