Chippewas Shut Down By Purdue’s Defense

Boiler win easily 64-38

Who decided to have a basketball game that early in the morning? I always complain about the early starts that the Purdue football team gets, but this was a half an hour earlier. Starting a game at 10:30 am my time really makes for an interesting morning. On the drive down to West Lafayette I kept wondering if that would affect the players. Playing a game before most college kids are even awake has to be hard. The other factor that had to be on most people’s minds was the fact that Purdue had just come off a great win against #9 Tennessee to win the Paradise Jam. Tuesday Wake Forest comes to town as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. This game in between could have been trouble.

It was not though. Although the offense did not play as well as we would have liked, the defense came to play today. Central Michigan only scored fourteen points in the first half. Three of those points should never have been. Chris Kramer took the ball away from a Chippewa player in the corner, and was apparently fouled by at least two of the three players around him. Instead of calling the foul, the ref called Kramer’s pass out of bounds. The three pointer that followed was the last three points Central Michigan would score in the half. If the play had gone the other way it would have been a turnover for the Chippewa’s, and they would have had three less points on the board. That basket was at the six minute mark of the first half. It is amazing to me that any team can keep another team off the board for over six minutes. Purdue’s defense is great. They would have ended the half with more turnovers than points. As it was they ended the game with more turnovers then field goals. The final tally was sixteen turnovers and 13 field goals. My picture for this weeks preview of the ‘Defense Live Here’ sign must have been a premonition. At times this defense is more fun to watch than the offense. This team only allowed five baskets in the first half, and 38 points all game. That is the best effort since the Michigan State game in 2007.

One shining star in my book today was Mark Wohlford. He gets the player of the game in my opinion. E’Twaun scored 15 points, although 11 of those were in the first half. Robbie Hummel scored 11, and pulled down 11 rebounds. Both had good games. Wohlford though was all over the place. He played 20 solid minutes today when Chris Kramer got into foul trouble. He only scored five points with one board and one block, but he was tireless on defense. He lays it all out there, and the opponent cannot take him for granted. Maybe we just like to root for the underdogs. At some point though Mark will cease to be an underdog.

The next game for the Boilers is Tuesday against Wake Forest. The students will be back in the stands, and we could be looking at a top five team on the floor. With Michigan State losing yesterday we could potentially move up in the rankings. Speaking of the students I was pleasantly surprised today to see how full Mackey was. They claim 12,000+ for the official attendance today. They really have done a great job marketing the games that are not in the student package. The game is missing something without the kids though. They bring the energy to the stadium. I am sure that they will be fired up Tuesday though for the big matchup.

LeFevour Brings the Rain

Last night I was in Scheumann Stadium to see Central Michigan once again. You would think that I would be sick of seeing this team, but I really wanted to watch Dan LeFevour once when he was not going against the Boilers. He really is not a quarterback that awes you on every play. His offense runs so smooth that you really don’t know what is going on until it is too late. It was too late when he was pulled early in the fourth quarter against Ball State. He already had amassed 403 total yards and five touchdowns at that point. Like I said he was not flashy, but very, very capable. He is now three touchdowns shy of breaking the NCAA record for touchdowns in a career. He should get that record before the season is out. The way his team is playing right now, he may even get the record next week when Northern Illinois heads into Mount Pleasant, Michigan. With the weapons that he has it is hard to think that he will not get the record. He has an offensive line that gives him plenty of time to throw. Has has a possession receiver and a burner that he can throw to. He also has enough running options so that teams cannot just key on him. Sometimes a player is just dominant in college, then in the pros he cannot make it. Eric Crouch is a great example of this. I think that LeFevour has enough tools to make it in the NFL. I look forward to seeing him play again at the next level. Antonio Brown is a great weapon for LeFevour. He is a threat to take it to the house whenever he has the ball in his hands. He had the ball on catches (11 for 170), on reverses, and on the option. His highlight of the night though was his 82 yard touchdown catch with less than a minute left in the first half. Ball State had just kicked a field goal to bring the score to 14-3. LeFevour found Brown with a perfect pass, and Brown just took off. That set the tone for the rest of the game. Ball State really did not have any fight left after that.

