Thursday, September 19, 2013

Football Recap: Notre Dame 31 - Purdue 24 - Purdued Once Again

It's Thursday night and I'm finally writing the recap for Saturday's heart-wrenching loss.  Why, you ask?  A number or reasons, I suppose, but mainly because I just finally watched the full game on my DVR.  It's been a busy week.

A primetime Saturday night game against our most hated (football) opponent, and I didn't watch it live?  That's what happens when one of your good friends decides to get married on a game day.  And they're both Purdue alums, the nerve. (full disclosure, the groom gave us ample warning and more than made up for it because he's a class act)

I wish the wedding had been held here!
I was forced to follow the game on my phone from the dance floor.  It was exhilarating giving the DJ score updates so he could announce them to the crowd of revelers. There were lots of Purdue fans in attendance, but as it was a Catholic wedding in Indiana, there were plenty of ND fans, too.  Seeing their surprise made it even better.

As I listened to the radio broadcast on the way home, the game was still tight and ND was driving but the Boilers still had a 17-10 lead.  After unloading my sleeping kids (no easy feat), I turned on the game to see a  31-17 score.  What the heck?  I only missed about four minutes of regulation, and the last time I saw scoring that quickly, I was in a very different mood. ND finished their drive with a TD (no surprise), then after a lackluster Purdue possession, all it took was one pass for the Irish to take the lead.  A few plays later, a Rob Henry pick six put the nail in the coffin.

Like others, I felt as if my heart was ripped out during that fourth quarter.  I watched Purdue wilt, and even when the Boilers cut the deficit back to seven points, it still felt like the game was over.  But just seconds after scoring that touchdown on a beautiful, quick drive, Irish running back Amir Carlisle coughed up the ball and Purdue suddenly had a chance again.

And that's when I let myself get Purdued again.  Someone needs to add the word to Urban Dictionary.

To be Purdued - to enter a situation with realistic expectations, but to then be given a glimmer of hope which grows into confidence, only for it all to come crashing down in a wave of immense disappointment and failure
see also "Cubbed" or "Bartmaned" (at least I'm not as ill-fated in all my fandoms as Erik, poor guy)

After the fumble, I expected to see Purdue play with the same heart and energy that I enjoyed watching so much in the first half (OK, at the time, I was assuming that's what happened, since I hadn't watched it yet).  Instead we got to enjoy
  1. a high snap that caused a broken play and loss of yardage
  2. a ball thrown away because no receivers got open
  3. an incomplete pass into double coverage on a play where the Irish only rushed three guys and still made Henry run around for his life
  4. an uncharacteristically mediocre punt by our MVP
Did the Boilers play better than I ever expected?  Sure.  Did they simply run out of steam?  Probably.  Did they play that fourth quarter like a dog with his tail tucked between his legs.  Definitely.  That's what made it so hard to watch.

Even with a loss, there were lots of positives from this game - lots of things that could lead to growth and increased confidence for this team:
  • The offensive line was better with the freshmen getting playing time
  • Hunt had some really explosive plays in the first half
  • Henry looked a lot more confident (although he's never going to be a good passer)
  • The defense was stout in the first half, stopping ND on a fourth down opportunity, and the cornerback play that half was excellent
  • Griggs redeemed himself after a horrible missed field goal
  • The team and coaching staff worked hard, and it showed
  • There was some legitimately satisfying play calling
But the attitude and composure in the fourth quarter showed that we're still at least a year away from a team with the same heart and drive we expected Coach Hazell to instill.  Prove me wrong at Wiscy boys.

Even though this is a recap and not a game preview I still have...

Three Final Things
  1. Watching the post-game interview with Tommy Rees was sickening, just like last year.  Let's remember what a class act this guy is.
  2. Don't get drunk and hit a cop, kids!
  3. My betting futility continues, but seriously readers, take Erik's picks to the bank.  Who else was predicting such an accurate narrow Purdue loss?  He's got the margin exactly right two weeks in a row, and he's perfect against the spread.
  4. Congratulations Andrew and Melanie!  

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