Welcome back for another installment in Talking 10’s “Purdue Week” series. Although most of our articles for “Purdue Week” are focusing on football, this is our weekly chance to check in on all the other athletic success stories going on in West Lafayette.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of 2015-16 and how that will project forward for Boilermaker fans in 2016-17. For a program where no league titles have come since 2013, you have to dig deep. But that’s exactly what we are willing to do here at Talking 10.
Without further ado, let’s see where Purdue succeeded the most this year.
(Matt Painter gives 2015-16 a thumbs up, courtesy Cleveland.com)
After a couple of lean years in 2012-13 and 2013-14 by Purdue basketball standards, Matt Painter has the Boilermaker basketball program back among the elite in the conference once again. This past season, Purdue was nearly unbeatable at home, going 17-1 with the lone loss being the Big Ten home opener against Iowa in January.
That strong home record, coupled with a 12-6 overall conference record, was enough to land a Top-4 seed in the conference tournament. Thanks to a couple of upsets, Purdue was heavily favored to make the championship game and that’s just what the Boilermakers did, dispatching Illinois and Michigan. The final came against what appeared to be a future NCAA one-seed in Michigan State, and Purdue played the Spartans very tough before losing 66-62.
Of course, the season would end on a sour note for both these top Big Ten teams, as both suffered surprising first-round exits (Purdue as a 5-seed, MSU as a 2-seed). Purdue’s exit was particularly frustrating, as Little Rock was down by 13 with 3 and a half minutes to play and yet still came back to survive a double-overtime thriller. That’s how it goes in the NCAA tournament, but hopefully Purdue can continue to improve as the team continues to compete again for Big Ten titles.
A.J. Hammons will be a huge missing piece following his graduation, as he anchored the center of this team over the past few years. The most important thing for a physical team like Purdue is to find those big guys to bang around inside, and junior Isaac Hayes will likely need to take a leadership role at center. With transfer guard Spike Albrecht filling in for the graduated senior guards, Purdue should remain (at worst) in the middle of the pack next season.
More likely, though, is that Coach Painter will find a way to maximize his new players to compete again at the top of the Big Ten.
Women’s Track and Field
(Relays, photo courtesy jconline.com)
Aside from Men’s Basketball, the other athletic teams making the most progress for Purdue in 2015-16 were the men’s and women’s track and field squads. Starting with the indoor season last fall, the women finished strong at the Big Ten Championships, ending up with 4 event titles and a second place finish overall.
The 4×400 relay team finished the championships with a new Big Ten record for that event, running away from the closest competition in Iowa and Ohio State. Devynne Charlton also led the team with a gold medal, a silver medal, and a 4th place finish in her events. Although the same good results did not continue at the NCAA Indoor Championships, the women still had a great season before moving back to spring outdoor track events.
When the Big Ten championships came around for outdoor track and field, the men and women again put up some school records and big performances, putting up their best finishes since the early 2000s. The men finished 3rd in the Big Ten, while the women finished 4th overall.
Speaking of the women’s team, the highlight for them was a 4×100 relay which ended with the event title and gold medal. That, added to a 3rd place finish on the second-best time in program history at the outdoor 4×400 relay, resulted in the Top-4 finish for the Boilermakers. Overall, the men and women sent 22 competitors to the NCAA Outdoor Championships as well to follow up on the Big Ten success.
Looking ahead to next year, the women only lose 9 seniors to graduation, so this program could be building to even better team finishes next season. Expect a few more program and maybe even Big Ten records to fall in 2016-17.
Men’s Golf (and August Kim)
(photo courtesy purduesports.com)
Purdue put together some great finishes throughout the men’s golf season, including a 3-1 record at the conference match play championships which ended as a 3rd-place finish. Led by Fernando Barco and Austin Eoff, the team rolled into the Big Ten championships with what appeared to be a real chance at a conference title.
That did not happen, however, as the Boilermakers had a couple of disappointing days and ended up 6th out of 14 teams. Purdue rebounded in the NCAA Regional in Norman, Oklahoma, finishing in the Top 5 and qualifying for the NCAA national championships for the second time in three seasons. The Boilermakers join Illinois as the only Big Ten teams to qualify for this event in the past three years.
Fernando Barco led the way once again in the Regional with a Top-10 individual finish. Unfortunately for the squad, the national championships did not go as well with the team learning some tough lessons in a 29th place finish. On the bright side, the team rallied to not finish in last place, and most of the team returns with valuable experience for next season.
In this regard, expect better finishes next season and likely another NCAA national championships appearance as leaders Barco, Eoff, and Brian Carlson all return along with a highly-regarded recruiting class. Purdue men’s golf is on the way up, perhaps even to competing with Illinois for a conference crown.
Turning briefly to the women’s side, although the team did not put up great performances this season, August Kim single-handedly pushed the Boilers to a third-place Big Ten championships finish by winning the individual title on the back of an incredible 5-under par last round. She earned All-Region honors in the NCAA Regional and qualified for the national championships as an individual for the second time.
