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Ten things you need to know about Purdue's 34-13 loss to TCU

MORE: 3-2-1: Purdue's loss to TCU | Blog: A letdown under the lights | Final thoughts | Gold & Black Radio Express: Purdue-TCU | Jack Plummer on his debut

PDF: Purdue-TCU statistics

Here are 10 things you need to know after Purdue’s 34-13 loss to TCU.

1. To say Purdue’s offense struggled would be a colossal understatement. In the first quarter, the attack had no first downs and no yards on five drives and trailed 10-3. And, it never got better after that. Purdue finished with 204 yards. And only 23 of those came on the ground. Three games into the season, and Purdue has rushed 72 times for 150 yards (2.1 ypc) and one TD. Is this as good as it’s going to get on the ground?

“On offense, we have to be able to run block and execute better,” said Jeff Brohm. “And special teams. It just kind of a complete lackluster day. Excuse me that’s even too polite. It was a dismal day for all of us. And it’s something that should hurt us. And it will see what we are made of. We have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of good football teams to play the rest of the year.”

2. One of the few bright spots: K J.D. Dellinger nailed a 53-yard field goal at the 12:35 mark of the second quarter to cut TCU’s lead to 10-6. The kick bailed out a listless offense that had 43 yards to that point with minus 18 yards rushing. The junior could be a real weapon this season.

3. Purdue showed little offensive creativity. Maybe that was a function of Jack Plummer’s inexperience and the spotty play by the offensive line. Still, it was a bit surprising to see the Boilermakers rush the ball as much as they did, carrying 25 times and gaining a paltry 23 yards. But Jeff Brohm didn’t think he held back on the play-calling because of Plummer’s inexpereince.

“I don’t know if that really was the case,” said Brohm. “I think, obviously, I did a bad job and we didn’t execute plays well. On the first drive, we had two drops on the first series where we (could have taken) it in for a score and set the tone. So, that was disappointing. I knew going in they would be good on defense. They have shown it throughout the years.”

4. If you thought Purdue would miss Elijah Sindelar, you were correct. This offense missed the fifth-year senior … terribly. He entered the game leading the nation in attempts (104), completions (68), yards (932) and TD tosses (9). But, Sindelar suffered a concussion the last play of the Vanderbilt game and was held out.

“Elijah didn’t pass protocol,” said Jeff Brohm. “I think he came out and practiced Wednesday, maybe. Thursday, wasn’t feeling good. So, we allowed it some more time. We want to do what’s best for Elijah, so whenever he gets healthy, we will play him.”

Could he be back for the next game, Sept. 28 at home vs. Minnesota?

“You would hope so, but I don’t know,” said Brohm. “That stuff is out of my hand. I would think he would be. I’m hopeful that he would. Hopefully, he will be OK for the Minnesota game.”

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5. Jack Plummer had less-than-ideal circumstances to make his debut. Having to take the lid off of his Purdue career vs. a fast, rugged and talented TCU defense was probably asking too much. Let’s call it a “baptism by fire.” Perfect. He hit 13-of-29 passes for 181 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions vs. TCU and Gary Patterson, who enhanced his reputation as a defensive guru with this stifling performance.

"I thought I prepared well," said Plummer. "I watched a whole bunch of film for this. So, I guess when the lights come on, you have to preform. There is no excuse for it, really. I got the first one out of the way. Hopefully, next time it will go better"

Plummer said he found out he would be starting on Friday.

6. Looking for a bright spot? Look no further than defensive end George Karlaftis. The true freshman from West Lafayette High continues to live up the hype, fueling his resume with two TFLs, a sack and his first career interception on an otherwise dreary night for the Boilermakers. He just makes plays.

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7. No doubt, the defense missed LB Markus Bailey, who suffered a season-ending knee injury this week. This defense must get better vs. the run, as TCU gashed it for 339 yards rushing. This opponent was as close a representation of the Big Ten teams that Purdue will see. And, it didn’t hold up vs. a one-dimensional Horned Frogs attack that passed for just 75 yards.

"I think we need to work on tackling," said linebacker Ben Holt. "A bunch of us had missed tackles here and there. I think that will be a big emphasis for us (in the off week). And running to the ball and getting in better shape. And we all have to know our assignments going forward. We can’t stay in this TCU game. We have to move on."

8. Purdue’s off week is coming at a good time. This team needs a break. It has been dealt myriad bad news this season from an injury standpoint, with LB Markus Bailey (knee) going down for the year. The defense has been dealing without T Lorenzo Neal all season. The offense misses RB Tario Fuller (jaw). And not having QB Elijah Sindelar (concussion) tonight was huge. The staff needs to reassess plans, and the team needs to hit reset. When it comes back from its off week, Purdue will welcome 3-0 Minnesota on September 28 for its Big Ten opener. Let’s go ahead and call it a “huge” game. Purdue is 1-2 after starting 0-3 last year.

9. It won’t get any easier from here. TCU was like a Big Ten team. Now, 1-2 Purdue has nine league games left.

“We will see what we’re made of,” said Jeff Brohm. “The last six games, we have had losses that haven’t been good. We have to go back and try to figure it out. It doesn’t matter who we have in there, who we are missing and who we are not, we have to play better. It starts with me. So, we have a lot of work to do.”

10. Rondale Moore was a non-factor. This arguably was the most ineffective he has been in his career. The sophomore typically is unstoppable, a wondrous playmaker. But he caught just three passes for 25 yards and ran once for no yards. What happened?

“They did a good job of sitting on our routes and making us throw to someone other than Rondale,” said Jeff Brohm. “Our tight end (Brycen Hopkins) did some good things for us. And our running game once again — which has got to get fixed. We have to figure out a way to get some creative runs to get us going. It was a tough matchup. And we played poorly. And all the blame goes on me and us.”

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