Sunday, September 7, 2008

Purdue 42, UNC 10

Writing from the perspective of someone who cannot make it too the games enough, but still is passionate regarding Purdue Football, can be a bit of a setback. However, I still try and take the time to at least listen to the games on the radio.

So with the ice broken, let’s look at this week’s victory over the Northern Colorado Bears from the Football Championship Subdivision or as I like to say it, The Artist Formerly Known as Division 2.

On Offense: As T-Mill from Off the Tracks puts it, vanilla, is how the offensive game rolled out today. Curtis Painter could have been a lot more effective today. While his statistics really don’t tell this story, 286 yards and two scores with no interceptions, his completion percentage isn’t where it needs to be to be able to compete against the better competition which begins next week. Throughout the game he hovered around 50-55% completion range and the way our offense lives and dies with the pass with short to medium range passes, that has to be a higher percentage to be successful later this season. We utilize the pass to setup the runs and if we are not completing a higher percentage, then we hamstring other phases of our offense.

On third downs, we were right were we should be against a solid opponent, 6/11, but against a D2 team we should be completing a higher percentage than this.

Kory Sheets could have had a better day, if we handed the ball too him more. I think he took pretty good advantage of his opportunities when they presented themselves. 16 carries for 81 yards and two scores is a solid day at the office, oh, and I don’t recall him fumbling. Nice work! I wanted to see Ralph Bolden on the field and Justin Siller a little bit in preview of what the future holds for RB.

The receiving team turned in a pleasant surprise. The largely documented unknown commodity coming out of camp this year put up decent numbers today. However, there football did not get spread around like it usually does. Also, I had higher expectations for Greg Orton as our leader. He finally made his presence felt in the game, but not until the game was soundly put away. I expect him to have a larger influence on the outcome of games going forward. Desmond Tardy was impressive, showing some big play ability. And Keith Smith had his first career touchdown as a boiler. Congrats!

On Defense: We gave up 338 yards to a D2 opponent. I am not sure how I feel about that. One player had a fairly exceptional day against us, Ryan Chelsa, whose name was called on plays too many times. I.e. he was always open…

Anthony Heygood missed a couple tackles. Gerald Gooden made his presence felt. And Frank Duong showed he belongs.

For the most part, we held the Bears in check. The only touchdown coming in trash minutes of the game. I felt we were a little soft of coverage, which might be more of me not giving the QB from UNC enough credit, it sounded like he was operating the offense pretty competently.

Special teams made a significant impact on this game. Frank Halliburton’s two blocked punts isn’t something you see everyday. Also, you have to feel good about Mike Conway’s return for a TD. The return game was solid again, with Sheets and Tardy breaking off large returns. However, I am not sold that this performance really will transpose to better competition later on.

Final thoughts: The defense performed better than I predicted, but still left me concerned regarding next week. The offense was taking a lackadaisical approach to the game, which REALLY has me concerned. Maybe it was the injuries, maybe they were not concerned about winning, I don’t know, but it needs to change quickly. I am always looking for a sense of urgency with our offense, and this week we didn’t have it.

My initial predictions for this week were Purdue 42, UNC 27. It ended up Purdue 42, UNC 10. So I cannot say that the defense didn’t show up.

My predictions for next week: Oregon 35, Purdue 24: Hopefully the offense can get its sense of urgency back and play with a bit more athletic tension.

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