Heading into last week’s matchup against the Southern Illinois Salukis, the Purdue Boilermakers were coming off back-to-back losses in games that they should have been more competitive in. Against the Salukis, the Boilermakers showed everyone they had talent to win a football game and to come back strong after tough losses. But that football team was nowhere to be found in the last three quarters of today’s game against the Iowa Hawkeyes.
After the 38-17 beatdown that Central Michigan gave to Purdue in Week 2, everyone knew this was going to be another rough season. Then they showed some life against Notre Dame, only losing pace with the Irish in the fourth quarter when quarterback Danny Etling threw two untimely interceptions. And then we were shown hope when they dismantled Southern Illinois 35-13. But the Boilermakers are exactly the team that we saw in Week 2; young, prone to mistakes, uncomfortable on the field and not getting much help from the coaching staff.
The Hawkeyes took our rose-colored glasses and smashed them in front of us. Despite being down 10-0 early into the second quarter, Iowa settled down and made play after play after play, eventually scoring 24 unanswered points against a worn down Purdue defense.
In the first quarter the Purdue defense put a stop to everything the Hawkeyes had in their offensive arsenal. Iowa had five drives in the quarter, went three-and-out on four of them and quarterback C.J. Beathard threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown by Frankie Williams on the other drive. The defense did their part, but the Purdue offense showed little signs of life; not just in the first quarter, but the entire game.
Etling’s performance can’t be classified as bad, because that would insinuate he actually did something productive, which is sad to say given how well he played last week. He finished the game 11-of-26 for 61 yards, an interception and was sacked four times. While you can blame the offensive line for their lack of protection, most of the blame falls on Etling and his lack of decisiveness.
Sep 27, 2014; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Purdue Boilermakers running back Akeem Hunt (1) carries the ball as Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Jordan Lomax (27) tackles during the first quarter at Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
Purdue’s running game was pretty solid and the one bright point of the afternoon. Akeem Hunt led the way with 90 yards on 14 carries and Keyante Green finished with 20 yards on eight carries. Raheem Mostert was replaced as the starter by Hunt after recording his second fumble of the season last week, but it appears Darrell Hazell decided to send him an even bigger message by placing him third on the depth chart and not giving him a single carrie against Iowa.
Because Purdue’s offense was stagnant most of the day, their defensive was left on the field for 34 minutes. Despite their big first quarter, the defense tired and started missing tackles left and right. The Hawkeyes scored 10 points in the second quarter, seven in the third and seven in the fourth, All coming after stopping five straight Iowa drives while the offense managed to score three points.
This Boilermaker squad has a lot of growing left to do. They are young and the mistakes are going to continue, but the team that we saw in Week 2 is the real 2014 Boilermakers team, not the one we saw in Weeks 3 and 4. As Dennis Green once famously said, “They are what we thought they were.”