Purdue defeated Missouri, 35-3, on Saturday. This win was a big deal for the Boilermakers.
Purdue outgained the Tigers 477 to 200 in new head coach Jeff Brohm’s third game with the team. Here’s what you should know about the win:
Purdue hasn’t blown out another Power 5 team in a long time.
Purdue’s one Power 5 win in 2016 came by a 34-31 score against Illinois. The Illini were and are one of the worst Power 5 teams in the country, and Purdue only beat them by three points. The Boilermakers topped Nebraska, 55-45, in 2015. But you have to go all the way back to 2008 for a win that resembles this one. Purdue obliterated Indiana, 62-10, back in 2008. That’s the last blowout win Purdue had against a Power 5 team. It was almost nine years ago.
Brohm’s offense works for Power 5 teams, too.
Brohm led some ridiculously successful offenses at Western Kentucky. Bill Connelly’s passing S&P+ ranked Brohm’s Western Kentucky passing attacks in the nation’s top 10 in each of his Brohm’s three years there. Getting Purdue to that same mark is a big ask, but the improvement he’s made already is startling.
Purdue held the ball for 43:43, while Missouri only had 16:17. Even if time of possession doesn’t always measure what we think it measures, this is a ridiculous mark. The Boilermakers ran and passed equally well, racking up 272 yards on 34 pass attempts and 205 on 50 rushes. This did come against a Missouri defense that allowed 851 total yards in its first two contests, but it’s an achievement nonetheless.
This should convince people that his offense isn’t just some gimmick that works at Western Kentucky. It can work against Power 5 teams (even if Missouri is not a good one).
The Boilermakers only turned the ball over once.
This was the team’s Achilles heel last year. Blough threw 21 interceptions to 25 touchdowns last season, but he’s only thrown 2 picks so far in 2017. Purdue’s fumbles luck is another thing altogether. The Boilermakers fumbled seven times in their first two games, but only lost one. Purdue didn’t fumble once against Missouri, though, so that’s a step in the right direction.
Brohm is doing this with most of the same players who went 3-9 last year.
Purdue has the same quarterback as last year in David Blough (even if backup Elijah Sindelar is getting in on the action too). Among the many adjustments Brohm made this season has been to run the ball more. Starting RB Markell Jones is out with a knee injury and hasn’t carried the ball yet, but Tario Fuller and Brian Lankford-Johnson have done well in his absence, combining to average 5.6 yards per carry.
This win shines a positive light on Purdue’s future in the Big Ten West.
Nebraska lost to Northern Illinois on Saturday. Northwestern looks pretty bad so far. Illinois is not good. Wisconsin is still an insurmountable obstacle for a team like Purdue, but everyone else in the West looks beatable. Will that outlook seem different after Purdue plays Michigan next week? Potentially. But for now, things look good.