The 3-2-1: Purdue's loss to TCU
Yes, the deck was stacked against Purdue vs. TCU, as it played without QB Elijah Sindelar and in its first game without key linebacker Markus Bailey, among other losses.
But nevertheless, the Boilermakers' 34-13 loss to the Horned Frogs was profoundly disappointing in its overall one-sidedness, an inability for Purdue to do much of anything offensively, and an inability to stop the run defensively, where personnel losses were felt bluntly.
Instant analysis from the game ...
• Circumstance played a role here, no question, but what's troubling here moving forward is that this was a traditional Big Ten sort of game and in such games, the line of scrimmage really matters, and that's where Purdue lost decidedly on both sides of the ball.
Purdue cannot line up and run the ball traditionally and couldn't do much against it either vs. TCU, which did the Boilermakers favors by throwing it.
TCU amassed nearly 350 rushing yards, and that number was capped by the many short fields it enjoyed as Purdue's offense couldn't generate first downs before halftime, and most of the game for that matter. TCU's first three scoring drives spanned 34, 23 and 29 yards.
• Purdue's imbalance offensively loomed large in this game, amplified by circumstance. Had Purdue had Elijah Sindelar and been more likely to wing it 70 times with some effectiveness, its inability to run the football might not have mattered all that much, but in this game, with the pressure on an untested QB, it really mattered situationally.
Early, Purdue's babysteps on offense were canceled out by third-and-short failures, and later, an inability to run it on third-and-one for a yard deep in its own end set up TCU's last field goal.
Purdue, with a short-handed O-line, too, isn't likely to be able to simply line up and run it on many people. It was a bit of a suprise how much it tried.
• As badly as the offense sputtered in the first half, it did show some modest signs of life early on, but got kneecapped by a pair of plays, first a third-down red zone drop by Rondale Moore after George Karlaftis' interception, denying Purdue first-and-goal and forcing it to settle for three. Next, TCU DB Trevon Moehring wrestled a contested completion away from Moore, for an interception that set up a Horned Frog score.
From there, the offense went into a funk, the game was played exclusively on Purdue's end of the field, the Boilermaker defense wore down against a physical running game, and a slow-bleed sort of first half ended with the home team fortunate to only be down 13-6.
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