The traditional shaking of the keys heard from the stands of Ross-Ade Stadium signaled it was time for kickoff. Purdue was hoping this would be the game it bounced back. But those hopes faded fast.
Expectations for the Boilermakers were high after a strong week of practice. Although the Boilermakers knew Northern Illinois would be a formidable opponent, they knew they believed a win was in the realm.
The key was to shut down quarterback Jordan Lynch. Early on, Purdue was successful in slowing him down, limiting his activity on the ground. As the game went on, Lynch became harder and harder to shut down, becoming unstoppable. He posted three passing touchdowns and added one on the ground.
Both teams traded scores in the early onset, with Purdue’s offense moving well under Rob Henry’s leadership. It seemed as if the game would turn into a shoot out between the two teams. But as Henry continued to struggle and the defense’s issues continued, the floodgates opened.
The game went downhill fast. Henry went from being a versatile runner while completing passes to throwing interceptions in the red zone.
When asked what Henry did wrong during his time playing he answered with, “Everything.”
This was just the beginning of the downhill spiral the Boilermakers were about to endure. As the game turned uglier, the stadium got emptier. Fans were leaving Ross-Ade Stadium sulking and disappointed, this was not the Boilermakers they expected to see. Something has to be changed.
With less than a minute left in the second half, Hazell made the decision to switch out quarterbacks, giving freshman Danny Etling his chance to shine.
“We had to do it,” Hazell said. “I don’t know if it’s permanent, but when our make a red-zone turnover, we had to make a chance to give ourselves a chance to win the game.”
Although Etling made a couple mistakes, he was able to give the Boilermakers two more touchdowns. There were minor mistakes, Etling has the potential to be the future for Purdue.
“I think my teammates really calmed me down,” Etling said.
Purdue didn’t have the comeback it hoped for this past week, but Etling’s presence offers hope. He has an opportunity to turn this program around and give the Boilermaker’s a new look going into this much-needed bye week.
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