Rants, ravings, and somewhat sensical opinions following the wild, wacky, and wide-wide world of Purdue sports.
Homecoming weekend is always a fun time. Pleasant, crisp temperatures joined the slightly turning leaves of trees around campus. Alumni flocked to God’s country to experience yet another celebration of the Purdue football team. A perfect evening, filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of tailgates led to quite the imperfect game of football.
Joined by my wife, daughter and son, we enjoyed the pregame atmosphere, expecting what should have been a stress free, relaxing, Boilermaker cruise to victory. What happened over the next few hours was a dichotomy shift where my wife and daughter continued to enjoy the atmosphere. Clapping and laughing. Dancing to the lively music in the stadium.
My son and I… well, we were left gripping fistfuls of our own hair, trying not to spontaneously combust from mounting Purdue football frustration.
A story as old as time, really. Yin and Yang.
The Game: FAU 26, Purdue 28
Aidan O’Connell’s game time decision led to the signal caller needing the game off, paving the way for an Austin Burton start.
Burton played well, completing 21/29 (72%) but for only 166 yards. Of those 21 completions, 3 were for touchdowns. One of those 8 incompletions, was an untimely interception. Leading the way, offensively, for the Boilers was the running game. Boilermakers rushed for 188 yards behind 113 from Dylan Downing, who also added a touchdown.
The defense, however, did not carry their weight this game. What has been a fairly respectable, albeit heavily penalized, defensive unit, sleep walked through the game, allowing the heavily overmatched FAU owls to have 5 scoring drives. In fact, the Owls had the ball with an opportunity to drive for a game-winning field goal in the waning minutes.
The game was sealed by Sinoussi Kane recovering a fumble on the
probable potential game winning drive. Chris Jefferson had a 55 yard interception that electrified the Ross Ade crowd.
As a whole, the Purdue defense gave up 419 total yards, did not tally a sack, only had 2 tackles for loss, and was a failed two point try away from a tied game. Reminder: this is against a Group of 5 team, at home. On Homecoming.
Break It Down:
A particularly stressful game which did not need to be this way. It seemed like Purdue was overlooking FAU, which is very dangerous.
There are people out there that believe that “a win is a win” and they’re right. There are people out there that believe that Purdue, a team that many believed could win 10 games this season, didn’t win “good” enough. They’re right too.
Purdue needs to figure out these little mistakes, and they need to get some more “want-to” (pronounced: yahn-t too), turn on the “give a crap” and just get it done.
What Went Well:
- Dylan Downing: Going over 100 yards rushing is a rarity in the pass heavy attack for Purdue. He showed quickness and the ability to find the crease.
- Charlie Jones: He did have a lost fumble this game, but made up for it with 9 receptions for 59 yards and 2 TDs. Likewise, the reigning Big Ten Returner of the year averaged 16 yards on his 3 punt returns, including a field flipping 40 yard return. Kick returning is an area in which Purdue has struggled under Brohm, even with the likes of Rondale Moore. There are people on twitter who think that Jones shouldn’t be returning kicks. I say, let the reigning Big Ten Returner of the Year do what he does. Or, you know, get more opportunities for him to have the ball in his hands. Electrifying performance by Jones.
- Jack Ansell: The Australian punter averaged 55 yards per punt on Saturday, including a 67 yarder. Special Teams can be a real game changer, and Ansell was a big part of that on Saturday.
Opportunities for Improvement:
- Mitchell Fineran: This young man had some heroic moments last season, but it appears that he is struggling at the moment. Fineran missed a 47 yard kick that broke twice before falling no good. Much of kicking is mental. We know he can do it, but this is now two weeks in a row with missed kicks that were very important. Hopefully he finds his footing again.
- Go For It?: Going for it in the first half against FAU, failing, and potentially going down two scores because of it is peak painful. Purdue should be able to force their will against an inferior opponent, but didn’t. This is TWO weeks in a row where a poor football philosophy, combined with poor execution led to a terrible outcome on 4th down.
- Enough is Enough: Purdue was penalized for a late hit once again. This time it was after stopping FAU late in the game on 3rd down. The automatic first down extended the drive and led to an Owl’s touchdown. I understand that this may have been on the weaker side of a personal foul call, and was pretty much borderline. Here is the thing, Purdue, the officials have their eyes peeled on your defense right now. You are being hyper-scrutinized. Anything borderline is going to be called, and you need to have the awareness to adjust. This needs to be figured out, because if it wasn’t for a late game turnover, this would have been the play that caused an upset.
A Look Ahead:
Purdue looks to shake off whatever funk is affecting them as they travel to #21 Minnesota for a nooner on Saturday. As we know, the Golden Gophers have been a thorn in Purdue’s side the past few years. Whether or not those games ended under controversial decisions do not matter, they’re still losses for our Boilermakers.
Who knows what will happen? Every team has bad days and good days. Maybe Purdue can get an upset on the road.
As of the writing of this article, Purdue is coming in at 10 point dogs. Lets see how that turns out!
Photo Gallery: https://snapsbyme.smugmug.com/PurdueFootball/2022/FAU/
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