11/2/20 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Illiniwek Edition

Halloween is, absolutely, my favorite holiday, and I am admittingly, way overboard. Haunted houses, parties, decorations, spooky stuff… I can’t get enough. My friends roll their eyes at me. Don’t care.

Trick or treat. Something wicked or something nice. Which would it be for the Boilermakers this Halloween?

The Game:

Purdue was coming off of an upset win against Iowa, with a chip on their shoulder. Illinois was coming off of a loss against Wisconsin, in which the entire Big Ten laughed at them. It was going to take a trick from the Illini in order to take care of the Boilers, and they almost got it.

Aided by 14 points provided by the ‘stellar’ B1G officiating crew, Illinois almost pulled off the improbable defeat of Purdue. The Boilermakers win, 31-24, and continue to 2-0 for the season, for the first time since 2007.

Aidan O’Connell passed for 371 yards and 2 TD, as David Bell and Milton Wright both went over 100 yards receiving, each with a TD. Zander Horvath also surpassed 100 yards rushing, yet again, this time notching his first TD of the young 2020 season.

The new-look Purdue defense forced 4 turnovers, one of which for a score, which ended up being a tremendous boost to the bottom line. Purdue needed all the support they could get, and they got it when they needed it the most.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics (Chris Johnson)

Break It Down:

This was an ugly one, for sure. Purdue was whistled for over 100 yards in penalties, and kept allowing a down and out Illinois squad back into the game. The Boilers could’ve stomped the life out of them, but never did it.

Also helping the Illini cause, was, perhaps the worst officiating performance (that did not have Bo Boroski involved) in the history of the Big Ten.

Zander Horvath was clearly down by contact on a play called a fumble in the second quarter. The announcers saw it. The players saw it. Anyone watching the game on TV saw it. The world saw it. Those damn pollsters for the election saw it. My mom saw it. The replay official didn’t see it… despite having, MULTIPLE REPLAYS SHOWING MULTIPLE ANGLES OF HORVATH CLEARLY HAVING HIS KNEE DOWN PRIOR TO THE BALL COMING LOOSE!

I’m sorry for yelling. Any ways, that led to 7 points for Illinois and took away a scoring opportunity for Purdue. What could’ve been a 21-0 Purdue lead was now 14-7. Different ballgame.

Later in the game, on a 4th down play, the ball was thrown by Illinois QB Coran Taylor, so poorly, and so far behind the receiver, that the receiver had to stop his route and reach back. He was nowhere near the ball, and the Purdue defender bumped him. This ball, clearly uncatchable under any logical potential for there to be a chance to make a play on the ball, garnered a pass interference call. This extended the drive, and led to 7 more points.

Call me a sore-winner here. I don’t care at this point. This is not a bash on Illinois because they were depleted due to the ultra strict BIG COVID protocol. This is a bash on the Big Ten. How can you allow an officiating crew to be so inept and still so utterly and completely employed? How? The replay official, particularly. Then again, this is the league that allows Bo Boroski to trot out there every basketball season… but I’ve digressed.

This game notched into the win column, rightfully for the Boilermakers. The score should have been 31-10, with the officials notching 14.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics (Chris Johnson)

What Went Well:

  • Ring-a-Ding-Ding!: David Bell continued his dominance, hauling in a TD, and surpassing 100 yards for the 5th straight game. This man is a bonafide star, and needs to be conceptualized into the All-American conversation, and maybe even on the Heisman outskirts.
  • HORVATH WARPATH!: Zander Horvath continued to pound the rock, and looked good doing so. Getting his first TD and breaking the century mark once again is an excellent sign.
  • Spread The Wealth: 7 Purdue offensive players made a reception, 5 of which made multiple. This isn’t a surprise with the weapons at the WR spot on this roster, but it is excellent to see them be utilized.
  • Legion of Boom: Jalen Graham recovered a fumble for TD after a heavy hit was laid by Marvin Grant. This was the final score for the Boilers, and it was in emphatic fashion.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics (Chris Johnson)

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • Two Hands Now…: Zander Horvath, despite having a good game, is credited with two fumbles. Yes, as previously discussed, he was clearly down on one of those fumbles… DESPITE A VIDEO REVIEW AND MULTIPLE ANGLES SHOWING THAT HIS KNEE WAS DOWN PRIOR TO THE FUMBLE AND YET THE CALL STOOD… I’m sorry for yelling… However, Horvath is being relied upon heavily early this season, and ball security is a big part of his game. He has huge pythons for arms, and needs to cinch those down on the ball.
  • Get. Rid. Of. The. Ball: Aidan O’Connell has been playing really well for the Boilers as of late. He is putting the ball where it needs to be, is putting points on the board, and most of all, he is winning. He’s not very mobile, and needs to work on that pocket clock in his head. Yet again, spending too much time dancing in the pocket led to yet another frustrating sack. These are the types of plays that can kill the Boilers against better teams.

A Look Ahead:

Purdue looks to continue on the road, taking on powerhouse #10 Wisconsin. The Badgers are missing some folks due to COVID, with many positive cases throughout their program. Their game against Nebraska this past weekend was cancelled, leaving this game still up in the air.

Purdue hopes to finally notch a victory against Wisconsin. By my count it has been 84 years since Purdue has beaten Wisky at football. I might be off, but it is around there. Truth be told, Wisconsin has been engineered in a secret government football laboratory specifically to defeat Purdue these past few… decades. So, lets chalk these losses up to “matchup difficulties.”

Either way, Purdue looks to be about a touchdown dog for the game, a few points higher than the Iowa game week 1.

Photo Credit: Purdue Athletics (Chris Johnson)

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About Benjamin Kolodzinski 6 Articles
Blending the passion of a sports fan with years of media experience, Ben Kolodzinski is 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, 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. 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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