CFN Take: Purdue Loses Late To Hoosiers
Posted Nov 28, 2014

Purdue Boilermakers 2014 ... Head Coach: Darrell Hazell

Purdue Boilermakers
2014 Schedule
2014 Record: 3-9

Aug. 30 Western Mich W 43-34
Sep. 6 Central Michigan L 38-17
Sep. 13 N Dame (in Ind) L 30-14
Sep. 20 Southern Illinois W 35-13
Sep. 27 Iowa L 24-10
Oct. 4 at Illinois W 38-27
Oct. 11 Michigan State L 45-31
Oct. 18 at Minnesota L 39-38
Nov. 1 at Nebraska L 35-14
Nov. 8 Wisconsin L 34-16
Nov. 22 Northwestern L 38-14
Nov. 29 at Indiana L 23-16

Nov. 29 at Indiana 23, Purdue 16
And You Care Because … Zander Diamont ran for a one-yard score with 27 seconds to play to give Indiana the win and complete the fourth quarter comeback. Purdue turned the ball over four times, but the defense held on, for the most part, forcing three Griffin Oakes field goals, but it also gave up a 41-yard Shane Wynn touchdown dash. Purdue’s offense moved the ball, but it had to settle for three Paul Griggs field goals. The Boilermakers took a 13-3 lead in the third on an Akeem Hunt 82-yard run, but it was IU over the final 25 minutes going on a 20-3 run.
What Else? Indiana RB Tevin Coleman ran 29 times for 130 yards
- Purdue RB Akeem Hunt ran 19 times for 171 yards and a score
- Indiana QB Zander Diamont completed 15-of-24 passes for 119 yards, and ran 11 times for 34 yards and a touchdown
- Turnovers: Purdue 4 – Indiana 2
Game Rating: B

Nov. 22 at Northwestern 38, Purdue 14
And You Care Because … Northwestern shocked Purdue right away with a fast scoring drive finishing with a 25-yard Dan Vitale touchdown catch, and a nine-yard Justin Jackson run and a 64-yard Tony Jones punt return for a score on the way to a 24-0 lead. The Boilermakers scored late in the first half on a 19-yard Akeem Hunt touchdown, but it was all Northwestern in the second half highlighted with a 68-yard Jackson dash in the fourth.
What Else? Turnovers: Purdue 5 – Northwestern 2
- Northwestern RB Justin Jackson ran 23 times for 147 yards and two scores
- Purdue QB Austin Appleby completed 26-of-48 passes for 251 yards and two scores and two touchdowns
- Northwestern QB Trevor Siemian completed 7-of-12 passes for 93 yards and a score with a pick before suffering a leg injury.
Game Rating: D

Nov. 8 Wisconsin 34, at Purdue 16
And You Care Because … Melvin Gordon ran for a 14-yard score and took a pass 27 yards for a score as Wisconsin got up in the first quarter and stayed there. Joel Stave threw two touchdown passes, and Tanner McEvoy ran for a 13-yard score as Wisconsin always had an answer for Purdue points. The Boilermakers got three Paul Griggs field goals including bombs from 53 and 52 yards out, and Akeem Hunt caught a 79-yard touchdown pass for the Boilermakers, but they couldn’t get closer than eight points after the second quarter.
What Else? Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon ran 25 times for 205 yards and a score, and caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown
- Purdue QB Austin Appleby completed 17-of-37 passes for 204 yards and a touchdown
- Wisconsin LB Vince Biegel made seven tackles with three sacks and four tackles for loss
- Rushing yards: Wisconsin 264 – Purdue 26
Game Rating: C

Nov. 1 at Nebraska 35, Purdue 14
And You Care Because … With Ameer Abdullah out with a knee injury that reportedly wasn’t serious, Imani Cross took over the ground game with two short scoring runs to go along with a 29-yard Tommy Armstrong Jr. scoring dash and a 17-yard pass to De’Mornay Pierson-El on the way to a 28-7 lead. Purdue tied it at seven on a 25-yard Austin Appleby run, and made it interesting in the fourth on a 23-yard Cameron Posey catch, but the Huskers turned a turnover into a seven-yard Terrell Newby run to put it away.
What Else? Nebraska RB Imani Cross ran 20 times for 66 yards and two touchdowns
- Purdue QB Austin Appleby completed 18-of-46 passes for 216 yards and a score with two interceptions, and ran seven times for 23 yards and a touchdown
- Nebraska QB Tommy Armstrong Jr. completed 8-of-21 passes for 118 yards and a score with two interceptions, and ran 13 times for a team-high 70 yards and a score
- Third down conversions: Nebraska 4-of-14 (2-of-3 on fourth) – Purdue 2-of-16 (1-of-6 on fourth)
Game Rating: C-

