9/25/2023 Boilermaker Water Cooler Chat: Badgered Edition

Photo: Mark Elsner

Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports, following the Boilermakers’ 38-17 loss to the Wisconsin Badgers.

Have you ever seen a badger in the wild? Sure, they look cute or whatever, but let me tell you, they’re terrifying.

If you were curious about learning more about these horrifying creatures, I am going to spit some cold hard facts at you. Encyclopedia Britannica calls a badger a “Nocturnal, burrowing, mammal”. There is so much more to them. So, so much more.

  • They’re a type of weasel.
  • The American Badger’s natural habitat is primarily the western united states, but encompasses the great lakes region, including Northern Indiana.
  • They prey on pretty much anything smaller than them, from ground squirrels and marmots, to rattle snakes and skunks.
  • Badgers are formidable fighters as well, known for attacking anything they want, and probably winning. They are documented events of Badgers, despite being little weasels, defeating bears, lions, coyotes and foxes. The most frequent vanquished foe, however, is the unsuspicious Boilermaker.

Never mind that a badger shouldn’t be able to defeat a train riding, sledge hammer wielding, fully grown, muscle bound, human being wearing personal protective equipment, there’s multiple decades of examples. Multiple decades.

The Game:

I have a 4 hour radio/TV show in Northwest Indiana that went live at the same time this game kicked off. While there was an in-studio television showing the game, I was distracted early.

When my college aged son texted me sometime during this debacle, I knew things were bad. He texted me the following…

After I got off air, I scooted home and watched a little more intently, and let me tell you things weren’t great.

A game in which Purdue looked immediately overmatched, Purdue fell down 14-0 nearly immediately, and fought to be down 21-3 at halftime. Wisconsin overpowered Purdue throughout the first half, and provided the Badgers the padding they needed before Purdue even woke up. The Boilers fought hard in the second half, and tried to come back, but it wasn’t enough, another Purdue disappointment against the Badgers.

Hudson Card struggled throwing the ball, going 21/38 for 202 yards and 2* interceptions. I put an asterisk there because the “interception” to end the first half was… quite questionable. He did, however, look good running the ball, gaining 54 yards on 13 attempts. Tyrone Tracey flexed his muscle, rushing for 84 yards on 8 carries and a TD.

Defensively, Kydran Jenkins and Sanoussi Kane led the way with 9 tackles. Marquis Wilson had 8, and Dylan Thieneman had 7. Bostros Alisandro had an interception which gave Purdue a bit of a spark when they needed it.

Break It Down:

Wisconsin is a better team than Purdue. Wisconsin is a better program than Purdue. That type of analysis is why ISC pays me the big-bucks to write these articles.

The real issue here, however, isn’t Wisconsin’s superior program, its that Purdue’s self inflicted damage was way difficult to overcome. Purdue had 7 penalties for 73 yards. It seemed that early in the game, every time Purdue had positive momentum, there would be a penalty called. Multiple holding calls stalled Boilermaker drives in the first half. With Wisconsin scoring regularly, Purdue needed points in a bad way but penalties stopped them.

Oh, also there were turnovers, multiple turnovers once again. I have already mentioned the 2* interceptions that Hudson Card had. Purdue also fumbled the ball 2 times, losing one of them. Well, sort of…

Hudson Card made a forward pass, which fell incomplete. Devin Mockobee picked the ball up and was not advancing the ball. No whistle. Mockobee was stripped, and Wisconsin fell on it. This was reviewed. This call stood. This was insanity.

This insanity is the world that Purdue must function in. Not only is Wisconsin a better team, and probably would have left victorious on Friday, but Purdue is also having to battle nonsense calls like this.

In the world that we live in, I feel that I must explicitly state these couple of sentences. Under no circumstances do I believe that the officiating was the reason that Purdue lost. Purdue lost to a better team.

What I am saying is, this incomplete/fumble abomination of a call took a possession away from the Boilermakers. Theoretic 7 points. At the end of the first half, the Wisconsin DB Ricardo Hallman literally tackled the Purdue WR Jayden-Dixon Veal in the end zone. The intentional “interfere with the receiver because its better than giving up a touchdown” type of play. In the act of interfering with the Boilermaker, the Wisconsin DB picked off the ball. No flags were thrown. End of half. More than just a “theoretic” 7 points there.

Of course Tim Brando thought it was a good call.

What I am trying to say is if Purdue wants to be competitive for the rest of the season, they’re going to have to be better than perfect. The officials threw away 14 ‘theoretic points’. Purdue lost by 21. Purdue shot themselves in the foot, stalling drives due to holding penalties behind the play. Promising drives ended because of penalties.

I said it last week, I will say it this week. Can you imagine how entertaining of a game this would have been without the Purdue mistakes?

