Tell me if you’ve heard this one before: Wisconsin lines up to run the ball…and touchdown. If you’ve seen that before then you saw Saturday’s game.
Purdue (1-3, 0-1) struggled to defend anything the Badgers threw at them. Its the same story every time. Line up to defend the run, get run over, Wisconsin scores again.
The Boilers attempted to make it a game and answered the Badgers 14 points with 10 of their own, but from there Wisconsin went on to score 27 unanswered points to seal victory. Had Bret Bielema still been Wisconsin’s coach, the Badgers would have likely had 60+.
Here are our thoughts:
- Back to Earth. After an outstanding game against Notre Dame (by the standards we are judging the Boilermakers this season), Purdue’s offense came screaming down from the heavens to crash in Madison. Nothing worked on offense for the Boilermakers. They converted just 2-of-14 third down attempts. They averaged just 3.8 yards per pass attempt and 2.1 yards per rush. Wisconsin does have a very good defense, better than Notre Dame, but Purdue was completely unable to accomplish anything remotely consistent.
- Rob Henry Failed Hard. Much of the offensive woes were on Henry’s shoulders. Purdue couldn’t run the ball and were forced to throw, not the Boilers forte. Couple that with the fact that the offensive line’s protection was poor and Henry was sacked four times and hit seven more. To recap: no run game, no protection, lots of long yardage downs. None of those things add up to a good day for someone like Henry.
- Akeem Hunt Needs Help. At this pace, Hunt is going to be a hollow shell of a man by mid-October. He had nine carries, five receptions, and returned six kickoffs. Not to mention he dropped two passes. Hunt accounted for 28-percent of the offense Saturday. That hasn’t been uncommon for him this season either. Hunt is clearly a work horse, but its going to get him hurt or so run down he’s ineffective. Purdue has to find other options (especially at receiver) to have anything resembling consistent success on offense. Right now, opposing defenses can just take away Hunt and Purdue grinds to a halt. More options will open up the offense and allow Hunt, and Henry, to have greater success.
- Defense? Defense? Purdue gave up 546 yards of offense to Wisconsin, 388 of which were on the ground. In fairness, Wisconsin does this to pretty much everyone. They let you know they’re going to run and then they run. Rarely can a team stop them. Sometimes you wonder why they even bother to pass the ball. It wasn’t just that Purdue struggle, but they were grasping at air and whiffing on tackles like a freshman high school team. Players were out of position and their effort was lacking.
- Gameplan? Darrell Hazell and his staff had a great plan against the Irish a week ago. So did they take the week off to celebrate almost beating a ranked team? There was nothing resembling a game plan on Saturday. Whatever they were trying to do on offense could have been thrown out after the first quarter. Defensively, maybe try to stop the run? Crowd the box? Hazell had to know that Wisconsin would run the ball and didn’t plan much to stop it. It was just like every other meeting between these two teams over the past 10 years.
This has already been a long season for the Boilermakers, and its not going to get any easier. Thankfully, Purdue doesn’t have another conference game and instead gets to face Northern Illinois.
NIU is currently undefeated and played in the Orange Bowl (a BCS bowl) to cap last season. So, no, the schedule does not provide any favors for the Boilermakers.
We’ll have more on their upcoming game later in the week.
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