football

Record loss for Purdue in Ross-Ade

IfPurdue's41-10losstoaconferenceopponentontheroadlastweekwasa"stepback,"what'sthis?
Committingfiveturnovers,includinghavingoneinterceptionreturnedforatouchdown?
Managingonly24pointsagainstadefenseallowingmorethanthatpergamethisseason?
Watchingaquarterback-aHeismancandidate,tobesurebutoneknownmoreforhisrushingthanpassing-connecton73percentofpasses?
AllowingaMid-AmericanConferenceschooltopost55points,themosteveragainstPurdueinRoss-AdeStadium?
ThiscouldbethebottomfortheBoilermakers.
NorthernIllinoisdominated-itpushedtoa20-pointleadasearlyasthesecondquarter-andcruisedtoa55-24victory.ThattiesforthelargestmargineverinaBigTen-MACmatchup.
"Thisisagreattimeforabyeweekforourfootballteam,"first-yearcoachDarrellHazellsaid."WeneedtotakealookfromAtoZateverythingwe'redoing.Allthepersonnelwe'reusingrightnowandweneedtomakesomeimprovements.Weneedtogethealthyandcomeback.Ithinkthebigthingforourfootballteamrightnow,aboveallelse,istostayclosebecausewe'regoingtohearitfrompeopleoutsideandrightfullyso,butit'sveryimportantforourfootballteamtostaygluedtogether."
Purdue(1-4)didn'tstartthatbadlyagainsttheHuskies,holdingNIU(4-0)toafieldgoalonitsfirstdriveandthenansweringwitha75-yardtouchdowndrivefora7-3lead.
Butthatquicklywaserased-andtherewasnocomingback.
NotwithaJordanLynch-ledoffense.
NIUneededonlytwominutestocompletefivepassesthatcovered63yards,endinginatouchdownonitsnextseriesafterPurduetookthelead.
ThenRobHenrylostafumble,allowingtheHuskiestogodownandtackanotherfieldgoalontomakeit13-7.
ThenextPurduedrivewentthree-and-out,andNIUneededonly2:06toputanotherTDontheboard.
Henrythrewaninterceptionafterthat,andtheHuskiesneededonlyfourplaystogetatouchdowntogoup27-7.
Hazelltriedtoprovideaspark,yankingfifth-yearseniorHenryforfreshmanDannyEtling,despitehavingonly35secondsleftinthehalfandonetimeout.
EtlingcompletedtwopassesandPaulGriggsdrilleda47-yardfieldgoalthatgavePurduesomehope.
A99-yardkickoffreturnforatouchdowntostartthesecondhalfwipedthatout.
"Thatwasabigplay,"Hazellsaid."Ithoughtourguysinthelockerroomfeltliketheyhadachancetobesuccessful.Ifyougetthemstoppedonthatfirstdrivethenyou'rebackintotheballgame,andIreallyfeltlikeourguysfeltliketheycouldcomeoutandhavesomesuccess.Tohavethatkickoffcomebackonyou,thathurtusalot."
Itwasn'ttheonlything.
Purdue'sdefenderssimplycouldnotslowNIU'soffense.
Ittriedtostayinitsbase4-3defenseandcoverreceiverswithlinebackers,andcatchesweremadeatahighrate.
Ittriedtobringinanextradefensiveback,andcatchesweremadeatahighrate.
IttriedtopacktheboxtobottleupLynchandtherunningbacks,andNIUaveraged4.9yardspercarry.
PurduefiguredLynchwouldbetheguytostoprunningtheball-he'dcarried22,23and23times,afterall,inthefirstthreegamesthisseason.
Instead,Lynchcameoutthrowing,anddissectedthedefensewithhisarm.Hecompleted14ofhisfirst15passes.
RicardoAllenandBruceGastondidn'tseemtohaveanyanswersafterward.Allentalkedabouthowthedefenseneedstoplayharder,andGastonmentioneditneededto"execute"better.
That'llneedtocomeoverthenextweek,allowingPurduetostewoveritsbreak.
"We'regoingtoevaluateourselves,"Allensaid."Rightnow,we'relookingintothemirrorandfindingoutwhatwecandobetterasplayers.Usasplayers,wehavetoplaybetter.We'regoingtoevaluateourselvesandseewhatwecandotomakeourselvesbetterandgetourselvestoachancetowin."
Theoffensecertainlywon'tbeexemptfromthatscrutiny.
ThoughHazellwouldn'tsayafterthegamewhethertheswitchtoEtlingwaspermanent,theoffensestillappearstohavemoreproblemsthanitsquarterbackplay.
NextweekwillbeabusyoneforPurdue.
"Yougiveupthatmanypointsandyouturnitoverthatmanytimes,youdon'tscoreenoughpoints,everythingisaconcernrightnow,"Hazellsaid.
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