Oct. 18 at Minnesota 39, Purdue 38
And You Care Because … In a back-and-forth game full of wild big plays, Minnesota came up with a great second half with several long plays leading the way to a six-yard Mitch Leidner touchdown run, a 37-yard K.J. Maye scoring catch, and two Ryan Santoso field goals including a 52-yarder to put the Gophers up for good by one in the final five minutes. The D came up with a stop on Cedric Thompson’s second interception, and the offense ran out the clock. Purdue got three touchdown passes and a one-yard scoring run from Austin Appleby, but it was the running game that controlled the game for a while with Raheem Mostert taking off for a 42-yard touchdown as part of a huge day on the ground. Minnesota started off the scoring with a two-yard David Cobb touchdown run and stayed in the game with a three-yard Donnell Kirkwood run, but Purdue owns the second quarter with 17 straight points. Minnesota had the answer in the second half.
What Else? Rushing yards: Purdue 298 – Minnesota 285
- Purdue QB Austin Appleby completed 16-of-26 passes for 153 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions, and ran ten times for 79 yards and a score
- Minnesota RB David Cobb ran 35 times for 194 yards and a touchdown
- Minnesota QB Mitch Leidner completed 9-of-18 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and ran 13 times for 84 yards and a score
Game Rating: A

Oct. 11 Michigan State 45, at Purdue 31
And You Care Because … Michigan State got up 21-3 on a 39-yard Tony Lippett touchdown catch and two-yard runs from Nick Hill and Josiah Price, but Purdue would fight back. Akeem Hunt ran for a three-yard score, and Austin Appleby found B.J. Knauf for a nine-yard touchdown to pull the Boilermakers to within seven at the end of the first half. The Spartans seemed to have things well in hand again on a second Hill touchdown run and a 13-yard Aaron Burbridge catch, but Purdue wouldn’t go away with Hunt taking off for touchdown runs from 52 and three yards out to pull within seven late. With the ball in the final minutes, Purdue had one last shot, but Darien Harris picked off an Appleby pass for a touchdown and to seal the win.
What Else? Total yards: Michigan State 532 – Purdue 340
- Purdue RB Akeem Hunt ran 12 times for 96 yards and three touchdowns
- Michigan State RB Jeremy Langford ran 13 times for 104 yards, and Nick Hill ran nine times for 72 yards and two scores
- Purdue WR Danny Anthrop caught nine passes for 133 yards, Michigan State WR Tony Lippett caught seven passes for 138 yards and a score
Game Rating: B+

Oct. 4 Purdue 38, at Illinois 27
And You Care Because … Purdue gashed Illinois with big play after big play, getting a 44-yard touchdown run from Raheem Mostert and a 54-yard dash from Akeem Hunt to overcome a 14-7 deficit and put on an offensive show. Austin Appleby threw one touchdown pass for the Boilermakers, but he made it a big one with an 80-yard scoring play to Danny Anthrop to go along with two one-yard touchdown runs. Illinois came up with big plays of its own, and got two Wes Lunt touchdown passes, but the run defense couldn’t handle the Purdue ground game.
What Else? Purdue QB Austin Appleby completed 15-of-20 passes for 202 yards and a score, and ran seven times for 76 yards and two touchdowns
- Illinois QB Wes Lunt completed 27-of-39 passes for 332 yards and two touchdowns. Mike Dudek caught eight passes for 200 yards
- Purdue RB Akeem Hunt ran 30 times for 177 yards and a touchdown
- Total yards: Purdue 551 – Illinois 515
Game Rating: B-