I have another point that I would like to address. Last night it was raining like crazy. At times it was coming down as if someone was dumping a bucket of water on the stands. The weather was horrible, I understand that. Ball State came into the game 1-9, the second worst team in the MAC. The fans were spoiled by the great season that they had last year. They were on national television last night with no other games to steal their thunder. What did they do to show their team some appreciation on senior night? Well all of the 5,736 that showed up sat on their hands. I saw 3,000 more fans in Mackey on Sunday for the women’s basketball game. I know that Ball State is not a huge football program, but that was ridiculous. I can’t complain too much though as parking was very easy, and I left without any traffic after the game. The stadium holds 22,500 so I would guess that the 5,700 number is high based on all the empty seats that I saw. One of the positives that I saw for the Cards was freshman Eric Williams. The fans made fun of what they called the ‘mildcat‘, but this kid looked as though he could run that offense. He is speedy, and he has a couple of moves to him. With time on his side he could be good before it is all said and done. This was a very nice stadium, and people should come to these games and fill it. This was my first trip to Muncie, but I will be back.

Some other thoughts on the game:

  • Ball State has taken the 1,2,3,4…First Down chant and modified it for their own use. I enjoyed doing it the Purdue way for the four Indiana fans that were in front of me.
  • The rain actually stopped most of the way to Muncie until I pulled in front of the stadium. It let up occasionally, but never really stopped. So much for weather forecasts.
  • The 5,700+ that showed up for the game may have been the fewest I have ever seen for a Division 1 contest.
  • Many of those 5,700 left at halftime.
  • If the rain would have kept up Noah may have had to make an appearance.
  • The few fans that I came into contact with get just as worked up over every play as the John Purdue Club fans do. Every play is over analyzed. I guess that is common among ‘super fans’.
  • LeFevour moved into fourth all-time in career yardage last night. He passed Ty Detmer to do so.

Football Game Preview: Central Michigan @ Ball State

This week we get the preview early because I will be at the Ball State game tonight. With a rain day combined with the matchup I see no reason not to make my first trip to Ball State. Last season this was a huge game that was played up in Mt. Pleasant, Mi. This year it appears to be just another game for Dan LeFevour to pad his stats. I first was able to see Dan LeFevour play in 2007 when his Chippewas came to Purdue. By the end of that day I was sick of hearing the phrase LeFevour on the keeper. Through the luck of the draw I was able to see him play three times in the span of that next calendar year. That year in the Motor City Bowl he led his team to a near upset of the Boilers. If not for a last second field goal by Chris Summers the game would have gone into overtime. Again in 2008 a late touchdown by the Boilers helped them escape from LeFevour. I was glad to see him off of Purdue’s schedule. This is his last year at Central Michigan, and he will have a future somewhere in the NFL I am sure. For now though he is content on leading his team to another MAC title. The Chips are 6-0 in conference play, and 8-2 overall. It will be great to see them in action tonight. They have a great offense. Here are the Central Michigan games that I have seen:

9/18/1999: #14 Purdue 58 – Central Michigan 16
9/15/2007: Purdue 45 – Central Michigan 22
12/26/2007: Purdue 51 – Central Michigan 48
9/20/2008: Purdue 32 – Central Michigan 25

My history of seeing Ball State play is much more of a laugher. They have usually been a doormat for Purdue to roll early in the season. The best example of these games was in 2004 when Purdue crushed them 52-7. Thankfully they were off the schedule the last couple of years when they had a resurgence. Last season when the two teams met it was a huge game. Ball State was #14 in the country looking to become 10-0 on the season. Central Michigan was 8-2 and without a conference loss. This game was for positioning in the MAC. Ball State won a good game 31-24 to keep their dream season alive. Nate Davis and the core from that group is now gone. Ball State is 1-9 overall and 1-5 in the conference. Central Michigan comes into this game 14 point favorites, and I think that is kind. For now at least it looks like Ball State is back where they used to be. We will see if the great season paid dividends in recruiting. For now though they are the same old team that I am used to seeing. Here are the Ball State games that I have seen:

9/20/1997: Purdue 28 – Ball State 14
9/11/2004: #25 Purdue 59 – Ball State 7
9/16/2006: Purdue 38 – Ball State 28

