The once proud “Cradle of Quarterbacks” has become a quagmire of quarterbacks and one look back at the 2015 season is all the proof one needs. It was a disastrous year three for head coach Darrell Hazell’s rebuilding effort, and a look squarely at the quarterback stats give a good glimpse in to the bleakness that surrounds this program.
Still, there could be some brightness awaiting this program thanks to a ton of youth getting playing time over the last two seasons. What exactly did 2015 look like and tell us about where this program was heading?
Let’s take a look at the good, the bad and all the ugly that was the Purdue Boilermakers 2015 football season.
In the Hazell era, any win in Big Ten competition is a plus, as it has happened just once heading in to the 2015 season. He managed to add to that B1G win total and do it in an impressive win over Nebraska in front of the home fans.
Purdue found an offensive surge for once, and wound up with the biggest win of the Hazell era, 55-45, over the visiting Huskers. Sure, Nebraska was having a down season, but compared to Purdue the programs are light years apart.
One wouldn’t have known it on Halloween day in 2015 though, as redshirt freshman quarterback David Blough pulled some magic out of his hat. Blough went 28 of 43 passing for 274 yards and four touchdowns on the day.
No doubt about it, this was the high water moment for a team that would ultimately regress to a 2-10 overall record after improving to 3-9 following Hazell’s initial season in West Lafayette, Ind.
After showing up in the strangest way possible, many believed Purdue had found the spark to get something going on offense…at least enough to compete well over the final month of the season.
Then, Illinois happened the very next week and Purdue was back to putting up less-than-stellar point totals and looking more like the team struggling for an identity than one that could be led by Blough to a successful finish to the season.
It was supposed to be a battle of two pretty bad defenses, and Illinois coming off a three-game stretch in which it averaged 11 points against Iowa, Wisconsin and Penn State’s defense. Apparently Purdue’s defense was just what the doctor ordered…same for the Boilermakers offense.
Just as quickly as hope sprang up the week before, it came crashing down to earth with a brutal loss. Sure, it was on the road, but Illinois should’ve been a winnable road game if the Boilers were able to win against Nebraska the week before.
It’s hard to sugarcoat anything about the 2015 season for the Boilermakers. After all, a 2-10 season isn’t exactly anything to write home about. Between juggling quarterbacks once again, an offense that averaged just 4.8 yards per game and scored just 25.1 points per game…let’s just say the offense was once again the ugly part of the Purdue season.
No doubt the defense wasn’t stout enough for most of the season, but it is hard when you are playing from behind and on the field for the majority of the game as well. Opponents had fewer total plays than the Boilermakers did in 2015, and that certainly shows the short fields the defense often were faced with working with.
If this team has any hope of progressing, it needs to come from the offensive side of the ball and outside of finding a solid running back in Markell Jones, the offense of Purdue in 2015 was downright ugly.
What It All Means For 2016
Simply put, not much. It has been three years of the same thing for Darrell Hazell and Co. and not much is changing any time soon. Some of the best players Hazell has had are graduated and the mess that this program is in is much bigger than just a new head coach. This program needs an overhaul from top to bottom and an AD that cares enough about football to not do it on the super-cheap anymore. We’ll see if that actually happens though.