Last night in West Lafayette we saw two teams headed in different directions. Notre Dame started the season off slow with turnovers digging them an early 0-2 hole. Two strong wins got them going in the right direction. Purdue came into the game 2-1, but with a lot of doubts as to how good the team really was. I heard a lot of talk over the past two weeks about how this game would tell how good Purdue really was. I guess we found out.
The day started off great with beautiful weather for an extra long tailgate due to the late start. I love night games so I was really pumped to see that the Notre Dame game would be at night. There were very few empty seats when both teams took the field. You could really sense that this could be an electric night.
Sadly that atmosphere was squashed as the opening play from scrimmage for Purdue was picked off. Two plays later Tommy Rees found Michael Floyd to put the Irish up 7-0. They really never looked back as they went on to spank Purdue 38-10.
The score was not really out of hand at halftime, but the game really was. I went back to the tailgate not knowing if I would go back into the stadium. I was lucky that I did though as a friend got us some great seats in the front row just behind the goalposts. Until a large crowd made taking pictures impossible I had a clear shot from almost field level. If I have been wanting to try my new camera out under the lights I really had my chance. I got lucky and snapped a couple good pictures from my vantage point. That fact alone made the second half worth being at.
Notre Dame now has seemed to put the turnover bug behind them. They really seem to be clicking, and I wouldn’t put it past them to run the table and get a BCS berth. I see playmakers on both sides of the football that can change the outcome of the game. I was not able to watch both of the their losses but I have now seen all three of their wins, and they really look like a good football team. I don’t know what would happen to them in a BCS bowl, but I think they have a shot of getting there.
Purdue on the other hand seems to be going the other way in a hurry. Early in the week 8,000 tickets were left for the big night game against the Irish. The Purdue marketing department was trying to organize a Black and Gold game where certain sections had color assignments. I think that the bright idea would have been to get butts in the seats before you worry about what they are wearing. After the beating they just took I imagine good seats will be available next week for the game against Minnesota. Where do they go from here? The Big Ten season is now staring them in the face, and the only consolation that they have is that they open with Minnesota who may just be worse than they are. The six wins needed for a bowl now seem very far off. 2-2 is not a terrible record, but it leaves very little room for error if the Boilers want to go bowling this season.
I have always been behind Danny Hope, but the signs are starting to spring up that he is losing this team. Players are speaking up on how they think things should be done. I really like Hope and would love to see him succeed here. I really think that his time is running short though. He had two weeks to prepare for Notre Dame and hinted that they were cooking up some surprises. I guess the surprise was that the team would not tackle. The two ‘trick’ plays that I saw failed miserably. Maybe it is the optimism of the head coach that creates bigger expectations than the team can deliver on. I never expected Purdue to win, but I also expected them to compete. They really did not do that last night. Two years ago the marketing slogan for the team was ‘One.’ At some point I really thought that it was also the number of wins that they would end up with. They then surprised everyone by beating Ohio State, and nearly made a bowl. It is far too early to give up on the team, but a loss against the lowly Gopher team next weekend will increase interest in the upcoming basketball season for many Boiler fans. The team is up against the wall right now. What they do in the next couple of weeks will go a long way in determining the future of the Purdue football program.