Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Purdue - Minnesota Recap: Make the Hurting Stop!

The harder the loss, the longer I seem to wait to write the recap.  There's just nothing fun about the entire sport of football after watching the Boilers suck so badly, whether it's losing in a blowout or in a nail-biter.  I'm that type of fan that literally doesn't want to watch any other football games, SportsCenter recaps, or anything related to competitive athletics when my team loses in a bad way.

So forgive me for a short recap.  I'm simply fed up with this team's performance, and we all know the main problem: the coaching staff, a group of dead men walking.  As a fan, I see no way Burke can keep Hope after this season, even if the head coach throws Nord under the bus.  The offensive woes are the fault of both men, so I see them as a package deal, and the overall mentality of this team needs a drastic change.

With the announcement that Robert Marve would be the starter this weekend against Penn State, the fan base got a small win, something to at least celebrate amid this disaster of a season.  The fans were pulling for Marve since he stepped in when TerBush was suspended in Week 1, and we acknowledge his leadership and the desire to see him get a full chance at the starting job.

Now it's not just exciting to root for Purdue to try win their final four games to make a bowl game (that hopefully isn't in Detroit), but we get to root for Robert Marve to lead this team out of the ashes.  Let's be very clear, if Marve plays well, it's another nail in Hope's coffin.  Rational people understand this, but you know that if Marve turns the team around, Hope will continue to spin it as "trusting Nord and his decision to start TerBush" too long, but that should grant Hope NO solace.  If Marve is ineffective and the Boilers lose more than one more game, Hope needs to be gone.  If Marve is good/great and the Boilers make a bowl game and possibly even upset Penn State (ha, right!), Hope needs to be gone for ruining this season where Purdue had its greatest recent potential.  The man either failed at leading and making the correct decisions and preparing his team, or he failed by giving too much autonomy to his assistants and coordinators.  Either way, that shows that Hope simply can't cut it as a head coach (and this coming from a guy who's met Danny Hope, likes him as a person, and really wanted him to succeed).

OK, my rant is over, my venom spewed; on to the brief* recap.

Overview (and The Offense):

Purdue lost to Minnesota 44-28.  After holding Minnesota to a three-and-out on its first possession, the Boilers scored on their first drive of the game thanks mainly to a 40-yard run by Akeem Shavers. That was the fourth time in the last five games where Purdue scored a touchdown on its first possession. That is a truly great stat, which would be wonderful if after those scores the offense didn't take a nap the rest of the game. The Boilers got only three more first downs the rest of the half, and were trailing 34-7 thanks to a defense that made a freshman quarterback look like Peyton Manning.

After halftime, Purdue came out clearly fired up for the big comeback, since their first series led to points!  Awesome! Unfortunately, those were points for the Gophers, as TerBush threw a pick-six.  And this wasn't just any interception.  Let me break the series down:

  • Play 1: TerBush pass knocked down behind the line of scrimmage by a Gopher lineman
  • Play 2: TerBush passes short right to Bush, but it's broken up by Michael Carter and very nearly intercepted
  • Play 3: TerBush can't find an open man downfield, so he runs for it, gaining eleven yards on third down
  • Play 4: TerBush throws deep to Bush but it's horribly underthrown and broken up by Michael Carter, again very nearly intercepted
  • Play 5: TerBush throws to the right side again to Bush, about 14 yards, and, I hate to repeat myself, but it was swatted away by Michael Carter
  • Play 6: TerBush throws....I bet you can't guess where and to whom....c'mon, guess!....yep, to Bush on the right side, and the pass isn't just broken up by Carter but returned 44 yards for a touchdown.

The announcers called this "the greatest bit of defensive work you're ever gonna see," and I'll probably agree - that was mighty impressive by Carter.  Being a cornerback is a difficult job, and he made some perfect plays on that series.

However, it is inconceivable that TerBush let Carter have those opportunities.  Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.  Caleb TerBush is insane.

Combine that series with TerBush's stats on the day: 5/18, 49 yards, and -6 yards rushing (take into account he gained 11 yards mentioned above, so that's four bad sacks), and you get one of the worst performances I can remember for a Purdue quarterback.  Also, the one touchdown TerBush threw (on the first series of the game, mentioned above), was a one-yard pass to Cottom.  The pass was thrown on third down into some really tight man coverage, and it could have easily been broken up.  TerBush should have easily noticed that Antavian Edison was standing uncovered at the line of scrimmage, as Erik already pointed out, and while winning the "My Sister Could Have Executed That Play Better" award this week, it just showed how off he was the entire game.

And when your starting quarterback is that badly off, there are two things you can do:
1. Run the ball a heck of a lot
2. Put in a backup quarterback.  Man, I sure wish Purdue had a capable backup, since that could have made all the difference in the game.  Oh well, maybe Danny Hope can recruit more quarterbacks next time (at a different school).  Oh, what?  You mean we have not one, but two other quarterbacks with starting experience?  Good thing the coaches realized this halfway through the third quarter, with the Boilers already trailing by 37 points.

Robert Marve cam into the game an promptly led Purdue on two consecutive touchdown drives. A big part of that wasn't just Marve's arm, but stout rushing by Akeem Hunt (drive one) and Ralph Bolden (drive two). Really nice of the coaches to figure out how to solve their problems when the game was already lost.  When coaching for your job, how on earth do you keep throwing the same mud at the wall, hoping for it to stick.


The Defense:

Much like previous weeks, the defense looked worse than a MAC team.  Here's the stat line:
  • 458 total yards to a team on a three-game losing streak
  • 37 points to a team that hadn't scored more than 13 points in conference play (TerBush gave up the other seven)
  • No turnovers forced
Just horrible.  Also, here's a little breakdown of how the defense performed against true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson in the first half, while giving up 34 points:
  • Series 1: completion, incompletion [punt]
  • Series 2: completion, completion, completion, completion for a touchdown
  • Series 3: completion, completion, completion [rushing touchdown]
  • Series 4: completion, completion for a touchdown
  • Series 5: completion for a touchdown
  • Series 6: completion, completion, incompletion [field goal]
  • Series 7: completion, 25-yard QB rush, completion [field goal, only because time was expiring in the half]
The secondary was horrible, the pass rush was lame, and the run stopping was abysmal.

Feel free to vomit for the fourth consecutive week.

Last week's slogan: "Playing Purdue: good for what ails you!"
This week's slogan: "The Purdue defense: making every quarterback a Heisman candidate"

Special Teams:

I guess a week without a blocked extra point is a good week.

There were actually some good coaching decisions, and as usual, the offense was scripted well for the first drive of the game.  However, they poor decisions and poor preparation by the Purdue coaching staff was staggering, and we can't wait for Danny Hope's and his assitants' tenure to come to an end.

Picks of the Week Update:

Boohoo, I lost yet again for putting faith in Purdue.  Mark it, this is the last time I'm picking Purdue against the spread all season (yes, even against the horrible Illini - we may be even worse).  I now owe my bookie $19.50 or he'll slash my ACL.  Erik's up $37 on the season because he majored in sports gambling.

In Conclusion:

Despite our angst, we need to continue supporting these players in their bid for a bowl game.  Here's hoping Robert Marve and his torn ligaments find redemption in more ways than one, and that the defense can regain their early-season swagger.  We'll never quit rooting for our Boilers, but we will continue to call for a regime change as soon as the last snap of the season.

*Writing this made me so angry it's no longer brief, enjoy!

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