Predictions: This is the final week of the Big Ten season. It is a big rivalry week with games between Ohio State and Michigan along with the annual Bucket game between the Hoosiers and the Boilermakers. Outside of the Big Ten Charlie Weis faces a must win game if he wants any chance to salvage his coaching career at Notre Dame. A win at Stanford seems unlikely so he must beat UConn to avoid ending the season 0-4. Last week I went 7-1 to bring my overall record up to 35-17. The only game I missed of course was my homer pick of Purdue over Michigan State. If not for a late State TD though I could have had another perfect week, and the Boilers would have another shot at a bowl. With this being the Boilers last game of the season the picks may end here. Unless I start feeling bored during the bowl season. I may have a Big Ten version then. Here are this week’s picks:

#10 Ohio State 35 – Michigan 17
#13 Iowa 28 – Minnesota 14
#16 Wisconsin 31 – Northwestern 17
#14 Penn State 31 – Michigan State 20
#17 Stanford 31 – #25 Cal 28
Grand Valley State 28 – Hillsdale 21
Notre Dame 35 – UConn 34
Purdue 35 – Indiana 28
Central Michigan 35 – Ball State 14

csd Flashback: Records Were Made to Be Broken…

And apparently September 20th was the day to do it. On that day I saw my 50th game in Ross-Aide Stadium. I should have made the milestone for the Oregon game, but I was too busy watching a double header in Shea Stadium. For this game the Central Michigan Chippewas came to town. With that we knew that we would hear “Lefevour on the keeper” over and over. That quarterback is something else. He will make a pro team very happy someday. He is hard to contain when he is running, and he is a very good passer as well. I am glad that I was able to see him play in college three times, but I hope I never see him on the other sideline again.

Purdue had this game in hand after a back and forth battle. All Purdue had to do was run out the clock in the fourth quarter. Curtis Painter put the ball in the ground in Chippewa territory, and gave Central Michigan a chance to win. They took advantage of that chance and scored a touchdown to pull within a point. The of course went for two points, and made it. The way we had been moving the ball I did not know what kind of a chance that we had with less than two minutes left on the clock. All we needed was a field goal, but that was the case the week before when our kicker missed two would be game winners at the end. A great return by Desmond Tardy, and a personal foul penalty gave us the ball at midfield. Korey Sheets then ran a draw play up the middle. At the time I was upset that we were running the ball, but when he took off untouched for the score I changed my mind. That touchdown put him past Mike Alstott for the most all-time for Purdue. When Purdue intercepted a Chippewa pass and ran out the clock it also gave Joe Tiller his 85th victory. He is now alone atop the Purdue win list.
As I said before every game against Central Michigan was fun to watch, but I think that I will be okay without seeing them come around for a while. Three times in one year is enough for me. In a few minutes I went from despair to elation. This was a great game to be at.

Second Verse Same as the First

Last night I thought I was just going to a rematch of a game that I saw earlier in the season. I did not know that I would witness a great football game. Purdue had a 21 point lead in the second half, but LeFevour had the kind of game that people have come to expect from him. He picked Purdue apart in the second half. That culminated with a touchdown pass with 1:08 left in the game that tied the contest at 48. LeFevour finished the game with 6 touchdowns total. A bowl record tying 4 in the air, and 2 on the ground. He threw for 292 yards and ran for 113. He is fun to watch, if he is not playing your team. Curtis Painter had a great game as well. He ended up throwing for 546 yards (a bowl record) and three touchdowns on 35-54 passes. He is now plastered in the Motor City Bowl record book. He led his team down the field in a minute to set up the field goal by Chris Summers. Summers has to be the story of the year. Last year he was not even allowed to kick an eighteen yard field goal against Michigan State to win the game because he was so erratic. Last night we take a slight loss in yardage to get him in the middle of the field to kick a forty yarder. The kick was true, and Purdue won one of the best games I have seen in college football 51-48. With Painter throwing for over 500 yards you knew that the receivers had to have a big day. Greg Orton caught nine passes for 136 yards and a touchdown, Dustin Keller ended his career with the Boilers with 7 catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. Jake Standeford went out with a bang. He caught eight passes for 112 yards and a touchdown. Not bad for a former walk on who did not even get a D1 offer. It was nice to see his hard work pay off for him. It was nice for all of the Seniors to go out with a win. Maybe some of this momentum will carry into next year. It had better, because we play Oregon in the second game of the year.
By the way, I don’t ever want to hear the phrase “LeFevour on the keeper” ever again. It seemed to be said entirely too much last night. Also to all of the Chippy fans who felt the need to keep making fun of the Purdue fans by repeating “woo woo”, I hope you had a safe trip home. You did not seem to like it when we took up your cheer when we were playing well. I guess we will get to do it all over again the third week of September in Ross-Aide next year.

