We’re calling it Three And Out this year, because it’s three things and then we’re out.
Today, Purdue’s 27-13 loss at No. 12 Notre Dame.
DEFENSE GAVE PURDUE A CHANCE
The offense didn’t get enough done against the best defense it’s seen this season — by a mile — but nevertheless, the Boilermakers made a real game out of this, standing toe to toe with a heavily favored opponent and having a chance deep into the fourth quarter.
The defense did enough to win, truth be told. It gave up some big plays — the cost of doing business for the big plays the Boilermakers are trying to make themselves — and got away with a few more it should have given up, but no one should be walking away from this game thinking the defense was the problem.
THE OFFENSE NEEDED TO BE BETTER
The offense couldn’t get any rhythm in the first half — the second quarter was brutal — or second for that matter and the Boilermakers really struggled on makeable third- and fourth downs.
Maybe Zander Horvath’s absence had something to do with that latter issue. Purdue had been nearly perfect on third-and-short through two games, against less-formidable defenses than this one. The Boilermakers were 4-of-16 on third down for the game, after starting 3-of-4.
Purdue wound up turning to Aidan O’Connell at quarterback midway through the fourth quarter. There was no immediate indication whether that was a coach’s decision or something happened to Jack Plummer, but the quarterback carousel spun again, either way.
Plummer was 25-of-36 for 187 yards and a TD, with no interceptions, before leaving the game. O’Connell was 11-of-18 with two interceptions, both off tipped balls.
However Purdue moves forward here, it simply needs more from its offense, obviously. It goes without saying that there are very few opponents the Boilermakers are going to beat this season with only 13 points.
Additionally, Purdue’s special teams really struggled after halftime, and it now seems to find itself shuffling punters again.
FINGERS CROSSED NOW
The game aside, a front-and-center concern for Purdue right now is the well-being of star David Bell, who left with 5:16 left after taking a hard hit, then hitting the ground violently.
Bell was carted off, alert and upright, but that was a difficult moment, with Bell’s availability for the weeks to come now mattering, but not mattering as much as his health.
Stuff’s starting to pile up on Purdue here, with cornerback Cory Trice being out now, too.
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