Let’s just start this out with the obvious and get it out of the way. It seemed like the news of Robbie Hummel getting hurt spread through the 47,000+ at Ross Ade Stadium quicker than the wave. I found out by text message, and of course had to see it from a source online to believe it. To most people in the crowd the football game took a backseat to the breaking news. I will have more about the incident later, but for now let’s just say that a kid like Hummel deserves better than he has gotten. All the hard work to get back only to be disappointed so early in the season. It truly is a terrible thing. I will not forget that he initially hurt his knee against Minnesota, and then re-injured the same knee with Minnesota’s football team in town. The Gopher may be moving to the top of the list of teams that I don’t like.
The day started out awesome though. The night before I found out that I had tickets in the Shively Stadium Club at Ross Ade. I was excited to spend my first game in this section of the stadium previously closed to me. I was like a little kid waiting for the elevator that takes you up to your section. Once up there the game was getting ready to start so I did not have a chance to look around. I went right to my seat which was a comfortable stadium style seat with a cup holder. I loved having some room to myself instead of fighting for room on a bench. I was able to tour the inside later on, and it was very nice. I liked the expanded food menu which included prime rib. I also enjoyed the opportunity to imbibe some alcohol after hearing the news about Hummel. I will probably never have the extra $2,500 a ticket to sit there, but I will always wait for another chance to watch a game from those awesome seats.
The first 5 series of the game was what most people would expect from these two teams. I was even sitting there wondering about my higher scoring prediction for the game. Then Danny Dierking took off running for a 42 yard scamper to put Purdue inside the ten yard line. His run was all guts. He should have been stopped multiple times, but just kept chugging along. The crowd let him know how they appreciated the run as well. The very next play he took another run that was going nowhere and made something out of it. His runs set up Rob Henry’s run for the first score of the day. Purdue was up 7-0, and the crowd really seemed to be into the game.
It was shortly after the Purdue score that I found out about Hummel. Some of the people I sat around seemed to really take the news hard. I did as well, and that instigated the visit to the inside of the club during a Minnesota possession to find some liquids. It is funny that while re-watching the game on DVR the announcers found out as well about the same time. Bad news travels fast I guess.
A botched snap on a Minnesota punt set up Purdue’s second score. The freshman punter for Minnesota appeared to have time to still punt the ball after it went over his head, but he tried to run for it. He did not get far, and Purdue had great field position to start the drive. Minnesota turned a 3rd and 5 1/2 into a 3rd and 1/2 yard when they jumped offsides on the same possession. Dierking ran for the first down then setting up a first and goal. Henry took a play action bootleg into the end zone for his second score of the day to put Purdue up 14-0 on the day.
Just before the half Henry hooked up with O.J. Ross on a big pass that gave Purdue great field position inside the ten. They failed to score leaving the ball on the one yard line on fourth down. Danny Hope had a tough decision to make on that fourth down, but I think he did the right thing by electing to kick the field goal. He made the right choice, but the result was not what you would expect. Carson Wiggs missed a chip shot that would have put the Boilers up 17-0 at the half. A three position lead at the half is big. I don’t know if the angle is what caused him to miss the kick or what was going on. He just seemed to miss the ball.
To start the half the Boilers took the ball right down the field. Dierking had a nice run to get the Boilers across the fifty. On the very next play Henry was picked off in the flat by Gary Tinsley. Tinsley ran down the field for an apparent touchdown. Inside the five though Rob Henry on a hustle play made things interesting. Knowing a hit was coming Tinsley went to hold the ball out to try and score. In that transfer he lost the ball which hit the pylon. What a momentum boost that would have been for the Gophers. The score would have been 14-7 with almost the entire second half left to play. Instead Purdue had the ball at the twenty with what for all intensive purposes was the start of another drive.
They took that drive right down the field to score again. During that drive Henry found Edison a couple times including the touchdown pass. This series had to just demoralize the Gophers. After what should have been a game changing play they let Purdue go right down the field for the score. The final play was a pass from Henry to Edison. Antavian made a great move after the catch to get into the end zone. The Boilers looked to be on their way to a big win.
On the next drive Minnesota appeared to have a big touchdown with five minutes to go in the quarter, but had it called back due to an illegal motion. They had to settle for a field goal to give them their first points of the day. They really do not have anything going for them at this point. It has got to be a bad feeling in that locker room.
