“My prediction: Boilers 31, Auburn 27”
Welp, that aged well, didn’t it?
Purdue rolled into Nashville for their date with Auburn. I followed along on Twitter as several Boiler fans tweeted about the apparent lack of Tiger fans in town leading up to the game. It’s now clear they were laying low ready to spring upon the Boilermaker faithful living it up.
There were concerns about whether or not Purdue’s defense could stop Gus Malzahn’s talented quarterback and whether the lack of depth would affect the Boilers’ ability to stop the run. Those fears were quickly realized as Auburn needed just 49 seconds to strike paydirt. After Purdue’s opening drive stalled out, Stidham and company marched back down the field in 9 plays to make it a quick 14-0 deficit. And it only got worse.
On the next possession, David Blough threw what was one of the ugliest interceptions I’ve ever seen. Three plays later, 21-0.
There was a slight glimmer of hope when Purdue took the next drive for a score on 14 plays which saw Rondale Moore run one in but Auburn quickly slammed the door shut with a 74-yard TD pass to Darius Slayton. The first quarter mercifully ended 28-7 but it continued to get worse. After giving up another long score to Slayton, the Boilers hopes were completely dashed by a deflected pass resulting in a pick six. By the time the first half damage was done, Auburn had set a single half scoring record and it was 56-7. At that point, there was only pride to play for.
If you watched more than the first half of this game, you’re either a sadistic sonuvabitch or a true diehard.
Purdue actually played Auburn even in the second half. Granted, Malzahn showed mercy by pulling his starters halfway through the third quarter. When the dust settled, the final tally was 63-14. Closer to what one would expect from the Tiller-era Bucket games.
So, what happened? Simply put, Purdue was outclassed in talent. As one of my fellow writers put it, this is what happens when an overachieving team meets an underachieving team. Remember, Auburn was a SEC Title Game away from making the CFP last year. They saw a good amount of talent leave for the NFL but they were still expected to challenge Alabama for a spot at the table. They vastly unachieved due to a disastrous stretch of the season that saw many calling for Malzahn’s job.
Jeff Brohm said it best, “This shows just how far we have to go.”