If the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, than was yesterday Black Saturday? It sure felt like it as a Purdue fan. When Ryan Newman won the Daytona 500 a couple years ago I titled my post ‘A Great Day to Be a Boilermaker.’ As good as that day felt, I think I felt the other end of that yesterday. Yesterday was a rough day to be a Purdue fan for sure. First of all we played another eleven o’clock start for football. That means getting up way too early on a Saturday to make the trip to West Lafayette. Then of course the temperatures made things interesting in the stands. A few people stayed at home, and the people that came were so bundled up that they didn’t fit in their seats. The row behind me looked like a sardine can with everyone crammed into it. I have been to a couple cold games before, and realized that if you bundle up like you are going on an arctic exploration you won’t even think about the cold during the game.
Before the game ever started the senior day ceremony was held. It is a nice way to say goodbye to the seniors, and also give their families some recognition. Some of the names you have never heard of while some were fan favorites. I always try to get to the last game much earlier than normal to see the celebration. This year I made it, but barely. Apparently everyone was trying to get to the game the same time as I was. Usually the route I take is not problem, but it was terrible yesterday. I think that the cops on 52 froze, and that is why I sat for over five minutes without moving. That is the only explanation I can think of. I did make it in though, and saw the senior day activities. It wasn’t a huge senior class, but some of the guys left a lasting impact on the program.
The game started off well as the Boilers drew first blood. After both teams had the ball and did nothing Purdue looked poised to give the ball right back to the Hoosiers. That is until Antavian Edison took a quick screen pass and raced 55 yards with it to score. Of course the Boilers let the Hoosiers take the ball right down the field to tie the game up. Purdue made it 14-7 on a Rob Henry to Dan Dierking pass. Then came a moment when I thought that things were finally looking up for the Boilers. Carson Wiggs punted the ball after a failed Purdue drive. The Hoosiers fumbled the ball, and Chris Carlino fell on it at the ten yard line. A few plays later Keith Carlos ran the ball in to put the Boilers up 21-7. Things were looking good, and it seemed as if luck was on the side of Purdue for once this season.
Of course then Indiana got the ball back and drove down the field to score. They were helped twice on third down when Purdue was called for pass interference. The crowd was really against the calls, but I think that it was more out of frustration than feeling as if they were right. We also did not seem to adjust on defense. The pass rush of Kerrigan was pretty much negated by a quick passing game. That being said the corners were still giving way too big of a cushion. I don’t pretend to be a defensive genius, but at some point you have to do something to slow down the pass. The half ended with the Boilers up 21-14.
The Hoosiers took the ball right down the field to start the second half and scored to tie the game. The Boilers had a nice goal line stand going, but of course on third down Chappell found Doss in the back of the end zone. Purdue did nothing on their next drive punting once again to the Hoosiers. On the next Indiana drive Albert Evans forced a fumble that gave the ball to the Boilers at midfield. On the first offensive play Rob Henry found Cortez Smith who got behind the coverage for a touchdown. The 52 yard play was something that we had been hoping to see all season. Smith got open, and Henry found him in stride. Purdue was up again 28-21.
Just after Taylor Stubblefield led the crowd in ‘Shout’ the Hoosiers scored the final touchdown of the game to tie things back up at 28. Purdue got the ball back and could not score. What made the drive even more upsetting is the fact that the stupidity of the Hoosiers kept it going. On 3rd and 13 Henry missed on another pass, and it appeared as if the Boilers would be punting again. That is when Terrance Thomas decided that it would be a great opportunity to sit atop Dennis Kelly and repeatedly punch him. The Boilers got a first down, and Thomas was ejected from the game. This could have been the turning point of the game. In a way it was I guess. Purdue could only move the ball 5 yards after the penalty, and had to punt again. The punt was downed at the two yard line. I don’t like to overanalyze the coaches moves, but I wondered why no field goal there? The ball was on the 33 with a kicker that has a leg on him. The wind seemed to be more side to side at that point than into the kickers face. Both teams traded field goals to send the game into overtime after the penalty.
