Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
Northwestern University snugly sits in the mean streets of Evanston, Illinois. Marquette University is nestled into the metropolis known as Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In between those two, sits a monument to modern achievement, a pillar of engineering greatness, and an all around great time. Proudly scraping the clouds in Gurnee, Illinois, Six Flags Great America has thrilled at least dozens of people over their 46 years of existence.
Prior to my rapidly expanding waistline, I used to ride a whole bunch of rollercoasters. I’ve visited the Gurnee mainstay many times in my nearly four decades on this earth, and let me tell you, the place is awesome. Home to 15 rollercoasters, and over 50 total attractions, I have made quite a few memories in this place.
I’ve probably been there at least 30 times. Heck, one time I conned my wife into purchasing the yearly pass, and went probably 5 times that year. Spent more money in gas than I did on tickets, I tell you what.
Anyways, for those of you who are coaster enthusiasts, such as myself, know that there are different types of coasters out there, all that have their own set of experiences and thrills. Some go really fast. Others go upside down. Some soar high into the sky, while others hug closely to the ground. Some go really smoothly and others beat you up. You kind of know what you’re getting into depending on whether they are made out of steel or wood, predicting what you’d expect.
Some folks like those glossy smooth, fast paced, modern steel contraptions. Things seem safe, you go really fast, and sometimes flip upside down. I personally like the rough, sketchy looking wooden rollercoasters. Those feel out of control. Sometimes they run great, and other times you feel like you have to adjust your spinal column after stepping off the train. Sometimes you really feel the burn after a good ride. Either way, you lived through it, and want to do it again. You never know what you are going to get. That is the nature of the beast, but at least you survived!
Like a wooden rollercoaster, Purdue sports are a “you never know what you’re gunna get” endeavor. Sometimes things go smoothly and the game runs its rollercoaster-course like a breeze. Other times, things get rough. The pathway gets shaky. Things get sketchy.
Luckily, this week the rollercoaster train made its way safely back to the station, despite a few shaky moments.
The Football Game: Northwestern 9, Purdue 17.
Battling frigid temperatures and blustery winds, the Purdue Boilermakers took down the worst team in the Big Ten. While Purdue should have won this game by 2 to three scores, the game was in doubt for the entirety. Much of that had to do with the Boilermaker offense.
Aidan O’Connell threw for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns, while 6 ball carriers ended up garnering 140 yards rushing. Dylan Downing had 49, Kobe Lewis had 42, and Tyrone Tracy had 32. All three were used more than expected, following an early injury to Devin Mockobee. The offense drove deep into Northwestern territory many times, but regularly stalled out. They turned the ball over 2 times on downs, and missed one field goal, nullifying three scoring chances.
Defensively Kieren Douglass, Kydran Jenkins, and Jalen Graham all led the way with 7 tackles a piece. Graham added
a pick 6 an interception, and the rest of the defense recovered two fumbles.
Mark Elsner Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2022/Northwestern
Break It Down:
This was another one of those oxymoron games. This game was simultaneously closer than and more lopsided than the final score indicated.
Purdue kept squandering opportunities, not taking advantage of the gifts the hapless Wildcats gave them. One play in particular, the Jalen Graham interception in which he returned the ball into the endzone only to be called for taunting on the return. That wiped 6 points off the board, and kept the game closer than it should have been.
Is it a rule? Yes. It is a rule. Is it a dumb rule? Yes. It is a dumb rule. Is it a borderline call according to the rule? Yes, it is also a borderline call according to the rule. All three can be true at the same time. I watch a lot of football. I’ve watched Ohio State celebrate much worse than that with no call. I’ve seen Nebraska do it. Michigan too. Syracuse. Wisconsin. All of the aforementioned did not get flagged, other than Purdue.
The officials need to understand the subtlety, the intention, and the good faith of the rule. This rule was written so that a player doesn’t openly mock, show-up, call out, or blatantly disrespect their opponent. It is intended for lewd hand gestures, pointing, dancing, and Taylor Stubblefield-ing. Not for high stepping, a common running technique used in football.
Did he break a rule? Sure. Is it a dumb rule? Sure. Just as it would be ridiculous for a police officer to pull over someone for going 3mph over on a freeway, to flag Graham for that “celebration” is just the same. The Big Ten never knows how to read the room, and this official is yet another example of this.
Anyways the game was ugly. Purdue took care of business. It was a rough ride, but we made it, none the less.
Dave Wegiel Photo Gallery: https://www.pinolaphotography.com/2022-Photos/2022-Sports/2022-Football/11-19-22-Purdue-vs-Northwestern/
The Basketball Game: Marquette 70, Purdue 75
In the first real challenege of the year, Purdue hosted Marquette at Mackey on Tuesday night. Playing from behind for a huge portion of the game, the Boilermakers grew up through some early challenges, continually having to come back, and fend off Marquette surges.
Braden Smith and Zach Edey led the way in scoring with 20 points each, and David Jenkins Jr. added 10.
The real story of this game was a complete takeover from Braden Smith in the second half. When Purdue needed a spark, Smith took over. Multiple cutting drives and finishes and 3 of 4 three point shots, the freshman point guard took charge, surpassing the Marquette lead, and taking control for the Boilermakers.
Mark Elsner Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/Purdue-Mens-Basketball/22-23/Marquette/
Big Man on Campus:
Braden Smith’s performance against Marquette was a real eye opener. We all knew that he was a tremendous athlete, but his 20pt scoring output lifted the Boilers to the victory.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue football travels to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers in the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket. The 3:30 pm kick is the 124th meeting between the two, with Purdue leading the series 75-42-6. Purdue has won 3 of the last 4 meetings, and as of the writing of this article Purdue is a 9.5 pt favorite. If Purdue wins, they will win at least a share of the Big Ten West Championship.
The Basketball team travels to Portland Oregon for the Phil Knight Legacy Tournament. The Boilers take on West Virginia in the opening round, in a pretty even matchup on Thanksgiving at 10pm. The next round, Purdue could see Portland State or #2 Gonzaga. Other teams in the tournament are Florida, #7 Duke, Oregon State, and Xavier.
Hopefully ya’ll have a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
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