Merry Christmas…and a Bowl Preview

Motor City Bowl Preview: Purdue Boilermakers (7-5) v. Central Michigan Chippewas (8-5)

Tomorrow I will be in the murder capitol of the world to watch my last football game of 2007. This has been a down year for football in my world, but hopefully it will end on a good note. Purdue was part of the bad year in football. They started off so strong scoring 52 points in their first two games. Then they faced Central Michigan in Ross-Aide Stadium on my brothers birthday. We raced off to a 24 point lead in the first quarter putting up huge numbers. The crowd thought that they would see a record setting performance like the one against Ball State in 2004. After the first quarter we just sort of phoned it in for the rest of the year. Central Michigan really took it to us in the second half, and more importantly we lost Jaycen Taylor with a broken arm. Taylor was the heart and soul of the team, and his presence was missed. He is back now, and should be part of a two headed monster at tailback tomorrow night. We won the game 45-22, but we looked very bad in the second half.
Central Michigan will not lay down like they did in the first half in September. They have a great quarterback that just had a bad first half. Looking at the stats LeFevour only ran for 26 yards, but I remember an option play that we could not stop. He would fake the run up the middle, then run around end. When we geared up for that the play would go up the middle. He is a great quarterback that will give our defense fits if we don’t put some pressure on him and contain him. He can beat us with both his arms and his legs. He is one of only two players to rush and pass for over a thousand yards in a season. The other player is Vince Young. That is pretty good company. I am watching the MAC Championship game from this year while I am typing this, and he has looked pretty good so far. The one mistake that I have seen him make was when he was pressured he threw into double coverage for a pick. The Chippewas had the best offense in the MAC, and we will have our hands full tomorrow night.
As I said earlier we scored 24 points in the first half. It should have been at least 35. Former Boilermaker Selwyn Lymon fumbled the ball on the 5 yard line when we were driving, and we blew another drive in the red zone and had to settle for the field goal. At the time we just thought that it was no big deal. We had an offense that could not be stopped. We found out as the season progressed that we just played some cupcakes early. I have seen all over that people are saying that Painter is the key tomorrow. That may be true to some extent, but I think our two headed monster at tailback and the line will be key. If we can establish a ground game and keep our defense off of the field we will be fine. During the Michigan State debacle all I kept saying was that we need some longs drives to let the defense rest. We did not get them, and the Spartans ran all over us. Taylor and Sheets need to take some of the pressure off of Painter. That being said, I would like to see Painter have a good game. I have been on his bandwagon since he took over for Kirsch, but I am only hanging on by one arm ready to jump onto another one. I love the guy, and still think he could be so much more, but I can tell who he is going to throw to through the viewfinder on my camera. He just does not seem to see the field. With the loss of Lymon we are down a reciever, but in the end we may be better off. Jake Standeford will take his place. We still have Orton and Bryant who can both be gamebreakers. Desmond Tardy will have to be a go to guy next year, so why not start one game early? I really think that good things can come from the offense tomorrow.
On another note tomorrow will be the last game for some of my favorite Boilers. Since I came back from Iowa I have followed the Boilers to every home game, and even most of the away games. I have really enjoyed watching these guys play for better or for worse. Hopefully we can get a win and send them out the right way.
Tomorrow is a do or die day for this team. We can win and build something toward next year, or we can lose and continue the slide that this team has been on. We have not won a bowl game since 2002. We have not scored a first quarter touchdown since the game against Georgia. We need to right some wrongs tomorrow. It may not be the bowl that we wanted, or a signature win, but a win is a win. I think that we will win, but the outcome will not be decided until the last couple minutes of the game. Go Boilers!!

My Prediction: Purdue 44 – Central Michigan 34.