This was the first time that the Bucket game has gone into overtime. After the final Indiana drive that tied the game I did not feel good about overtime. I was excited that we could pick where the overtime would be played so that it would be on our end. That way the students and the fans could be a factor. For some reason though the coaches decided to play the overtime at the other end of the field in front of the IU crowd. I know that the other way was into the wind (sort of), but with the advantage at kicker I thought that would be another reason to play down there. In the end it did not matter though as Rob Henry threw an interception on second and goal on the first possession of the overtime. All Indiana had to do was kick a field goal to win the game. For some reason after getting the ball on the ten Bill Lynch was still trying to score a touchdown. After a botched handoff almost gave Purdue the ball on first down I thought for sure they would kick. If not kick then at least center the ball. They did neither as they ran again to the short side. It didn’t matter though as on third down the Hoosiers won to claim the Bucket. They ran over to the Purdue sidelines to take the bucket, and then paraded around with it on our field. Some of the Hoosiers even went so far as to taunt the Purdue students who hadn’t left the game yet. I really hope the Boilers that are coming back remember this feeling next year.
This was a horrible way for the seniors to go out. The team finishes the season 4-8 after starting it 4-2. Six straight losses to end their careers is no way to go out. I really feel for those guys. Some of my favorite Boilers of all time really deserved more than that. In the end though this class is done playing football at Purdue. Now the focus must turn to next season, and how things can be fixed. I really don’t know too many positions on the team that seem safe. I think the kicker and punter might be guaranteed, but every other spot should be up for grabs. Cody Webster got off another booming punt with the punt block on yesterday. He kicked a 65 yarder yesterday that shows us how good he can be. If he can shake the shanks he will be an asset. The punters (Webster and Wiggs) may have just been the Purdue players of the game yesterday. They pinned the Hoosiers deep several times with some great punts. As far the rest of the squad, who knows? I think that the competition for spots will be very open when practice resumes. I would say that we will see at the spring game, but I usually leave that more confused than before I saw it. I will have a wrap of the season up later when I have a little distance from the game yesterday. It might be a little negative if I did it today.
For those people hoping to see Coach Hope fired I don’t think that you will see it. You have to give him some time. As I have said before if you start firing coaches after a couple of years you end up in the same boat as Notre Dame. A strong freshman class may help get this team some wins next year. I don’t know when it is a good time to start the firedannyhope.com website, but we are far from it right now. From what I see on the message boards the fanbase is divided. All kinds of infighting that gets nothing accomplished. It makes what was once a great place to go and get some knowledge of the team hard to go to. A few big wins next year will solve that I hope.
After the game I watched the band march to the fountain, and then the concert there. They have been pretty good all year, and as the director Jay Gephart said they were 12-0 on the season. Jay also had a great line that made me feel better about the day. While they were marching to the fountain an Indiana student kept harassing the band. I thought I saw Gephart say something to the student but was not quite sure if I read his lips right. At the fountain concert he confirmed it though. He told the kid to enjoy the day because after he graduates he will be working for a Boilermaker. I thought that he hit the nail right on the head. The concert is a good way to relax while letting the traffic clear a little. I had enough good pictures from the show that I think they will get their own post later in the week. The band still had the Macy’s logos on their instruments so it was cool to see them up close.
I mentioned a bad day for the Purdue fanbase in my title. I only said that because of how the night played out. After the game I almost made the drive up 65 to try and make the Purdue basketball game in Hoffman Estates because I thought watching them win would make me feel better. I am very glad that I did not. If I had to sit through both of those games yesterday I would have gone insane. For some reason the team did not play like we know that they can, and lost to the Richmond Spiders. They only managed 14 points in the first half. Fourteen. Well I think that things can only go up from yesterday. They couldn’t possibly get worse could they?
Edit: Just hours after posting this Indiana coach Bill Lynch was fired by athletic director Fred Glass. Somewhere today I read that since the game in 1996 when Mallory won in his last game as Indiana coach every coach at IU that has been fired has beaten their rival except Gerry DiNardo. I guess even winning sometimes is not the cure. Lynch had a good year as an interim coach, but has only won 3 Big Ten games since that label was taken off. He seemed like a good guy so I hope he finds something for himself. Now the question is who will the new Indiana coach be? Many names have been thrown out so far.