Kim finished 32nd in those national championships, which is 28 spots better than when she was a sophomore. She returns next year for one more run at top finishes, and she could be an outside contender for a top finish if she can make her third nationals appearance next season.
Be sure to continue to support and enjoy these other achievements that the student athletes are bringing home to “Boiler Up!” Nation now and in the near future.
Stay tuned next week as we turn the ATC article series back west to Lincoln. Also, check out previous 2016 ATC articles already done (Michigan State, Minnesota). Have a great week!
Music City Bowl: Auburn takes apart Purdue
After watching fellow Big Ten West division teams Minnesota and Wisconsin demolish opponents to open the bowl season, Purdue got taken apart by Auburn 63-14 in the 2018 Music City Bowl.
The Boilermakers were down for the count before they even knew what hit them. It was 28-7 after the first quarter and 56-7 at the half.
Auburn’s 56 first half points were the most in a half in any bowl game in history and its 63 points were the most by any SEC team ever in a bowl game.
Senior quarterback David Blough wanted to go out on a high note, but finished with just 184 yards and two interceptions without a single touchdown to his name.
Meanwhile, his counterpart at Auburn — Jarret Stidham — need just 15 completions in less than three full quarters of play to rack up 373 yards and five touchdown passes.
It was the first game of head coach Gus Malzahn taking on play calling duties and his offense certainly responded well.
Purdue allowed 586 yards of total offense to the Tigers, who also were 50 percent on third down conversions and averaged 23.6 yards per completion in the game.
About the only bright spot was the play of sensational freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore, who had 11 catches for 94 yards and 104 yards of total offense with a touchdown.
This one will be put in the vault and never seen again by the Boilermakers.
Purdue will now look forward to new goals and hopes of being a player in a suddenly much more competitive Big Ten West division race with the likes of Minnesota, Nebraska and themselves competing on a higher level late in the season.
The next time the Boilermakers will be on the field against a different opponent will be Aug. 31 as they take on the Nevada Wolfpack in Reno.
Jeff Brohm says no to Louisville, will Purdue be his long-term future?
There was much rejoicing in West Lafayette, Ind. on Wednesday night. Head coach Jeff Brohm announced he was staying at Purdue and not leaving for the Lousiville job.
After watching a dormant Purdue football program make a steady and fun rise back to relevancy in just two years under Jeff Brohm, there was real fear that Brohm would be gone.
Brohm’s ties to the Lousiville program are well known, and there’s no doubt he loves the program. But, just a few weeks ago we talked about how the situations of the two programs made the “inevitable” move not so inevitable after all.
It appears that the heartstrings of the team he is building and the things Purdue have promised were enough to keep him from his “dream job.”
“This is by far No. 1. The hardest ever. Not even close,” Brohm said about the decision to stay with the Boilermakers and bypass an opportunity to return home, via the Lafayette Journal and Courier.
Now that that is settled, what does the future really look like for Brohm and the Boilermakers? In the short-term it appears that once again the Board of Trustees is set to increase Brohm’s salary and likely the pool of money for his assistant coaches.
Purdue also has gone all-in on getting better facilities for the football program and those investments are starting to pay off in the form of better recruiting.
Brohm has recruited the No. 25 ranked class in the country. Some of it is no doubt who he is and how his staff is built, but it’s also an equal part what the Boilermakers can sell to recruits once they are on campus.
Top-notch facilities, a fun and honest coach and one of the most prolific offensive schemes in the country make this Purdue team exciting to young and old alike.
All of it adds up to the formula for where Brohm can have long-term success right there in West Lafayette.
Stepping stone to another job? More like here for the long haul. At least that was the signal I got from what this decision meant.
Brohm said as much when speaking to the Journal and Courier on Thursday in that one-on-one interview.
“Purdue’s been great and that’s no shot at Louisville. Louisville was great to me,” Brohm said. “I like it where I’m at and I think we have all the resources we need to continue to get better and improve and try to become a contender and a competitor in a great conference to play at a high level.
“Really, the last place I was at (Western Kentucky) I probably would’ve stayed there forever other than this is a step up in football and I need to do it right here.”
If Brohm wasn’t leaving Purdue for the Lousiville job or for the Tennessee job after last season, what would it really take to pry him away from the Boilermakers program?
The good news for Purdue fans is that what Brohm signaled to the college football world is that it is going to take something really special to pry him away.
We’re talking about Nick Saban retiring, Clemson idiotically running Dabo Sweeney off to the NFL or even the NFL itself calling on Brohm for him to leave.
But the picture of Brohm becoming more like an institution at Purdue than a one-night stand is becoming clear. This could be the moment of clarity where Brohm sets aside any other jobs and focuses on what he has in front of him.
Purdue stepped up to the plate and now Brohm has rewarded their efforts. It’s a marriage that both seem dedicated to for the long haul now.
Is Jeff Brohm to Louisville inevitable?
The last name Brohm and Louisville are about as synonymous as any could be with a single program. After all, Jeff Brohm’s father is the man who laid the foundation for the modern era at Louisville.
So, with Bobby Petrino out as the head coach of the Cardinals it was only natural that speculation would run rampant about the hottest Power 5 head coach in the country — Jeff Brohm.
