When did you know she was the one? Often the answer is something along the lines of “when you know, you just know.”
Usually we’re talking about getting married to the love of your life and not a football team though.
For Purdue football fans, they may be feeling like they are back in love with their program after Friday night’s 44-21 victory over the Ohio Bobcats.
Oh, and their “when did you know” moment likely came on Friday night as well.
Purdue hosted the Ohio Bobcats and promptly trounced the visitors 44-21 in front of a crowd of 45,633 at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Perhaps the attendance should be the first dead giveaway that something is different. I mean, there were more butts in seats than not, and that is certainly different from the final few seasons of the previous regime.
But, beyond that, Purdue actually handled a game from start to finish against a halfway decent opponent. Let’s just say beating down a MAC opponent was a tough one for any Darrell Hazell-led team.
Even trick plays were working on Friday night, as Brohm dialed up the old hand-off, reverse, pitch to the QB and drop a 62-yard bomb for a touchdown play. That opened up a 24-7 lead for Purdue and they were never really troubled again.
Purdue scored 24 unanswered points to take a 34-7 lead just before halftime and then dominated following an early third quarter touchdown by the Bobcats.
Tell me again how Hazell’s teams could rip off 24 points against anyone, let alone make them unanswered?
All of this came on the back of a competitive performance and near upset of ACC favorite Louisville in the season opener.
It is nearly impossible to ignore the night and day difference in confidence, pride and offensive firepower from a season ago. Purdue’s defense may still be giving up points, but it is also creating opportunities for the offense to make up for any points given up.
The Boilermakers have recovered five fumbles through two games and are starting to show they won’t be an easy team to run on either. Ohio gained just 160 yards on the ground, which is sadly a marked improvement for Purdue’s defense.
Of course, one can’t overreact to a single victory over a MAC program if you’re in the Big Ten. But, if you can’t see the marked improvement from the Boilermakers in 2017 then there isn’t much more that can be done to convince you.
There is still the matter of a defense that seems to be a sieve against just about anyone and a team counting on a lot of youth to step up to the plate weekly. There are bound to be growing pains given those two factors.
I’m also not saying the Boilermakers are suddenly West division or Big Ten title contenders either. But, I am saying Purdue won’t be the doormat it has been since Darrell Hazell arrived a few long, agonizing years ago.
For now, Boilermaker fans need to revel in the fact that their athletic department finally got a football coaching hire right for once.