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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Guest_Columnist'S COLUMNS

PURDUE FOOTBALL:
Michigan 31, Purdue 3




Date: 10/27/2003
Author: Dan Vietor
Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    In what on paper was supposed to be a good game, turned out to be a one sided romp for the Wolverines. Purdue, who has had troubles against ranked teams on the road, has had more troubles playing in Ann Arbor. In a losing streak that runs back to 1966 when Bob Griese was QB, very few of the games have even been close. It doesn't matter whether Purdue is good or bad or whether Michigan is good or bad, Purdue goes into Ann Arbor and gets blown out.

    Drives:
    Purdue Michigan
    1 P22 P23 3- 1 punt M39 M43 3- 4 punt
    1 P16 P24 3- 8 punt M35 P00 8-65 TD
    1 P29 P31 3- 2 punt M10 M31 6-21 punt
    1 P40 P32 3--8 punt P49 P00 5-51 TD
    2 P20 P49 7-29 punt M20 P48 9-32 punt
    2 P11 P13 4- 2 punt M49 P46 3- 5 punt
    2 P20 P28 3- 8 punt M40 M32 3--8 fumble
    2 M28 M08 3-20 INT M03 M02 1--1 half

    3 M21 M25 3- 4 punt
    3 P43 M11 9-46 FG M20 P00 6-80 TD
    3 P18 P13 3--5 punt M44 M47 3- 3 punt
    3 P19 P43 6-24 punt M36/P47 5-17 punt
    4 P01 P02 2- 1 fumble --- --- ---- fumble ret TD
    4 P20 P27 7- 7 punt M29 P10 10-61 FG
    4 P16 M35 5-26 INT M43 P37 6-20 downs
    4 P37 P46 7- 9 game


    Purdue gets the kickoff to start the game. In 7 games, Purdue has 6 TDs and a FG in their opening drives. But there was a feeling this game was different. First, most of these drives for scores were set up by the defense or a big runback to set up a short field. Second, Purdue wasn't playing a defense like Michigan's. Purdue starts at their own 22. Immediately, Purdue tries a run but Void is stuffed for barely a yard gain. Then on the next two plays, Orton forced to pass, throws two incompletes, both on dropped passes and Purdue punts. So for the first time this year, Purdue comes up empty on its first drive. Michigan then returns the favor with a 3 and out of their own. Purdue starting at their 16 gets close to a first down as Stubblefield catches one for 6 yds, but as happens through most of this game, there was no yards after catch and Purdue is forced to punt again. This time, Michigan gets some offense. Chris Perry breaks a run for 10 and after a sack, Navarre hits Perry for 8 yds and Jason Avant for another 19 to the Purdue 32. Then after a Perry run that was stuffed in the backfield, Navarre hits Avant again for 18 to the 16 yd line. A play later, Navarre finds Braylon Edwards in the endzone for the first TD to put Michigan up 7-0.

    Purdue again goes nowhere with 2 short run plays, a 5 yd delay penalty and another incomplete pass. Michigan does manage to get a first down on their next drive but the drive stalls at the 31 and they punt back to Purdue. After a short run, Orton is sacked for a loss of 9 yds and fumbles the ball. Luckily Purdue recovers but is forced to punt a play later. As the first quarter is nearing an end, Michigan gets a break as Steve Breaston returns the punt 31 yds to the Purdue 49. Michigan doesn't waste the good field position. After a Perry run for 7 and an incomplete, Navarre throws a deep pass to Avant and Purdue is called for pass interference giving Michigan a first down at the Purdue 21. Michigan then calls a reverse to Breaston who runs it in the remaining 21 yds for the TD as the clock runs out on the first quarter. As is typical in most Purdue games in Ann Arbor, the first quarter is all Michigan. Purdue had 4 drives racking up less than 10 yds of total offense and 4 punts. Michigan scored 2 TDs and had about 140 yds of offense.

    The second quarter is one in which Purdue finally gets some offense but its not enough. Orton hits Standeford twice for 5 and 6 to get Purdue's first first down. Orton then completes for 8 to Charles Davis and to Standeford for 7 for another first down. But two incompletes stalls the drive and once again Purdue punts. Michigan starting from their 20 gets a first down as Navarre hits Breaston for 11 and then Edwards for 11 more to the Michigan 44. Even though Edwards fumbles at the end of the play, Michigan recovers to keep the drive going. Two Perry runs for 5 and 6 sets up a first down at the Purdue 45. But two plays later Navarre is sacked for an 8 yd loss and Michigan is forced to punt. But after a running into the kicker penalty, Michigan punts away and Chambers returns the ball to the 11. Orton starts the drive with a nice scramble for 10 but a false start penalty and a 10 yd sack terminates the drive and for the 6th time Purdue punts. Even though Michigan gets the ball at midfield, the Purdue defense stops the Wolverine offense and Michigan punts to Purdue. Purdue starts with a running play where Ray Williams is tackled in the backfield for a loss of 3. Orton does complete two short passes but the second to Ingraham ends up 2 yds short and Purdue punts for the 7th time in the half. Finally, Purdue gets a break when on the next drive, Purdue sacks Navarre and forces a fumble on 3rd and 18. Shaun Phillips recovers for Purdue at the Michigan 28. Purdue's offense with the best field position of the day, has a chance to cut the Michigan lead in half. Orton has a nice run for 23 to the Michigan 5 but on the next play Orton is sacked for a loss of 3. On the next play, Orton scrambles to the right and sees a wide open Purdue receiver in the back of the endzone but rather than lobbing the ball throws a strike right into the hands of Michigan's Leon Hall who intercepts it ending a big chance for a Purdue score. The half ends with Michigan up 14-0.

