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How the West was won

The true story of how the Purdue Boilermakers became king of the 2022 B1G West division

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

This Saturday, the world famous Purdue Boilermakers will play in the Big Ten football championship game against the #2 Michigan Wolverines.

Wait a second, how did Purdue win a division? Aren’t they the program that has never beaten Rutgers?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 04 Big Ten Championship Game - Michigan v Iowa
Hello there, Jim.
Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

You are probably thinking to yourself, maybe Purdue has some real NFL prospects for once and their stars carried them to the division title.

Well they have zero all-B1G defenders. Zero all-B1G special teamers. Three all-B1G offensive players but just one first teamer (Charlie Jones). Two of those offensive players are former walk-ons. None of their players are projected to be drafted in the first 4 rounds.

Syndication: The Herald-Times
Charlie Jones is wide open
Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

Okay, so if it’s not the players - is it the play calling?

The defensive coordinator ran a Cover 1 defense regardless of the opponent all year. By continually putting CBs on an island, even mediocre QBs hav3 great games.

The offensive play caller believes that passes are the best way to run out the clock in an end of game situation.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Indiana
Just keep passing, just keep passing
Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Hmmm... perhaps they just outperformed their divisional opponents are even worse than them?

Purdue ranks 47th in SP+ according to an anonymous poster on the internet. They played games against Penn State, Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, and Wisconsin - all of whom are ranked higher.

And yet, despite all this Purdue still went 8-4 (6-3). They did not need to resort to tiebreakers to represent the West division. Their losses were to a) Penn State team in the opener when still finding their football (and learning to play the final two minutes of each half), b) the annual Badger loss, c) the annual bad weather loss, and d) a non-conference game against Syracuse where the team lost all composure and penalized themselves to defeat.

The Boilermakers had no losses to teams with losing records. Here are the other B1G West teams that can say that this season: Minnesota. Of course, unlike Minnesota Purdue also beat some teams that finished over .500.

The journey

Penn State defeats Purdue in closing seconds

Purdue outgained Penn State and led with under a minute to go. Unfortunately the prevent defense the Boilers played at the end of the 1st half and end of the 2nd half gave Penn State 14 points. Even worse, Penn State never stalled in the redzone, while Purdue had to settle for a field goal on one drive and fumbled just outside the redzone on another. The Nittany Lions escaped Ross-Ade with a 4 point victory.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Purdue
Lee got open
Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Road game at a ranked opponent? No problem

The Boilers held the #16 Gophers to just 10 points and only 47 rush yards to beat their first ranked opponent of the year by ten.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Minnesota
Power run game
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Road game at Maryland turns on blocked extra point

The shootout we were promised occurred as Aidan O’Connell and Taulia Tagovailoa battled back and forth. When the Terrapins took the lead midway through the 4th quarter, Cam Allen timed the snap on the extra point perfectly to block the kick. That would end up being the difference maker as Maryland’s two-point conversion attempt to tie later in the game fell short.

Maryland v Purdue Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Purdue beats beloved corn themed team, but gets cursed

Purdue had no answer for Trey Palmer who had 7 receptions for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns plus a 60 yard rush. Frankly, Nebraska didn’t get Palmer the ball enough. Purdue took the Nebraska curse knowing they would lose their next game anyway.

Syndication: Journal-Courier
He’s loose again
Noe Padilla/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Badgers continued streak

You can’t make me talk about wisconsin.

Windstorm aides Iowa, Purdue no longer controls their own destiny

In a day of high winds, Purdue was unable to run their offense while Petras’s 15 yard overthrows were blown back to his receivers. Iowa was in control the whole game as Purdue lost their annual game in bad weather.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Boilers crush hopes of ranked Illini, take home world’s best cannon

In the past 20 years, the Cannon game has rarely mattered unless you count 2nd to last place in the B1G bragging rights as mattering. It mattered in this one though as it pulled Illinois back into the crab bucket/4 way tie in the West while keeping Purdue in the running. With two weeks to go, Purdue needed to win out and have Iowa lose a game to win the division.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Illinois
Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue “writer” suffers in cold to watch Wildcats put scare into Purdue

In freezing temperatures, Purdue high stepped their way to a close victory over Northwestern. The eyes of the Boiler bots turned to the Iowa/Minnesota game.

Syndication: Journal-Courier Noe Padilla / USA TODAY NETWORK

Minnesota continues to hate Purdue

Despite all offers of friendship and comradery, Minnesota has continually been present for the worst moments in Purdue athletics history. The Gophers are a treason bunch and will stab Purdue in the back the moment Boilermakers start to feel the beginning of the emotion called joy. The Minnesota - Iowa game was there for the taking and all the Gophers had to do was continue running clock and kick a field goal while in the redzone. Instead, they fumbled. Then when they got the ball back at midfield, they attempted a pass with a backup QB who can’t throw and were intercepted.

Iowa v Minnesota
Why are you the way that you are?
Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Corn is friend, not food

Thankfully, Nebraska football came to the rescue and defeated the dastardly Hawkeyes. All around the world, citizens danced and celebrated in the streets. Free alcohol was served in every bar and there was much rejoicing.

Seriously Nebraska, thank you. If any of our Nebraska fans reading this have a Nebraska themed charity, mention it in the comments. If there is more than one, I’ll send some money to the one with the most recs. Consider my personal thanks to the state of Nebraska. No, the Cornhuskers NIL slush fund is not a charity.

Syndication: The Des Moines Register
Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK

Bucket, West champions

Purdue played tight in the first half but kept the game within reach before relaxing and just playing their game in the 2nd half. Old Oaken Bucket stays in West Lafayette for another year. Purdue goes to Lucas Oil.

Syndication: The Herald-Times Rich Janzaruk/Herald-Times / USA TODAY NETWORK

This was a team that played to their level of competition. They scrapped and clawed their way to 8 wins and found a way to do enough to win the West. It wasn’t always pretty. But it was beautiful.


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