Saturday, December 30, 2006

Champs Sports Bowl Recap

Purdue was upended by the Terrapins of Maryland last night in the Champs Sports Bowl 24-7. Stats here and pics here. Purdue never got into an offensive rhythm and was thoroughly dominated on both sides of the ball. For Purdue fans, this is more of the same. Another bowl game, another slow start, another scoreless first quarter, another early deficit, another loss. This game recap post will be half-ass, because that's exactly the kind of effort the Boilers gave last night.

WHAT PURDUE DID WELL
Celebrate routine tackles made on defense on 10+ yard runs by Lance Ball and Keon Lattimore. Make mediocre QB Sam Hollenbach look like an All-American.

WHAT PURDUE DID POORLY
Show up.

MOMENT OF THE GAME
Maryland CB Josh Wilson showing his jersey to the camera yelling, "Dats da truuff!!" while a pre-recorded video of him at bottom of the screen showed him talking about how important academics are to him.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Landry On A Tear

In case you hadn't noticed, Purdue has been winning some basketball games lately. The Boilers currently stand at 8-1 and are on the cusp of being ranked in the top 25. The reason? Carl Landry. Landry has been on an absolute tear lately, recently winning Big Ten Player of the Week for the third consecutive week. He is the first player in conference history to win the award in back to back to back weeks. Not even Glenn Robinson can match this accomplishment, though he did win the award 5 times during the 1993-94 season.

Purdue started the week with a 78-62 win over the Ramblers of Loyola Chicago. Loyola was picked as the preseason favorite to win the Horizon League, the league in which ranked Butler calls home. Landry poured in 22 points, grabbed 8 boards, and dished out 3 assists in the victory. In Purdue's second match up of the week, the Boilers downed the previously unbeaten Mizzou Tigers in Mackey Arena 79-62. In the winning effort, Landry had 23 points and 12 rebounds.

Landry's stellar play this season is a testament to Matt Painter's coaching more than anything else. Coach Painter has Landry committed to being an enforcer on the glass and on defense unlike any other point in his career. Painter views Landry's accolades as just as much a credit to the team as to Landry himself. "That's key, that we're 8-1," Painter said. "If we're 1-8, he doesn't get any of these awards with the same numbers."

Purdue looks to continue their winning ways this weekend as they take on #18 Butler at Conseco Fieldhouse in the 7th Annual Wooden Tradition. Butler started this season on a tear of their own beating Indiana, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Gonzaga on their way to the Preseason NIT Championship. If Purdue can get by Butler this weekend, there is a very good chance that the Boilers will crack the top 25. It's been a long time since the Boilers have been ranked, a draught that spans 73 games. "If we beat Butler, I think we deserve to be ranked," Painter said. All I can say is its a good thing IU homer Terry Hutchens only has one vote.

Thursday, December 7, 2006

A Look Back -- Iowa

A week after losing in South Bend to Notre Dame, Purdue hit the road for Kinnick Stadium to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. There was much optimism among the Purdue faithful despite being 11 point dogs and not having won in Iowa City under Tiller. Iowa (4-1) was ranked 19th in the country and was coming off a disappointing 38-17 loss to #1 Ohio State at home in primetime. There was sure to be a big game hangover or a letdown, or so we thought. We couldn't have been more wrong. In perhaps the biggest beatdown of the Tiller era, the Boilers fell 47-17 and it was never even close as Iowa racked up 539 yards of offense.

WHAT WE THOUGHT THEN
In 2004 and 2005, the Boilers' first loss sparked some ugly losing streaks that ruined very promising seasons. After this schelacking, it appeared that Tiller and Co. were headed down that same slippery slope as this marked their second loss in a row. The way that Purdue gave up 286 yards on the ground to an offensive line that went through 3 centers in the first half was alarming to say the least.

WHAT WE KNOW NOW
This was one of many valleys during an up and down year. This was true for Curtis Painter and the team as a whole. Both the Purdue offense and defense would bounce back in a big way the following week against Northwestern winning 31-10 in dominating fashion. The finish to Drew Tate's career has been a major disappointment. Tate burst onto the scene as a sophomore in 2004 leading Iowa to a 10-2 record and a dramatic last second comeback victory over LSU in the Capital One Bowl. Tate made First Team All Big-Ten that year. Since then, he has regressed and Iowa has gone 7-5 and 6-6 in his final two seasons.

WHAT WE KNEW ALL ALONG
That Iowa is very tough to beat in Kinnick Stadium when they are not decimated by injuries. ESPN sucks for putting good football games on ESPNU. Iowa still travels well, even at 6-6.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A Look Back -- Notre Dame

This is the first of a series of posts that will take a look back at some of the key Boilermakers' wins and losses of the 2006 season comparing the perceptions then compared to now. We will start with everyone's favorite, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In the 5th week of the season, Purdue (4-0) went into South Bend to face the Irish (3-1) as 8 point dogs. The Irish were coming off their miracle comeback against Michigan State and the Boilers were eager to see how they matched up against a respectable (term used loosely) opponent. Purdue fell 35-21 and was never really close, but there were many positives to take away from this game such as the play of Curtis Painter and Selwyn Lymon.

