Yesterday I was witness to one of the worst defeats I have ever seen the Boilers take. They have been beaten by worse teams and by bigger scores when I was in attendance. What made this one so hard to take though was the fact that they were clearly dominated by a much lesser team. A Toledo team that had no offense or defense to speak of coming into the game took it to the Boilers from the start. The picture above pretty much sums up the day for the Boilers. In the first quarter Robert Marve was sacked by a Toledo defenseman who hit him so hard that he once again tore his ACL. It appears that he will now be lost for the season. Add that to the #2 quarterback Caleb Ter Bush already lost for the season after being declared academically ineligible it will be a hard road ahead for the Boilers.
The Boilers used a couple of turnovers to get within four points of the Rockets in the fourth quarter with plenty of time left on the clock. A lot has been made of the Boilers not going for it on the four yard line with eight minutes left in the game. I still think that you take the points. The defense was playing well at the time, and as bad as we had just looked on offense leading to that fourth down you have to get something out of the drive. Unfortunately the team gave up a fifty yard return on the kickoff that led to the Rockets final score. Two turnovers by Rob Henry helped seal the Boilers fate. Last season the Boilers won 52-31. This year they give up 31 again, but cannot match the point total of a team that came into the game 120th out of 120 in offense.
Picture a team that has lost its top two quarterbacks, its top running back, and its top receiver all within the first four weeks. How did those teams fare? Right now Purdue has two weeks to lick its wounds before Big Ten play starts. This team has to spend that time redefining itself with what players it has left. They have some talented young receivers. The running back corps are thin, and the quarterback position is up for grabs. Former quarterback Justin Siller was also injured Saturday, but if healthy could he be an option. Something has to be done to get the ball down the field.
Play of the Game: I think this week’s play of the game was harder to come up with than the past couple of weeks. The Boilers had some highlights, but I think that the game was over when Robert Marve was sacked and lost apparently for the season. Toledo took the ball right down the field to go up 14-0, and the Boilers had a tough time recovering from that. They ended the half down 24-3, and with a tattered offense it was too much to overcome.
So what is next for this team? The Big Ten season awaits. This next stretch of games could make or break the Boiler program. They finally are getting some good recruits in West Lafayette. A dismal season would spell disaster for the small bit of momentum that Hope has brought to town. I think that this team can still win at Northwestern. It will be interesting to see what the team looks like when they hit Evanston. I think we will see some of that team speed that is currently on the bench. Some of these young kids may see the field. Who knows, maybe a couple of redshirts will come off as well.
With the Boilers off next week we will have to see where I end up. I guess I will have to make up my mind before too much time elapses.