Heading into 2018, it was going to be hard to figure Jeff Brohm’s squad out.
Four wins seemed to be the floor, but trying to find more than 6 wins was going to be difficult. The defense was in full-on rebuild mode, which meant the offense would have to be able to outscore the opponent.
I’m not saying there wasn’t hope that there would be a repeat bowl bid, but the path to get there was murky as ever.
Let’s take a look back and see how the Boilermakers got to Nashville.
There was plenty of reason to be excited. Jeff Brohm had spurned an offer from Tennessee. Some kid from his high school alma mater named Rondale Moore was inbound and there was plenty of buzz about him. Questions lingered though as the defense that led the team in 2017 was now a point of weakness.
On top of that, the schedule lent no favors.
What followed was an 0-3 start that no one would have predicted. But what really left a bad taste was the way that Purdue was losing.
- Against Northwestern, Rondale Moore shined but a boneheaded penalty by Lorenzo Neal kept the good guys from getting the ball back.
- Against Eastern Michigan, the run game led the way in a monsoon, but the offense kept stalling out and another set of boneheaded penalties left the door open and a last second field goal doomed the Boilers.
- That set up an offensive explosion with Missouri. It looked like a blowout early but David Blough stepped up and went toe-to-toe with Drew Lock. If not for a questionable review which forced Purdue to tie the game instead of going for the win, the Boilers could have pulled out one of the most exciting games in Ross-Ade.
Things started to turn around, though. An upset of Boston College and catching Nebraska and Illinois at the right time set up a prime time matchup with Ohio State. The Buckeyes were ranked #2, but Purdue had the nation’s attention with Tyler Trent’s amazing story debuting on College Gameday.
With ‘CANCER SUCKS’ being yelled during each kickoff, DJ Knox, Isaac Zico, and that Rondale Moore guy ran roughshod over the Buckeyes en route to a 49-20 beatdown which will be spoken of for a fair amount of time to come.
Unfortunately, the momentum could not be maintained. Purdue dropped 3 of 5 down the stretch, including headscratchers at Michigan State and Minnesota, to fall out of B1G West contention. There was an “upset” of a ranked Iowa team, and the Boilers once again reigned supreme in the Bucket Game to get to 6 wins and a matchup with the Auburn Tigers in the Music City Bowl.
I’d rather not go into what happened in Nashville again. Let’s just don’t go there, mmkay?
- Tyler Trent
- Three wins over ranked opponents
- Pretty much destroying Ohio State’s CFP hopes
- Rondale Moore’s electrifying playmaking
- Back-to-back Bowl bids
- Cancer Sucks!
- Keeping our coach
- That Music City Bowl game
- Having a “Boner of the Week” award named for your team
- Defensive Depth (help is on the way)
- Tyler Trent’s passing (Seriously, Cancer Sucks.)
- Letdowns after the Ohio State and Iowa wins
- Settling for a field goal on 4th-and-1 against Wisconsin
There’s plenty to look forward to in 2019:
- Rondale Moore will once again be lighting up the stat sheet.
- Purdue is once again challenging themselves in the scheduling department with a trip to Nevada while hosting Vanderbilt and TCU.
- Fortunately, the B1G schedule looks to be a bit more friendly.
With the most talented recruiting class the Boilers have seen in quite some time, there will be a chance to build some depth in badly needed places. Coach Brohm is secured for the time being, and the future is looking better in West Lafayette.