WHAT WE THOUGHT THEN
Lymon's 238 yard performance was an indication of what's to come the rest of the season and he would emerge as Purdue's #1 receiving threat. If Purdue can put up those kind of yards against a top 10 team, they can challenge for a Big Ten title.

WHAT WE KNOW NOW
Lymon's performance was mostly a product of Notre Dame's horrible secondary and their bracketing of Dorien Bryant. Lymon struggled with consistency and route running the rest of the season and never really emerged as the go to guy. Notre Dame isn't that good and is still really really bad on defense. Their secondary lacks speed and awareness, and the rest of the unit is very average. Rushing 3 against a good passing team won't get the job done. This was a strategy employed by Brock Spack against Hawaii and Notre Dame, and it failed miserably both times. In the second half Purdue held the Irish to 7 points by pressuring Quinn, the same defensive strategy used by UCLA in their near upset.

WHAT WE KNEW ALL ALONG
That Brady Quinn is the most overrated college football player of all time. Quinn is ranked as the 14th best QB in terms of passer efficiency this season. 14th! Throw out BYU, Stanford, and the service academies and he is 18-17 as a starter. That is Heisman material? He has failed miserably in Notre Dame's biggest games this year in getting clobbered by Michigan and USC. Yet, Brady is headed to New York for the second year in a row.

Sunday, December 3, 2006

Fear The Turtle

The wait is over. It was announced today that Purdue will face Maryland in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 29 in Orlando, Florida. Clemson and Boston College were also in the discussion, but officials of the Champs Sports Bowl ultimately felt, "Maryland and their fans had a lot of excitement for Orlando." The Terps finished the regular season at 8-4, 5-3 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

As I mentioned in my analysis of potential bowl opponents a week ago, the Terps have managed to win a lot of games this season without doing anything spectacular. Their last 6 wins came by a combined 17 points. The Terrapins rank sixth in the 12-team ACC in total offense (304.7 yards per game), including fourth in rushing offense (124.9) and eighth in passing offense (179.8). The Terps are seventh in scoring (21.7). Defensively, Maryland ranks 10th in the ACC in total defense (366.9 yards per game), including 12th against the run (174.8) and sixth versus the pass (192.2). Maryland is 10th in scoring D (23.1 points per game).

Ralph Friedgen's Maryland program and Joe Tiller's Purdue program are similar in a lot of ways. Both coaches enjoyed a lot of success early in their career as Friedgen started his Maryland career with three 10 win seasons in a row. Both programs missed the postseason last year going 5-6, and both are back this year after going 8-4 (I am not counting Hawaii) this season.

Much more analysis of the Terps Boilers match up to come.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Garret Bushong Done at Purdue

Junior tight end Garret Bushong's Purdue career is over. Perhaps now Purdue University needs to start their search for his replacement to "run this place." It has been announced that he has been granted a medical redshirt so that he can keep his scholarship while not playing football. Bushong has been troubled by back problems that have kept him off the field this year and last. He played sparingly as a true freshman but never saw the field again as he was passed on the depth chart by Dustin Keller, Charles Davis, and Jerry Wasikowski. Bushong came to Purdue as a blue chip 4 star recruit sporting offers from the likes of Florida, Michigan State, and Nebraska. His career was a disappointment to say the least.

Bushong will almost certainly be remembered at Purdue not for playing football, not even for being a underachieving blue chip recruit, but for his infamous letter to Purdue's student newspaper The Exponent. Bushong was arrested for driving under the influence and it was reported in the Exponent the following day. Apparently, Mr. Bushong doesn't realize that playing football at Purdue puts him more in the media spotlight than the average student as he took offense to the publicizing of his offense. Not only was this all over the news at Purdue, but word of Garret's remarks quickly spread to all ends of the internet. Here is the letter that he wrote to The Exponent:

"This letter is a shoutout to all of the athletes of Purdue. I am personally sick and tired of all the bad ink we are getting, and it is really time to put an end to it. Yeah, I got an OWI, so what! It’s over, and everyone now knows about it. It’s not like 300 other students on this campus haven’t gotten one, yet the names of those people are not put on the front page of the Exponent followed up three months later by a headline on the back page of the Sports section. I know all those people putting the paper together don’t have anything better to write about, and I am not mad at them for that. I am mad because they continously are publishing articles that make us look so bad. If I am not mistaken, you guys go to Purdue too and I thought you would have a little more respect for your fellow classmates and the people who bring millions of dollars into this university year after year. So to all of my basketball players, football players, soccer girls, softball girls, wrestlers, cross country, track and field guys and girls, divers, golfers, tennis girls and guys, volleyball girls and baseball players, forget what ya heard. We’re here to stay, we all know what we do for this school and what we give back. We run this place and if anyone begs to differ, I’ll say what my good buddy Brandon Kirsch once said. “You know where to find me, locker number three, so come and say what you need to say to my face.” Lastly I would like to give another shoutout to the athletes who have gotten bad ink in the Exponent lately. I feel for ya! Represent in 2006."
Garret Bushong
Junior, College of Consumer & Family Sciences

Perhaps his first mistake was being "good buddies" with Brandon Kirsch, but that is a topic for another blog. For him to sidestep responsibility for his drunken actions is a complete joke, but what bothers me most is the comment about "running this place." His scholarship wouldn't be possible without the generous contributions of the John Purdue Club that make Purdue Athletics possible. Garret, you don't run shit.