What Went Well:

  • 194: Rushing yards should win you a lot of games, with 4 ball carriers over 20 yards, Purdue is becoming potentially deadly on the ground.
  • 10.5: Average yards per rush for Tyrone Tracey. He has looked great so far this year, and could very well be earning his position as RB1.
  • 100%: Julio Macias made all of his kicks. He made a 34 yard field goal, and made both of his PAT attempts. Good showing for the freshman.

Photo Gallery (Mark Elsner): https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2023/Wisconsin

Opportunities for Improvement:

  • 195: Rushing yards given up. That will lose you an awful lot of games. While a ton of rushing yards tends to be expected when Wisconsin rolls into town, Purdue needs to button this up and fast.
  • Tanner Mordecai: Looked like Garrett Schrader in the first half. His first touchdown was directly pulled from Syracuse’s playbook. Play fake. Bootleg. Walk towards the end zone because nobody is near you. Every single team will run the snot out of this play until Purdue begins to understand backside contain.
  • Friday Nights: Call me an old man, or a Karen, or whatever, I don’t care. Friday night games are awful if your team is playing. While I enjoyed a free Saturday, Friday night ain’t it. Purdue is already banged up, and they are losing a day of rest. This doesn’t affect Wisconsin nearly as much due to their depth. Likewise, despite being mostly full, there were some sparsely populated areas of Ross-Ade. It didn’t come off on TV, but looking online, there were some seats which were empty. Finally, what DID come across on TV was a bunch of red shirts all throughout the premium seats on the East stands. Wisconsin travels well, and many Purdue fans couldn’t make it on a Friday night.

One More Thing:

Purdue fans are a real trip right now. Frustrations are starting to boil over, pun intended. The concern is, the Purdue fans online are incredibly ignorant, and reactionary in their responses.

One of my coworkers is an Illinois fan. He went to the Purdue vs Syracuse game when he was gifted tickets from his coworker. He loved his experience, and loved the atmosphere/experience that Ross Ade gave him.

He laughed when I asked him how the game was. He said, “Some of your fans are like Notre Dame fans. Oblivious to reality.” He said that the way that the fans around him reacted to Purdue’s struggles were that of an impatient toddler. People who don’t understand that this is a new coach, with a new system, with new faces, and that this process will take a while.

There are folks on Purdue twitter who are so toxic that they are a detriment to Boilermaker fans. Yep, I went on a rant online calling them out, which hurt some feelings, but I think it needs to be put here in my column as well.

Purdue fans who are claiming that this Purdue team is a Hazell redux, or who are bashing specific players are toxic. There are people calling for boycotts. Fans calling for firings. People claiming that they’ll never go back into RA Stadium. Give coaches critiques that are appropriate, but if you bailing on this program like a bunch of rats swimming from a sinking ship then you’re not a fan.

I read your tweets and I laugh at you. I share your hot takes in text groups and we collectively roll our eyes at you. Purdue twitter is often a case study in the Dunning-Kruger effect, and Purdue loses a few games early and people are losing their minds. Logical Purdue fans can see through your nonsense as you being one of “those” fans. Most people in the Purdue sports universe understand that there are blowhards speckled amongst the the normal people, and that is natural. It is the Purduefan way, am I right?

You know who doesn’t quite understand the Purduefan way? Someone who isn’t a Purdue fan, but is looking at where they want to continue their football career. Recruits, their parents, their coaches… they all read your BS. If you’re the rat jumping out into the ocean because there was a wave or two, your message may deflect off of a normal Purdue fan, but it may poison a recruit. Why would someone want to play for a program that “@ Drunken Purdue Twitter User 123456” constantly trashes?

Folks, I completely understand being passionate about your sports team’s successes and failures. My wife won’t watch sports with me because of my visceral reactions. I get silly on social media myself, but I’ve said it many times in these articles… my social media is an act. It’s kayfabe. Its done for fun and gags, because sports aren’t this serious.

If you’re not here for fun, then it is my humble opinion that Purdue doesn’t need you. If you are here to toxify the program that you supposedly cheer for, I respectfully ask you to take a deep breath, step back, and touch some grass.

Life is too short to be assholes on the twitter machine. Just saying.

A Look Ahead:

Purdue looks to get back on the winning side of things, as they host Illinois for homecoming, despite having played 3 home games and not returning home from anything.

Illinois has struggled just as much as Purdue has this year, with one exception. Illinois has beaten their group of 5 opponents.

As of the writing of this article, Illinois stands at about a 1.5 point favorite. Also, the ESPN matchup predictor gives Illinois a 53% chance of victory on Saturday.

Hopefully the Boilers can get back into the win column. We’ll find out Saturday afternoon!

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 93 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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