Purdue opened up the season at Cincinnati and was promptly smacked around by the Bearcats, 42-7.
Nothing went right for the Boilermakers in Darrell Hazell’s debut as head coach. After a scoreless first quarter, the Boilermakers appeared to be evenly matched with Cincinnati, but that wasn’t the case.
The Bearcats proceeded to score two touchdowns per quarter from there on out, effectively routing Purdue and sending them home with much to consider.
Heading into the game, Cincinnati was a 10-point favorite, I would have (and did) say take to take Purdue to cover, assuming that this defense was fairly far along and that the offense could at least play clock management by running the ball effectively. Both were false statements.
Here’s what I took away from the game:
- Um…next question please? Ok, thats not really fair, but it was an awful game for Purdue. About the only thing that went right was Cincinnati muffing a punt and setting Purdue up in the red zone for a relatively easy touchdown. The play essentially netted Purdue 84 yards, and was the biggest offensive gain of the day for the Boilermakers. It was nearly the same amount of yards the offense had generated up until that point as well.
- Turnovers. The defense managed to force three turnovers. The aforementioned punt, that had more to do with the return man, and two interceptions. Under normal circumstances, three turnovers can win you a game, provided you turn them into points and don’t cough the ball up yourself. Still, the defensive line made two really athletic plays to tip a pass up and recover the ball.
- The secondary. Purdue’s corners and safeties had a solid outing. They gave up just 204 yards passing and only one touchdown. Sophomore Frankie Williams came away with an interceptions. The secondary was decent, but still gave up 65-percent of QB Munchie Legaux’ passes.
- Rob Henry. For a man who has playing and starting experience, Henry sure didn’t look like it. He completed just 51-percent of his passes for 161 yards and threw two interceptions. We said that if Purdue had to start passing, then it would be a long day and boy were we not kidding. Henry lacked posie in the pocket, despite having room to operate, and had no zip on the ball. If you had told me he missed a year with a throwing arm injury, I wouldn’t have been surprised.
- Run defense. Purdue was gashed for 221 yards on the ground. They also gave up four rushing touchdowns. For a Big Ten team to get beat up at the point of attack by a team like Cincinnati, from the AAC (what is the American Athletic Conference?), is embarrassing.
- Run offense. Purdue was unable to get the ground game going and rushed for just 65 yards. Hazell produced two 1,000 yard rushers last season at Kent State, but he had nothing going for the Boilermakers Saturday. Purdue opened up with some very creative run packages that Cincinnati wasn’t prepared for, but once they reached the red zone, the finesse rushing attack got bogged down. Eventually, Purdue had to abandon running the ball and pass to play catch up, but that was even more disastrous.
It was simply a poor effort by a Purdue team that is going to struggle all season long. Luckily, Purdue will face Indiana State next week and should be able to roll over the Sycamores, especially since ISU will be without its best player.
We’ll have a preview of Saturday’s game up later this week.
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