Sept. 27 Iowa 24, at Purdue 10
And You Care Because … Purdue took a 10-0 lead on a pick six from Frankie Williams and a 42-yard Paul Griggs field goal, and then it was all Iowa the rest of the way scoring 24 unanswered points with Mark Weisman running for scores from two and five yards out and Kevonte Martin-Manley taking a C.J. Beathard pass 23 yards for a score. Purdue’s offense sputtered and coughed the entire second half, finishing with just 156 yards on the day.
What Else? Iowa RB Mark Weisman ran 24 times for 76 yards and two touchdowns
- Purdue RB Akeem Hunt ran 14 times for 90 yards, and he caught five passes for 27 yards
- Purdue QB Danny Etling completed 11-of-26 passes for 61 yards with a pick, and Austin Appleby completed 2-of-6 passes for 11 yards with an interception
- First downs: Iowa 22 – Purdue 9
Game Rating: C+

Sept. 20 Purdue 35, Southern Illinois 13
And You Care Because … A couple of early turnovers put Southern Illinois in a hole from which it could never dig out in West Lafayette. Purdue capitalized on the mistakes, opening up a 25-0 cushion that the Salukis were never able to erase. Boilermaker QB Danny Etling had his hand in the first three touchdowns, two through the air and one on a one-yard plunge.
What Else? Etling finished the afternoon 15-of-26 for 198 yards and those two touchdown passes. His favorite target was Danny Anthrop, who caught five balls for 106 yards.
- Southern Illinois QB Mark Iannotti struggled against a Big Ten defense, completing just 24-of-45 throws for 248 yards and an interception. He did find WR MyCole Pruitt 10 times for 136 yards.
- The Boilermakers succeeded in achieving balance in the victory. Their 381 yards were almost evenly distributed, with backs Keyante Green and Akeem Hunt both averaging more than five yards per carry.
- Southern Illinois was successful on third downs, converting 10-of-18 attempts. However, an inability to finish drives was a key reason why the Salukis didn’t reach the end zone until late in the third quarter.
Game Rating: D

Sept. 13 Notre Dame 30, Purdue 14 in Indianapolis
And You Care Because … Notre Dame sputtered early, but Everett Golson saved the day with a 15-yard touchdown run late in the first half and a 15-yard scoring play to Corey Robinson as part of a run of 20 unanswered points. Purdue took a 14-10 lead on the second of two Danny Etling touchdown passes, but the banged up Irish defense held the Boilermakers off the scoreboard over the final 33 minutes.
What Else? Notre Dame QB Everett Golson completed 25-of-40 passes for 259 yards, and ran 14 times for 56 yards and a score.
- Purdue QB Danny Etling completed 27-of-40 passes for 234 yards and two scores with two picks.
- Notre Dame RB Amir Carlisle suffered an injured knee, and defensive backs Cole Luke (neck) and Nicky Baratti (shoulder) were hurt.
- Notre Dame DE Romeo Okwara led the team with 11 tackles with a half a sack and a forced fumble.
Game Rating: C+

Sept. 6 Central Michigan 38, Purdue 17
And You Care Because … Central Michigan got out to a 14-0 first quarter lead and was up 21-7 at halftime, and was never truly threatened the rest of the way. Brandon Greer returned an interception 57 yards for a touchdown, and Anthony Rice caught a 65-yard touchdown pass to get things started for CMU, and Thomas Rawls put it away with his second touchdown run of the game, scoring from 16 yard out. Purdue tried to rally with Austin Appleby hitting Danny Anthrop for a 23-yard score, but 31-17 was as close as it got late.
What Else? Thomas Rawls was brilliant, running 31 times for 155 yards and two scores and catching three passes for 50 yards for CMU.
- Purdue has a quarterback issue now. Danny Etling completed 17-of-32 passes for 126 yards and two scores including the pick six, but he tied for the team lead with 53 rushing yards and a score on ten carries.
- The CMU defensive front did a nice job of controlling the Purdue backs. Joe Ostman made two sacks, but the linebackers got the job done to keep the big plays to a minimum.
- Purdue didn’t abandon the running game, but it didn’t work. Raheem Mostert ran for 53 yards, but couldn’t get free averaging 2.8 yards per carry, and Akeem Hunt ran just three times for nine yards.
Game Rating: C+

