11/13/2023 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Goofy Gopher Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

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

The weather is starting to chill out quite a bit, and the sun is setting earlier. While it hasn’t been bitterly cold, it has crept into the low 30s at night, mid 40s during the day. I love it.

One thing that I have always looked forward to as a fat Midwestern guy, is this time of year. First of all, I can wrap myself in a hoodie and cover my widening waistline, while maintaining fashionable for an Indiana citizen. Secondly, I am not constantly sweating, as a the cool breeze keeps me at a normal temperature. Finally, but in this case most importantly, it is chili season!!

Chili might be the most versatile of the cold weather foods. You can eat it in a bowl. You can eat it on a hot dog. Pour it over some pasta for a unique treat. You throw meat, tomatoes, spices, beans, onions, garlic… pretty much anything into a pot. You let it simmer for a few hours, and BAM you have a gourmet meal.

Other than adding cinnamon to it, or eating it with a cinnamon roll, you really can’t mess chili up.

You see, the key to a good chili is patience. You have to let the flavors meld. You can’t judge chili a few minutes in, you have to give it time. Let it age. The longer you simmer, the better the flavor. Eventually, once you have a good balance of spices, the right cook time, and you’ve reached the pinnacle of a delicious meal.

I guess, the Purdue football team just needed to simmer a bit. After a few failed taste tests the past few weeks, the flavors really came together.

I have my hot sauce and cheese ready. I’m ready for another bowl.

The Game:

Purdue defeated the Golden Gophers 49-30, in a game which wasn’t nearly as close as the final score indicated.

Purdue rushed for 353 yards, and 4 TDs, with no rusher averaging less than 5.5 yards per carry. Devin Mockobee led the way with 153 yards on a (9 YPC) and a TD. Tyrone Tracy rushed for 122 yards (8.1 YPC) and 2 TD.

Hudson Card was magnificent, breaking tackles and making huge plays. He passed for 251 yards, 3 TD, while breaking multiple sack attempts in the backfield.

Defensively, Dillon Thieneman led the way with 9 tackles, followed by Jenkins and Kane with 6 each.

Break it Down:

When a team is mathematically eliminated from bowl eligibility, what do you see from that team tells a lot about the character of both the coaches and the players. This Boilermaker squad showed pride in their craft, and throttled a B1G West foe that has given them fits for years.

Having pride in what you do, and continuing to compete, despite bad circumstances, is the hallmark of a well coached team, with players who have bought in. That should make everybody who believes in Coach Walters, and this Purdue program, proud.

Now, the Golden Gophers aren’t the Georgia Bulldogs or anything. Hell, they’re not even Illinois… but what they are is a team that is borderline bowl eligible, and in Purdue’s “weight class” when it comes to playing football.

Purdue could have given up. They could have quit. They didn’t. In fact, they imposed their will, and showed that the Boilermakers are better than their record indicates. I’ve been saying it all year. No Purdue isn’t Alabama, but they sure as heck aren’t a 2 win team either.

Imagine how good this team could have been with a healthy roster and a couple of lucky bounces.

What Went Well:

  • 353: Yards rushing simply doesn’t happen at Purdue. Especially against a makeshift offensive line.
  • Hudson Card, Houdini: Hudson Card was slick in the backfield, slipping out of sure fire sacks, only to throw darts down field and masterfully run the offense. This is the Card we all were looking forward to this season.
  • Ross Ade Faithful: Showed out yet again! The stadium looked gorgeous, filled with the ravenous Boilermaker faithful. Just a few thousand away from a sell out, supporting a (then) 2 win squad in November. That shows how much faith we have in Coach Walters.

Minnesota Photo Gallery by Mark Elsner: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2023/Minnesota/

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • 53 & 1/3: Yards. 160 feet. That is how wide a football field is. If you laid the Purdue bell tower on it’s side, it would be the exact width of a football field. Purdue missed a target that wide 3 times on kickoffs on Saturday.
  • A Little Too Easy At Times: Early in the game, Minnesota moved the ball at will. It seemed like there was no stopping the Gophers in the first quarter. Luckily the defense found their groove, and took care of business.

Big Men On Campus:

The Purdue Offensive Line has been the target of much derision this season, due to no fault of their own. They have been depleted by injury, and have had to thrust players into the game who needed more time to develop.

By moving some players around, ignoring their “natural position” Purdue put the 5 nastiest players they could on the field, regardless of position, and completely demolished the Minnesota defensive front.

353 yards rushing doesn’t grow on cornstalks, folks. These young men brought it, on Saturday.

Oh Yeah! Basketball!:

Matt Painter’s #3 Boilermakers are off to a 2-0 record in the young season. Zach Edey continues to lead the way, averaging 17 points and 9.5 rebounds in limited (yes you read that right) minutes. Braden Smith has shown flashes of brilliance as well, averaging 11.5 points and 6 rebounds.

Everyone on the roster has seen significant minutes so far this season, and each player has shown their own brand of excitement on the floor. While these two games (Samford and Morehead State) were against sub-par competition, the Boilermakers have looked nearly flawless early.

Likewise, with Duke losing at home this week, Purdue should move up to #2 in the rankings.

Samford Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/23-24/Samford/

A Look Ahead:

The Purdue Football Boilermakers travel to Evanston to take on the Northwestern Wildcats for a Nooner on Saturday. As of the writing of this article, the Wildcats are a slim 1.5pt favorite. I will be in attendance, so feel free to come by and say Hi!

The #3 Purdue Basketball Boilermakers host Xavier Monday evening in the first real test of the season. Purdue should be prohibitive favorites against the Cincinnati foes (-17.5 as of Monday morning).

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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