This is a much abbreviated version of the draft my wife just accidentally deleted after I worked on it for about 45 minutes. Don't ask.
A nice win for our boys down in West Lafayette, and boy was that a long time coming, our first win over a BCS team since 2003!
The most frustrating thing about our drought against BCS teams, aside from the frequent "moral victories", is that so many of those teams were mediocre. Sure Ohio State and Michigan were good, as was the Wisconsin team two years ago, but several others weren't. Northwestern, Iowa both times, Minnesota, Tennessee and this year's Wisconsin team were all average to mediocre. Our inability to win some of those was depressing. And make no mistake about it, this Purdue team is bad. It's still a great win for us and I'm happy for the team but in all honesty this Purdue team is not good. They have some excellent players but it's easy to see their problem: lack of team speed. I was consistently surprised by their lack of pursuit to the ball on defense, illustrated by the fact that Chandler Harnish beat their entire team downfield on Meco Brown's long touchdown run. Harnish runs well but not that well. Purdue is either a slow team or was still suffering major jet lag from their Oregon trip.
NIU needs to win this type of game and they did, so kudos to them. Even though they controlled the clock, led most of the game and neutralized Ralph Bolden my heart was in my throat until the last second. I should say until the officials stopped putting seconds back on the clock. What the hell???? Tacking on 5 extra seconds was ridiculous, as was the "incomplete pass" call. I was losing it, as were most Huskie fans. Jerry Kill looked calm by comparison. It would have been interesting to see what my blood pressure was at that point, not good I'm sure.
I kept a running diary of the game but there's no way I'm punching that thing back in. Here are a few select comments from my notes:
- Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan badly beat Adam Kiel for a sack in the first quarter and the announcers mentioned what a monster he is. I thought the Huskies would have to give Kiel some help but he did pretty well the rest of the game. It's too bad Kerrigan didn't commit to NIU when offered a few years back, along with about half the Purdue team. Kerrigan, Joe Holland, Dennis Kelley, Dan Dierking, Albert Evans, Kris Cooke (snicker)...
- Coverage was poor on the punt returned for a TD and I thought NIU's kick coverage was poor throughout the game. They need to look at that.
- A second quarter Purdue drive was stopped by a blitzing Brandon Bice on a third down play. The interesting thing was that the Huskies used a three man line with Bice lined up at middle linebacker on that play, one of several unusual formations they deployed on the day. They certainly were effective.
- When was the last time a Huskie back took a long one to the house like Meco did? That was nice to see. The Huskie offense will develop more big play ability in coming seasons as these young guys mature.
- I mentioned to my son, hey look, Reed Cunningham is in the game, I bet they throw to him. Next play: touchdown to Cunningham. That was crazy.
- Here's the other side of my prognistication coin. I said to my son, it sure is good they don't have a mobile quarterback like Justin Siller in the game, it would be much tougher on the Huskie D. Next play: Elliott runs up the middle to the house. That was downright scary.
- I went absolutely nuts when Harnish threw the 2 yard pass to Palmer on third and four, the play before the fake punt. I actually wrote "Ballgame" in my notes, I was that sure they would blow it. After I calmed down I conceded that at least the complete pass kept the clock moving so it wasn't a complete disaster. And of course the next play made it moot.
- Great block by Ron Newcomb on the fake punt.
- To my son, hey look, Panan Tense is in the game. Next play: holding on Tense. I need to keep quiet during the game.
- Don't even get me started on the officials at the end. Major flashbacks of every time we've been hosed against BCS opponents over the years. Fortunately even the officials couldn't pull this one out.
Great win, now let's get ready for Idaho. They look to be much, much improved since the last time we played them.