Starting the season 1-2 is not what many had hoped for, but at the same time it’s not surprising. The 2014-2015 Purdue Boilermakers football team is still very young and learning along with second year head coach Darrell Hazell. But at some point this team has to grow into a competitor like their rival Indiana University has and their latest loss to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish could be the momentum builder they needed.
It’s odd to say a team builds momentum from a loss, but in sports the better teams prevails most of the time. In this situation, the Irish were leagues above the Boilermakers, but for one half they were pretty even. The momentum built from the first half of play will need to carry over into their game this week against the 3-0 FCS Southern Illinois Salukis.
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Against the Irish, Purdue quarterback Danny Etling looked more comfortable than he had in either of his previous two outings against lesser competition. He started the game 9-for-9 with a touchdown pass in the first quarter and followed that up with a 19-yard TD pass to DeAngelo Yancey in the second quarter to give the Boilers a 14-10 lead.
Everything fell apart for Etling and the Boilers in the second half, but they still only allowed the Irish to score 30 total points. They played the Irish better than the Michigan Wolverines did the previous week – Michigan lost 31-0. That’s all the momentum fodder you need right there.
Now the big question: Can the Boilermakers carry the momentum back home against the Salukis? While the Salukis are a FCS team, that doesn’t mean they are going to simply let Purdue walk all over them, although Purdue should have the better talent to do so. But if Etling and company get off to a slow start, like they did against Western Michigan or Central Michigan, then they will struggle to get ahead and/or keep a lead.
Losing to Central Michigan by 21 is one thing, but losing to a FCS school should have heads rolling and fans questioning everything about this program.