Aug. 30 at Purdue 43, Western Michigan 34
And You Care Because … In a nip-and-tuck game, Purdue seemed to take control in the third quarter on an 11-yard Raheem Mostert touchdown run and an eight-yard touchdown catch from Gabe Holmes, but Western Michigan wouldn’t go away. Jarvion Franklin ran for three scores and Zach Terrell threw for two second half scores to make it close, but when Purdue had to, it went on a long march finished off by a 38-yard Akeem Hunt scoring run to put it away.
What Else? Danny Etling didn’t set the world on fire, completing just 19-of-38 passes for 181 yards and two scores, but he marched Purdue down the field when he absolutely had to. Fortunately, the running game saved the day with Raheem Mostert running for 146 yards and a score and Akeem Hunt rumbling for 78 yards and a touchdown.
- It was Frankie Williams who changed around the game with two big punt returns and an interception return for Purdue. He turned the momentum around just when it seemed like WMU kept being on the verge of taking over.
- The WMU defense might have struggled, but at least the offense produced with Jarvion Franklin coming up with a huge performance running 19 times for 163 yards and three scores. Daniel Braverman caught ten passes for 130 yards to take the pressure off of Corey Davis – now defenses have to worry about more weapons.
- The two defensive fronts have to come up with something different in a big hurry. Neither one did enough against the run to make either coaching staff happy. Both have to get into the backfield more.
Game Rating: B+

2014 Preview 

Does Darrell Hazell have any tricks up his sleeve to turn around a nose-diving Purdue program?

It’s not like the Boilermakers were scaring anyone, but they went from a bowl appearance in 2012 – granted, it ended with a 58-14 stomping from Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl – to a 1-11 season that should’ve and could’ve been winless, needing everything in the bag to beat Indiana State.

The defense was bad, the offense worse, and it wasn’t as if Hazell did anything impressive to inspire confidence that he’s the guy who can make Purdue football relevant in the new Big Ten West. So is this just a big rebuilding job in the hopes of a payoff that came for Kent State in 2012 under Hazell’s watch, or was last year the sign of big, big problems ahead.

This is a young team, but there’s experience returning with 16 starters back. Hazell’s biggest issue, though, is showing that all the veterans can produce, and even more importantly, finding the right parts from the recruiting class and from the depth last year to rely on.

There’s little star power to count on, and that’s a problem in a Big Ten season with plenty of leaders and big names to rally around – but that just means the expectations for Purdue football are going to be that much lower. That might not be what Hazell is looking for, but at the very least, his team can sneak up on everyone.

The opportunity is there, though, to rebound and come up with a far better season, helped by a much, much easier schedule that’s tailor-made for bowl eligibility, but first, Purdue has find something that works.

To be fair, outside of Indiana State and Illinois, it’s not like there were any real breathers on last year’s slate. Indiana wasn’t that awful, and seven teams finished with nine wins or more. Throw in Iowa and Penn State – who each finished with winning records – and maybe, just maybe, everything was so bad because Purdue played better teams. That’s not really the case this season with Western Michigan, Central Michigan, Southern Illinois just a few of the winnable games.

But Boilermaker fans aren’t looking just to go to a bowl – how is it possible to be competitive again in the Big Ten race? More importantly, can Hazell be the guy to do it?

He parlayed his one great season at Kent State into the next job, but it remains to be seen if he really is a rising star that Purdue was able to snag, or if he’s in a bad situation and he’s going to need lots and lots of time before everyone figures out whether or not this can work.

Following one of the worst seasons in Purdue football history, he had better show that things are about to change. And soon.

What to watch for on offense: The running game has the potential to be far more dangerous The biggest problem last season was an offense that never seemed to get the ball to its key players in places where they could do anything with it. RB Akeem Hunt is an electrifying kick returner and good veteran, and fellow RB Raheem Mostert has the speed to make big things happen every time he touches the ball, and now they have to start throwing a scare into opposing defenses.

Yards after the catch were almost non-existent at times, and the ground attack averaged a pathetic 2.5 yards per carry with six touchdowns, coming up with 805 yards on the year. The line has to help, and it could with just enough options coming into bring a little thump, but it all comes down to Mostert and Hunt. Granted, a quarterback has to take the heat off by improving the passing game, but the two most promising running backs need to work behind veteran fullback Brandon Cottom, get into space, and start cranking out a few big runs here and there.

