Back in the day there was a TV show called the “A Team”.
This was a rag-tag group of rough fighting experts who could take care of business, regardless of their unconventional methods, and very long odds. Their leader was Hannibal Smith, a cigar smoking, gray haired, even keeled military man.
Hannibal was the mastermind behind the group of rag-tag warriors. He joined Tempelton “Face Man” Peck, H.M. “Howlin Mad” Murdock, and B.A. “(Probably Stood for Bad-Ass)” Baracus, in inconceivable conquests of military justice.
Now, if I was to tell you that something A-Team-y happened this week in Purdue sportsdom, would you believe me? A long shot worked out? That Iowa would lose to Nebraska, Purdue would defeat two top 10 teams in basketball, the Boilermakers were to clinch the Big Ten West, in football,while simultaneously embarrassing the Indiana University Hoosiers, and West Virginia/#6 Gonzaga/#8 Duke would be licking their Boilermaker induced double digit loss basketball wounds… would you believe it? Is this one of the best weekends in Purdue sports history???
As Hannibal would say, as he lights up a fat cigar… “I love it when a plan comes together.”
*Thanks to Brian Durbin for the Boilermaker background on Hannibal actor George Peppard
The Bucket Game: Purdue 30, Indiana 16
An extremely slow, lethargic start saw
Indinia Indiana leading throughout the first half. Tom Allen celebrated like it was the Super Bowl. Purdue fans were ticked. The Hoosiers were dicing the Boilermakers, early, until IU starting QB Dexter Williams II unfortunately suffered what appears to be a very serious leg injury. I will speak for all of us at ISC Purdue, and for the Boilermaker fandom as a whole, when I give my sincerest best wishes to that young man. He had IU cooking, and you never want to see an injury like that to a young athlete, rivalry or not.
For IU, the offense couldn’t muster much after that injury, giving Purdue an opportunity to capture the lead in the second half. While the pathway wasn’t the easiest trek, the Boilermakers took control in the second half, and ended up running away with it.
Aidan O’Connell threw for 290 yards and 2 touchdowns. Charlie Jones had only 4 receptions, but for 143 yards (35.8 yard average) and an electrifying touchdown. Payne Durham added 4 receptions for 39 yards and another TD. Devin Mockobee was his usual electric self, rushing for 99 yards, and a winding touchdown through the heart of the IU secondary.
Defensively, the Boilers gave up lots of yards, but few points. Corey Trice and Jalen Graham led the way with 8 tackles each. Trice had the play of the game, where he intercepted a bobbled Hoosier pass, pinning it against his waist, and taking in for a touchdown.
Photos: Mark Elsner
Break It Down:
The Boilers retain the Old Oaken Bucket, and extend their lead in the overall series to 125-90. IU could win this game for three straight decades, and still trail the overall series.
More importantly, however, Purdue is officially the Big Ten West champions. They will play Michigan on December 3rd in Indianapolis, in the Big Ten Championship game. Happy day for the Boilers!
One More Thing:
Towards the end of the game, Aidan O’Connell was seen to be very emotional on the sideline. In the post game press conference, Jeff Brohm got emotional as well, and highlighted that Aidan has been dealing with some personal issues this week.
As of Sunday evening, an official press release from the O’Connell family has been published. Aidan’s oldest brother, Sean O’Connell has, tragically, passed away. While the circumstances of this passing remain a mystery at the publishing of this article, this is a heartbreaking development. Aidan, the Boilermaker nation has your back. You’ve represented us well over these years, and we support you in your trying time.
I, and everyone at ISC, wish you, and your family, peace in this time of need. God Bless.
Basketball Wild Weekend:
Matt Painter’s young Boilermaker squad traveled to Portland, to take on a gauntlet of tough basketball programs. The Phil Knight Invitational brought together some of the nations best Nike sponsored teams for a basketball showcase.
- Game 1: #24 Purdue 80, West Virginia 68: Zach Edey had 24 and 12, as Purdue led the Mountaineers from the opening tip. Mason Gillis added 14, and showed signs of being a breakout player, in the solid victory over the Bob Huggins squad.
- Game 2: #24 Purdue 84, #6 Gonzaga 66: In what was the toughest test to date, Purdue started slowly but eventually took control. From that point the Boilermakers imposed their will on the Bulldogs, Led by Zach Edey’s 23 points, Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer each went for 14, and Caleb Furst had a clutch 10. ESPN did their best to force Gonzaga down the viewer’s throats, but it was Purdue who dominated the ballgame. A Top 10 win this early in the season is a great resume booster!
- Game 3: #24 Purdue 75, #8 Duke 56: The Dookies waltzed out their super duper, 5 star, ultra-mega awesome team, in which the endowment probably invested tons of booster collateral, and promptly lost by 19. Edey had 21, Loyer added 18, and Duke added the bed wetting, as the Boilers were much too strong for the much adored, and ESPN obsessed Blue Devils.
Break It Down:
Considering that Purdue lost 4 starters from last year’s team, which was considered to be the best team in a while for the Boilers… This weekend was incredible. Two top 10 wins and a top 50 win puts the Boilermakers on the national map.
I take very little credence in the intelligence of the national media (who continually overlook the Boilermakers), but Purdue has absolutely put their stamp on the NCAA world. College Basketball is officially on notice.
Way, way, way way way too early, but there were casual side-comments in my viewings of these games saying that this Purdue team might be, just as good as last year. That is a tall order!
If nothing else, this team is much more fun to watch. Got that going for ’em.
Big Man on Campus:
Aidan O’Connell led Purdue to a Big Ten West Championship, and did so in the face of heartbreak within his family. Gutty performances happen every Saturday, but when they happen in the face of personal peril, it deserves recognition. AOC has been a walking, talking, forceful leader for Purdue over the past 4 years. He deserves all the adulation that he can get.
A Look Ahead:
Unranked Purdue football will take on the #2 ranked Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, December 3rd, 2022 in the Big Ten Championship game. Funny tidbit, Purdue has the most wins over a top 2 ranked opponent in all of NCAA football history, while being unranked. Just saying. Michigan opens as a 16.5 point favorite (as of the writing of this article), and has an apparent 89% chance of winning. I like Purdue’s chances (Ben lights a cigar).
Purdue Basketball gets a day or two of rest, and quickly buzzes out to Florida State for a 11/30 meeting in Tallahassee. Purdue will be favorites, despite the short rest. Following that game, Purdue will host the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday, December 4th.
Tremendous weekend for the Boilers. Looking forward to more success next week!
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