Brohm has proven what a good leader and a good turnaround artist can look like in college football. But, would he really leave after just two seasons at the helm of the Purdue program?
ESPN personality and Indianapolis radio host Dan Dakich seems to be under that impression. He tweeted out the following on Thursday:
Just earlier this week, Brohm addressed the obvious connections and the speculation that would come with the Louisville opening.
“I’ve heard the noise just like everyone else,” Brohm said during his regular weekly press conference on Monday morning. “I think unfortunately it’s important for me to not comment on any speculation right now. I have a job, and we’ve got work to do, and a lot of it. We’re going to put forth the effort to do that. We’ve got a tough opponent this week, and then we’ve got to go to IU, and we’re going to have to play well, and we’re going to have to play much better than we did last week, so I’m going to stay focused on that, and very appreciative of the job I have right now.”
While that is all well and good, Brohm didn’t exactly smack down the rumors for after this season. He didn’t make a definitive statement that he would be back in 2019 and end the speculation. He chose to say he would focus on the here and now and leave the other stuff open to interpretation.
So, it’s hard to ignore when sources inside the state of Indiana are attempting to break a story about the Louisville-Brohm situation.
It’s also hard to ignore the fact that Brohm is also one of the most private coaches in all of college football. He doesn’t even have an agent to help handle contract negotiations for example.
Given that, is it prudent to believe reports from one source of information as the gospel of what will happen?
After all, we’ve seen this song and dance with plenty of coaching searches in the past. Names were “hired per sources” or the “target of the search” per sources plenty of times in the last three years, only to find out none of it was even true.
Perhaps these sources are angling for some piece of the pie should Brohm move or to stir the pot and force Louisville in a different direction? For those who have never sourced information before, the trick is figuring out the meaning behind the information you are given.
We can also lean on the past to inform us if a rumor or report is true.
In the case of Brohm all we have to do is look to last year to know that he is at least open to the idea of coaching elsewhere. There was serious flirtation between Brohm and Tennessee before Brohm chose to take his name out of the running.
It isn’t as if he has the ties that bind him to Purdue in any meaningful way, and that’s what the Tennessee job flirtation told me.
Additionally, are there multiple reports of this happening?
The good news is that it’s Dan Dakich and Dan Dakich alone making this claim. In the hour since his claim there is not another single credible report of the same information.
Breathe for a moment Purdue fan, it may not be as over as you think it is.
Purdue has money, new facilities in the works and a wide open division. Louisville? That money situation has really dried up, the program and athletic department have taken massive hits and it’ll mean another rebuild just two years after starting his latest project.
Will the power of family connections win out? Maybe…but it isn’t nearly as inevitable as many in the media are leading people to believe.
Until Jeff Brohm or Louisville make that announcement, skepticism remains the smartest option.
Purdue’s Moore puts Big Ten on notice in record-setting debut
There are no moral victories in college football. So, don’t expect the Purdue Boilermakers to be happy about a 31-27 loss to Northwestern in the 2018 season and Big Ten opener.
But, despite the loss at least one individual showcased an ability to tear up Big Ten defenses nearly at will.
That person is true freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore.
All that Moore did was go out and set a single-game record for the most all-purpose yardage with 313 combined yards. He broke Otis Armstrong’s school record, set in 1972 of 312 yards.
It wasn’t just one part of the game that stood out either, as Moore did it as a receiver, a running back and a kick returner too.
Just how impressive was Moore’s debut? He nearly broke the record in just one half of his college football debut. Moore had 302 of his 313 yards in the first half alone.
That first half total broke down like this — 79 rushing, 98 receiving and 125 on kickoff returns.
HIs big night almost looked like it wouldn’t get off the ground though. On the first drive of the game, Moore broke loose up the middle of the Northwestern defense, only to drop a good pass from Elijah Sindelar.
Moore made up for it quickly though. He single-handily put his team back in the game after watching the Wildcats go up 14-0 quickly in the first quarter.
First it was a 32-yard touchdown reception and less than three minutes later it was a 76-yard touchdown run. The rushing touchdown was the longest by a Purdue player since an 82-yard effort from Akeem Hunt back in 2014.
Clearly the stats are impressive, but it was the how it happened that also matters. Moore had the Ross-Ade crowd oohing and awwing and on the edge of their seats every time he touched the ball.
When was the last time that happened?
Brohm being able to get Moore wasn’t just getting lucky with an underrated recruit either. Purdue won a major battle to get him on campus and he came to Purdue as the highest-rated recruit to ever done the black and gold.
He had just about every school in the country seeking out his talent, with Ohio State, Alabama and the like in the mix. Now, some believe those schools soured on him as he didn’t sprout up height wise over the final two years of high school, but that speed man. That speed.
But, it was Purdue that overlooked his lack of height and saw his blazing speed as an asset that could be used.
It was on full display on Thursday night against a quality Northwestern defense and special teams units.
Moore plus Jeff Brohm’s innovative offensive mind could be a very dangerous combo.
It also put the rest of the Big Ten on notice — Purdue isn’t going to go quietly in any game this season.