What to watch for on defense: Will there ever be a pass rush? The Boilermakers generated 22 sacks in both 2011 and 2012, and 31 in 2009 and 2010. Last season, it was next to impossible to get anyone up front to breathe on a quarterback, with five of the 14 sacks coming against Indiana State and four coming against Iowa and Illinois. Four of the final six games were sackless, and tackles for loss were hard to come by, too. It’s time for Ryan Russell to be the next superstar, Ryan Kerrigan type at one end, but it hasn’t happened so far. The defensive tackles were considered a plus with Kawann Short and Bruce Gaston doing their thing in recent years, but now the D will be relying on a few young, untested options to shore things up. Who can break free to be disruptive? The defense has to start creating its own opportunities.

The team will be far better if… the offense can move the ball a little bit. A big chunk of the problems came from an inability to keep the chains moving, and it showed with no long possessions, no time taken off the clock, a gassed defense at times, and too much work needed to get back into games. Purdue lost the first quarter 101 to 35 last season, and part of the reason was a 31% clip on third downs. A bad running game meant long downs and distances, and the quarterbacks rarely came through in time to change games around. Purdue isn’t built to grind, but it can bring a little more explosion if the line provides the time and if a starting quarterback emerges. It’ll be hard to be competitive, though, if the offense can’t stay on the field.

The Schedule: Will the team be any better? It has to take advantage of the MAC games against Western Michigan and Central Michigan to open, and it can't slip up against Southern Illinois after going to Notre Dame on Saturday night September 13th. But where are the Big Ten wins going to come from?

The winnable conference games on the schedule – Illinois, Minnesota and Indiana – are all on the road, and while some of the toughest games are at home, it's hardly a given that games in West Lafayette will help against Michigan State and Wisconsin. Even though there's a week off in the mix, a mid-season stretch of three road games in four – going to Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska, and hosting Michigan State, will be tough. There's another week off to rest up before closing out with Northwestern and Indiana.

Best offensive player: Senior RB Akeem Hunt. At the very least, he’s going to split time with Raheem Mostert, if not lose the starting job at times, but he has proven that he can be the main man for the offense – even if it’s not going anywhere. A fantastic kick returner, he averaged over 26 yards per pop, and he led the team in rushing. Fine, so he only ran for 464 yards, but fullback Brandon Cottom was No. 2 with just 154. Hunt has the hands, the speed and the experience to do far more, but someone has to block for him.

Best defensive player: Senior DE Ryan Russell. Consider this more of a hope than a sure thing. He has the size to be a top-shelf run stopper, and he has the ability and athleticism to grow into a top pass rusher. Now it has to happen after struggling with just two sacks and not nearly enough disruptive plays. The line gets three new starters – likely all sophomores – and more than ever, teams will be able to key on stopping Russell. He has to use his tools and his experience to build off a good offseason and start to become dangerous. He has to be too good to stop.

Key players to a successful season: Sophomore QB Danny Etling. It might be his job for the moment after taking the reins and struggling in place of Rob Henry, but there are good options nipping at his heels. Austin Appleby is a big passer who was every bit as good as Etling this offseason, but the real upside is in David Blough, a baller of a playmaker who might be the type of true freshman who can handle all the pressure right away. The coaching staff won’t sit tight for long if the production isn’t there – the schedule is too light to not be good offensively right away. Etiling has the experience, and he bombed away fo 485 yards and four scores in the season-ending loss to Indiana, but that might not be enough.

The season will be a success if ... Purdue wins four games. Western Michigan and Central Michigan have to be must-wins at home to double last season’s victory total by September 6th. Southern Illinois needs to be a win to make it 3-1 – assuming a loss to Notre Dame. Purdue will probably be the underdog the rest of the way, but they might be just good enough to rise up and tag an Illinois on the road or Northwestern at home. Four wins with at least one Big Ten victory will seem like a monumental step after last year.

Key game: Aug. 30 vs. Western Michigan. Something has to start to work, and it has to begin with the opener. The Broncos were every bit as disappointing as Purdue was last season, albeit on a smaller scale. Considering how bad the Boilermakers were right out of the gate – getting blasted by Cincinnati and struggling against Indiana State – it would be a very big, very cathartic moment to come out and rip apart WMU. Anything less would an uh-oh moment – it could mean another long season.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Third Quarter Scoring: Opponents 106 – Purdue 35
- Punt Return Average: Purdue 11.6 yards – Opponents 3.3 yards
- Rushing Yards Per Game: Opponents 235.4 – Purdue 67.1

- 2014 Purdue Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players

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