10/31/2023 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Husked Corn Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.

It is Halloween, my fair readers. Time for spooky-scary skeletons, candy, and things that go bump in the night. If you’ve endured the horrors of this football season to this point, you, like me, can handle the torturous terrors subjected upon the Boilermaker faithful.

Saturday, my wife and I threw our annual Halloween party. It was the best one yet. Even better, the fact that Purdue graced us with an afternoon game, ending before the festivities began. Between cooking, cleaning, decorating, and getting into costume, I budgeted my time to assure time availability to watch Purdue take on Nebraska. Huge mistake.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love me a good horror movie. I enjoy the fright that Halloween brings. My normal screams of encouragement at the TV were those of fear. My hollers were those of a camper being slain by Jason Vorhees. This game was the living embodiment of an Elm Street Nightmare… fitting for the last weekend of October.

The Game:

Hudson Card threw 16-32 for 100 yards, 1 TD, two INTs, and a fumble. Devin Mockobee carried for 42 yards, but again lost a fumble. The offense is a complete mess, and didn’t show up.

Special teams highlights were exclusively from Jack Ansell who punted for 329 yards, on a 47 yard average, with 4 punts inside the 20. Ben Frehill returned from injury, having a field goal blocked and returned for a TD.

Defensively, Purdue had some bright spots, turning Nebraska over 4 times, including a Kydran Jenkins 55 yard fumble return for TD.

Break It Down:

I will give this team some credit, they continued to fight. They climbed back into this game, albeit briefly, in the 4rd quarter following a couple scores, but the first 3 quarters were so emotionally flattening that I didn’t even seem to care.

So, I am that Purdue fan that you read about. The one who is never say die, never give up, stay all 4 quarters because you never know what is going to happen. This game cracked that facade for me.

Purdue recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff. Promptly lost 5 yards on a Hudson Card fumble. The next play Purdue had a holding penalty. The next play Purdue had a delay of game. The next two plays were positive running plays, but nothing earth shattering. On 4th down, Purdue had an incomplete pass. No points. Did not take advantage of the opportunity. Went backwards. That is deflating.

What Went Well:

  • Thieneman, Scourton, Kane, Jenkins, Karlaftis: Combined for 48 tackles, 3 sacks, 9 tackles for loss, and a touchdown. Excellent output for this defensive squad.
  • 47: Yards per punt is pretty good. Unfortunately when your punter is used so frequently, it doesn’t bode well for your team.

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Offensive Ineptitude: Yes, I am the first to say that an offense will go nowhere when the majority of the linemen are injured. I will also say that the weather did not help. However, with a week to prepare, the ball going nowhere in the first 3 quarters, with zero creativity, is not a recipe for success. A but part of that is..
  • Hudson Card: Is running for his life almost every play, which is not a good circumstance. Part of that are his linemen are a skeleton crew. The other part is the fact that he is holding the ball far too long. This is leading to eating sacks, losing yardage, grounding the ball, and stalling out the offense. Linemen are trained to pass block for 4 seconds, with the idea that the ball is out prior to that. Card is a QB, holding the ball and scrambling for well past 4 seconds, with backup linemen. You’re either going to get sacked or a holding call.
  • Devin Mockobee: For a player who was so efficient last season at holding onto the ball, Mockobee’s fumble-itis returned this week. I know he’s disappointed in these performances and a major change is needed.

Another Thing:

Purdue basketball played Arkansas for a charity exhibition game in Fayetteville, falling in OT 81-77.

Boilers used this game as an experiment, only playing Zach Edey for 8 minutes in the first half, and trialing a TKR+Edey front court. Loyer and Edey led the way with 15 points, Gillis had 13, and Braden Smith had 12.

This was a unique type of exhibition for the Boilermakers. By all accounts, Arkansas approached this game as if it was a regular season tilt, as they should. Likewise, judging by twitter, Arkansas fans approached this as if it was a championship game. That is neither here nor there.

With Arkansas’ athletic ability, and in your face style, it was a good test for the Boilers. While Braden Smith and the Purdue backcourt did ok against the press, the half court offense struggled against the intensity. Purdue had 20 turnovers, including allowing Arkansas 14 steals. Purdue shot 39% from the field, and 30% from 3.

While it is never fun for the team you root for to lose, I take absolutely zero stock into exhibition games. The game doesn’t count, and its good to have coaching opportunities, loss driven motivation, and identified areas of needed improvement… without an actual loss.

A Look Ahead:

Boilermaker Football heads into the Big House to take on Michigan. For what its worth, with 6 losses on the season, Purdue cannot lose another contest this year if they want to go to the post season. Even if/when Michigan vacates this season, it doesn’t help Purdue’s bowl hopes. Anyways, as of the writing of this article Purdue is a 32 point underdog, which may be light.

The Basketball Boilermakers have another exhibition against Grace College on Wednesday, November 1st, at 7 pm.

For more content like this follow @ISC_Purdue on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. For a deeper look into the mad mind of Ben Kolodzinski, follow him at @BRKolo on Twitter. WARNING: Viewer’s discretion is advised…

About Benjamin Kolodzinski 105 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is a unique personality for ISC Purdue. Since the 2017-18 NCAA seasons, Ben has written weekly columns for ISC, with a style that can only be described as snarky, irreverent, and often times irrelevant. A 2008 graduate from Purdue West Lafayette, Kolodzinski has worked for several local and regional media outlets. Best known for his television and radio work at Lakeshore Public Media (Lakeshore Public Television, and 89.1 The Lakeshore), Kolodzinski helped grow Northwest Indiana's only nightly news show Lakeshore News Tonight, along with The Region's only local sports shows Prep Sports Report, and Prep Football Report. As of 2022, Kolodzinski hosts Lakeshore Gamenight, a prep football radio show and cohosts Lakeshore PBS Scoreboard, a prep football TV highlight show. Kolodzinski is known, locally, for having a fun loving and gregarious personality, and for attempting to inject humor into his reporting... sometimes successfully.

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