Purdue 21 – #23 Illinois 14

The team celebrates with the fans after the game

Normally I like to come up with some sort of a witty title for my game posts. After the way this season has gone so far I thought that the score would do. This team has looked good some days, and then had days like last Saturday that make them hard to watch. I love the effort they put forth in Happy Valley, but they just couldn’t get over the hump. You want them to do it so bad that you feel awful when they don’t get it done. From almost the start today though they got it done. This game went a long way to help put away the awful memory that was my road trip to Illinois last year. In that game the Illini had their way with us. We had them over the barrel for a half, and if we had not gone into a shell in the second half I am sure that we could have made it look worse.

Kawann Short takes down Nate Scheelhaase again on Saturday

The biggest reason why I am now celebrating the victory is the fact that the defense really came to play today. They did give up two touchdowns late, but they were on the field way too much in the second half. Early in the game I was kidding around that we should have been playing Gerald Gooden all season the way his was playing. Of course he has played all year, but not as inspired as I saw today. That is a great sign with Robert Maci out for the season. KK Short was a man on fire today. He had two sacks, but was in the backfield all day it seemed. His face will probably be in Nathan Scheelhaase’s dreams for quite some time. Gooden registered his first sack of the season today in by far his best effort. The pressure on the quarterback helped, but the Purdue secondary was good today as well. Josh Johnson seemed to draw coverage on A.J. Jenkins today. He jammed him at the line and really made life tough for him. You have done a good job when the nation’s leading receiver is held to under 90 yards for the day.

Caleb TerBush to Gary Bush

On offense Caleb TerBush came into his own today. He performed well enough to keep his team in the game. In fact he made some big passes to keep drives alive. He made some mistakes like the grounding play, but he is still young. He looks better every week, and that is all that you can ask of him at this point. Purdue has talked up the two quarterback rotation all season, but today it went down a little differently than you would think. Robert Marve did not play a down. Justin Siller ran some plays at quarterback in a wildcat look. I don’t know how much of a wildcat it is when you use a player that came in as a quarterback. The look didn’t gain any huge yards, but it does leave some things open in the future. When will we see TerBush catch his first pass? When they were still on the gas pedal the offense looked good today. They kept it a little vanilla in the second half, but still moved the ball a little. Right now the star I think has to be Raheem Mostert. He doesn’t get too many touches, and that is the only problem I had today. The kid looks like a star, and I would love to see a ‘Raheem package’ put in. We have seen him look good on limited touches so far this season. It would be nice to see him get even more. Justin Siller had a good game. He caught a big third down ball that set up his touchdown. Antavian Edison did not get many touches, but did fumble very early in the game. The fumble did not cost the Boilers, and you really can’t blame the kid because he took a shot. He did stay up too long, but I love seeing the team fight a little.

I don’t want to end on a bad note, but for the second home game in a row I heard some guy bashing Hope and his game decisions. Just after going off on a rant he looked out on the field at “#86”. When he saw him come onto the field he commented, “That guy is big. He must be a fullback or a lineman.” For some reason I don’t give any credibility to people who don’t even know Purdue’s starting tight end. I think that if you read enough of the message boards you start to form someone else’s opinion. I won’t say that Danny Hope is perfect, but I really like the guy. You can’t watch him and think that he is not trying. The players that he has brought in are starting to show what they can do, and in a few years the people who wanted him out will wonder why they ever did. Of course I might be wrong, but I hope not.

Since this is my blog I don’t have to end it negatively. Purdue is now 4-3. Many people wrote this season off after the Rice game. That would have been nice to have, but Purdue can still get to a bowl. They have five games left on the schedule to get to the six wins required to go bowling. I think that we can easily beat Indiana so it just comes down to winning a game @Michigan, @Wisconsin, or Ohio State or Iowa at home. Heck at this point we could still go to a good bowl game. Make no mistake about it the fans did not rush the field, but this was still a huge win. Purdue needed a shot in the arm, and they got it today. The only game left where I would say that we have no shot is at Wisconsin. Maybe I still remember the beating the team took there two years ago when I went up to Camp Randall on a road trip. I think that if they can play like today they have a shot against anyone not named the Badgers on the schedule. Wisconsin is just too good right now.

I took a few pictures again in manual mode trying some things out today. I will post a photo gallery when I get a little time tonight.


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