Purdue Squanders Upset Over Northwestern


Once again, the Purdue Boilermakers found a way to squander away a possible victory, this time against No. 18 Northwestern Wildcats.

If making the College Football Playoffs was based on moral victories, then the Purdue Boilermakers (2-8, 1-5 Big Ten) would easily be ranked No. 1 in the nation. They earned another moral victory this week against the No. 18 Northwestern Wildcats (8-2, 4-2 Big Ten), with their 21-14 loss. Unfortunately you need wins to qualify for the playoffs and winning is something the Boilermakers fail at, week in and week out.

Coming into this game, you knew the Boilermakers had a chance to pull off an upset because Northwestern has not put together a complete performance since their Week 5 win over Minnesota. Purdue did have a chance to take the lead in the third quarter, but Paul Griggs missed a 43-yard field goal. After that, they had four straight three-and-outs, despite the Boiler defense getting back-to-back interceptions and punted away their final chance to tie the game.

Not everything Purdue did was horrible, so let’s talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of this game.

The Good

Freshman running back Markell Jones continued to show why he’s earned the starting spot and will be a force to reckon with over the next three years. Offensive coordinator John Shoop decided to let quarterback David Blough throw 45 times – simply unnecessary in a close game – which resulted in Jones only running the ball 13 times. Jones finished with 53 rushing yards, 68 receiving yards, and a touchdown.

Jones also had this amazing run:

While Jones was responsible for 121 total yards – out of the 360 total offensive yards Purdue had – wide receiver Domonique Young did his best to help Blough by catching five passes for 107 yards and a touchdown.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Boilermakers did a pretty good job holding Northwestern’s offense to only 21 points and getting their offense back on the field by forcing three turnovers. Brandon Roberts and Frankie Williams both intercepted passes in the third quarter, but the offense failed to capitalize on the turnovers going three-and-out on each drive afterward.

The Bad

250 rushing yards on 48 attempts; that’s what the Wildcats were able to do to the Boilermakers defense. While not completely surprising – the Boilers gave up 382 rushing yards to Illinois last week – it would have been nice to see the defense gameplan for Northwestern’s rushing attack. That’s Northwestern’s offensive gameplan every week. How do you not plan for that?

More from Purdue

The Wildcats at least appeared to come with a game plan: make Blough beat them. They stopped the running game before it could ever get going – 2.4 yards per rush on 30 rushing attempts – and made Blough throw 45 passes. Blough went 26-of-45 for 287 yards, one touchdown, and an interception while finishing with a 38.5 Quarterback rating. Another bad game for Blough.

The Ugly

OC Shoop calling for the punt team on fourth-and-eight from the Purdue 27 with a little under four minutes to play was atrocious. This was simply idiotic, but sadly commonplace for Shoop. At this point in the season you have nothing to lose, so going for it on fourth down couldn’t have hurt you any worse than the 24-yard punt did. The Wildcats were able to run the clock out on their following drive, ending any potential hopes that Purdue had.

Once again Purdue found a way to lose, despite having every opportunity to put away an opponent early on. All three forced turnovers led to a total of 12 plays and zero points, the offense could barely get a first down, and the Boilermakers were out coached, again. Luckily for fans there are only two football games left in the season and Boiler basketball started this weekend.

Next: Quick Hits: Hoosiers have few negatives from season opener

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