The Purdue Boilermakers started off the 2012 season very strongly, but have come crashing down to earth in recent weeks. Purdue started off the campaign at 3-1, with their only loss coming on a last second field goal to the fifth ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish. It was Purdue’s best start in five years.
Since then they have lost two straight blowouts at home to the Michigan Wolverines and Wisconsin Badgers respectively. The Boilermakers were outscored 82-27 in those contests. More troubling though is that Michigan and Wisconsin were both struggling coming into those games and the Boilermakers couldn’t have asked for a better time to play them. Beating one of those teams could have really made a statement that Purdue was ready to turn a corner. Instead the Boilermakers were beaten badly on the ground as they gave up 235 yards rushing to Denard Robinson and 247 yards to Montee Ball in back-to-back weeks.
Coach Danny Hope has used this week to focus on improving the run defense as the team worked on tackling, gap play, and better alignment at practice. It’s not like things are going to get any easier this week for the Boilermakers as they will head into Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Quarterback, and potential Heisman candidate Braxton Miller, could easily run all over the field on the Boilermakers if they are not careful. They are going to have to be disciplined and keep him in the pocket, if they don’t want to see another performance like Robinson had two weeks ago.
Although Purdue has played poorly in recent weeks, they have also been dealing with an injury report as long as the Dead Sea Scrolls. Their top receiver O.J. Ross is questionable this week with turf toe, kick returner Raheem Mostert could miss up to four weeks with a strained knee, and cornerback Ricardo Allen has two sore ankles. Not to mention running back Ralph Bolden just returned last week from ACL surgery and defensive tackle Bruce Gaston is battling an injured hamstring.
All the while backup quarterback Robert Marve continues to gut it out with a torn ACL. Marve saw action in relief last week against the Badgers, which had some questioning Hope’s logic in yanking out starter Caleb TerBush so quickly. Hope said this week TerBush will get the nod and should stay in for a substantial amount of time.
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