    The first half is dominated by Michigan's defense who held Purdue to just 3 first downs and about 70 yds of offense. The Purdue defense held Michigan offense especially in the second quarter. Michigan started two drives near midfield and both went 3 and out. If Michigan had put points up on those drives, the game would have been over but at 14-0, Purdue was still technically in the game despite being thoroughly dominated.

    The second half starts out well for the Boilers who get a three and out on Michigan's first possession. Purdue's first possession starts with two Void runs for 5 and 9 to set up a first down at the Michgian 43. Then Orton hits Stubblefield down the middle for 39 yds to the Michigan 4. But a Void run up the middle is stuffed and Orton is sacked on the next play back to the 11. Orton trying to hit Ingraham on a fade route underthrows him an Michigan knocks the pass away. Twice, Purdue has the ball inside the Michigan 10 and they only come away with a Jones 27 yd FG to make the score 14-3 Michigan.

    But it takes little time for Michigan to make Purdue pay for its redzone problems. Starting at the 20, Navarre hits Avant for 15 and then Perry runs for another 14 to the Michigan 49. A play later, Navarre hits Edwards for 23 to the Purdue 28. After a short Perry run, Navarre lobs a pass up to Edwards who out jumps a Purdue defender for the TD. Purdue with a chance to tie the game at 14, now finds themselves down 21-3 and Purdue never really recovers.

    Purdue's next drive almost seals the game. Starting at the 18, Orton is immediately sacked for a loss of 10. After a Void run for 11, Orton is sacked again for a loss of 6. This time, Orton fumbles and luckily for Purdue, they recover and punt to Michigan. Michigan again starting near midfield is stopped and punts. But like Purdue all day, this drive starts with a holding call moving the ball back to the 9. On 3rd and 14, Orton does hit Standeford for 21 to the 36. Orton then hits Stubblefield for 9 more but Orton throws an incomplete and Void loses 2 yds on 3rd down and again Purdue punts. Michigan does manage to move the ball to midfield on their next drive and the punt pins Purdue at the 1 yd. Disaster strikes on Purdue's second play when Jones is tackled and fumbles and Markus Curry recovers for Michigan in the endzone to make the score 28-3 early in the fourth quarter.

    After a false start penalty, Orton hits Chambers for 11 and then for 4 more for a first down at the 30. Orton scrambles for 14 more but a holding penalty pushes Purdue back. Orton is sacked again and fumbles and Purdue recovers but has to punt. Michigan again makes Purdue pay for their own mistakes. After two short Perry runs, Navarre hits Avant for 34 yds to the Purdue 28. Perry runs 3 more times down to the 10 but the drive stalls and Michigan kicks a 27 yd FG to go up 31-3 midway through the 4th.

    With the game out of reach and questions being raised why Purdue didn't empty the bench, Purdue tries to get something going. Orton hits Standeford for 21 yds for the 37. A couple of plays later, Orton hits Stubblefield for 12 to the Michigan 46. But Orton is intercepted on the next play by Leon Hall. Michigan at this point does empty its bench and Gutierrez replaces Navarre. Michigan gets to the Purdue 37 but turns it over on downs. With time running out, Orton is able to hit Ingraham for 12 and Chattams for 4. Void then runs for a first down at the Michigan 39. A personal foul penalty on Purdue moves the ball back to the Purdue 46 and then the clock runs out.

    In a game where Purdue put up little fight, the final stats aren't going to reveal how one sided the game was. Even though Purdue's defense played well, Michigan was able to convert good field position into 2 TDs in the first half and put together two long drives in the second half for 10 more points. Michigan ended up with 345 yds of offense which is well below its average. Navarre went 17-30 for 225 yds and 2 TDs. Chris Perry ran 28 times for 95 yds, again well below his average. For the first time this year, Purdue's defense was out on the field for the majority of the game and the inability of the offense to move the ball contributed more to Michigan's points than the lack of defense.

    Purdue's offense was... offensive. In what has been a problem all year long, Purdue's inability to score in the redzone and to be able to sustain drives cost them in this game. Michigan who has had troubles putting pressure on opposing QBs, blitzed Orton all day long and sack Orton 7 times. Orton ended up the day 18-37 for 184 yds and 2 INTs. Michigan played a 3 man line all day with blitzing linebackers and corners and Purdue was unable to stop it. Even though it made sense to put more players in the backfield, Purdue elected to stay with the gameplan and Orton was a sitting duck. In addition, Michigan played tight man-to-man on Standeford and Stubblefield. The combo caught 30 passes against Wisconsin and only caught 10 total for 132 yds against Michigan. For the second straight week, Purdue's running game was shut down. Void did run for 52 yds on 13 carries but Orton was the best rusher running 5 times for 55 yds. If you add in the sacks, Orton only netted 5 yds.

    It was clear, Michigan had watched the Notre Dame and Penn State tapes to see how to stop Purdue's offense. What was a potent offense in 2002, has turned into anything but that in 2003. The 242 yds represents one of Tiller lowest totals at Purdue but doesn't beat the 223 yds that Notre Dame held Purdue to a month ago.

    Purdue now must face a resurgent Northwestern team who has raised its record to 4-4 and 2-2 in conference. This is a game Purdue can't take too lightly or Northwestern could pull the upset, much like they did to Wisconsin this weekend.

    Dan


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