Purdue scored their final touchdown of the day thanks to Gary Tinsley again. His personal foul on a hit to Rob Henry extended the Purdue drive. Purdue had a nice conversion on a fourth down later in the drive as well. What made it so nice is that both Henry and Dierking got the first down together with the ball. Dierking eventually let Henry have the ball. After another nifty run by Dierking the Boilers had the ball on the goal line again. Once again Henry faked to Dierking and scored his third rushing touchdown of the season.
Top five plays of the game:
- Rob Henry hustle to force fumble on Tinsley interception. This play took a potential momentum swing, and kept the mo in Purdue’s favor.
- Dan Dierkings 42 yard run. This was a great run that showed his never say die attitude.
- The botched punt that led to the Boilers second touchdown.
- Antavian Edison’s nice move and score on the possession after the touchback.
- Kewann Short’s two plays in the fourth quarter. First he has a nice sack of Weber, and then he gives up his body to knock down a pass.
The defense looked good once again. Maybe it was who they were playing. There are always bad moments in the game, but the guys on the line had another good game. Ryan Kerrigan once again was a disrupter. He did not have the usual stat line, but he was in Weber’s face for much of the day. Almost any picture I have of Weber letting the ball go has Kerrigan in frame. Kawann Short had yet another good game. In one series he sacked Weber (that picture is shown above). He followed that up the next play by giving up his body to jump over a defender and swat down a pass from Weber. He just took over the game, and had the crowd right back in it. This line which is young with the exception of Kerrigan is really doing a good job of learning on the job. Logan Link has been playing well all season. He just seems to have a nose for the ball. He nearly had a pick in the end zone, just missed a diving catch in the fourth quarter, and got his first career pick later in the game. He is the kind of guy that you want in the game. This defense is starting to come together just when we need them to the most.
Once the game was for all purposes over the weird section of the game started. On a third and five play Rob Henry rolled out and took a knee. He was smacked by the Minnesota defensive tackle after he was down. The ball came out, but no flag was thrown. A few boos circulated through the stadium. On the second play from scrimmage after that for Minnesota Ryan Kerrigan hit Weber just after he released the ball. He was flagged for using his helmet on Weber. Even the announcers on television were questioning the call. In the stadium though the fans would not let up booing the refs. They kept it up for so long that even some of the people in the stadium club joined in on the fun. The boos were great in person, and I loved hearing them again on tv today. That added a little excitement to the last two minutes of the game.
For the fifth straight game the Boilers ran for over 200 yards. The running game really is clicking right now. A true test will occur next week though in Columbus. Dan Dierking accounted for 126 of those yards. I know that he is not the typical Big Ten running back, but he has been fun to watch. Rob Henry also was a big part of the running game when we were near the end zone. He scored three times on the ground to go along with his touchdown pass. Besides Dierking and Henry both Keith Carlos and Al Terek McBurse got carries out of the backfield. Antavian Edision also got some touches from the slot position. You really don’t know where the ball is going to be run from right now. What started out of necessity might just be the formula for success. True freshman Sean Robinson finally saw the field for the Boilers. He came in to run the offense. His redshirt was now officially off. He was trying to make something out of nothing on a third down run when he was hit and the ball came out. It was not a great start for the frosh, but I have a feeling he will have much better days ahead of him.
Minnesota on the day looked like a 1-6 team. Adam Weber who as I talked about in the preview is a sixth year senior with a lot of records, but nothing to really show for it had a sub par day. He was 20-45 on the day passing. A lot of his balls hit an open receiver in the feet, or landed in front of them. He kept some plays alive with his legs, but could not seem to find an open receiver. If a couple of those passes to open men were completed this game would have turned out much differently. Da’Jon McKnight did catch six passes from Weber for 123 yards on the day. Minnesota showed some heart when they attempted a late comeback, but it wasn’t enough on the day. All of the rumors of the demise of coach Tim Brewster turned out to be true as he was fired today. Five straight losses in the Big Ten will not win you much support.
The game was not without injuries. Albert Evans had to be carted off the field after suffering a knee injury. From what I have heard through Purdue it is not serious, but he will miss at least next week because of it. From what I have heard through other sources it is another ACL. Really? When will it end? Gerald Gooden was also helped off the field although I have heard nothing on him as of now. Dan Dierking spent a few series of the game on the sidelines as well with trainers looking at what I would guess was his shoulders.
I will have some more pictures from the day later this week. I loved seeing the old uniforms back so I let loose with the camera. We may even have to have a couple posts to get all the pictures out.
Purdue won the game 28-17. They are now 4-2 on the season, and more importantly 2-0 in the Big Ten. They are tied for first in the loss column right now. After the injuries the team has had I should have been thrilled leaving the stadium after a homecoming win. Why then did I have a knot in my stomach?