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Thoughts on Purdue's big road win

10/9/2010

How about them Boilers? What an effort from a banged-up Purdue team Saturday night against Northwestern.

Some quick thoughts:

Purdue 20, Northwestern 17: Sometimes, a bye week comes at the perfect time, and it certainly did for Purdue. Ravaged by injuries on offense and down to its third-team quarterback, the Boilers went on the road and beat an undefeated Northwestern team just asking for a loss.

Redshirt freshman Rob Henry showed impressive poise in his first career start, but the real story was a Boilermakers' defense that kept Dan Persa and the Wildcats out of the end zone.

Although Northwestern did a decent job on Ryan Kerrigan most of the night, others stepped up. This is a demoralizing result for Northwestern, which had all the advantages heading into the game. But let's face it: Northwestern didn't deserve to be 6-0, not with its penalties and its inconsistent rushing game and its continued special-teams mishaps.

The Wildcats appeared to be going in for the game-winning touchdown after a great call on third-and 4, but a holding penalty on veteran center Ben Burkett negated a long Jacob Schmidt run. That set up Stefan Demos' second missed field goal of the fourth quarter. Demos, a preseason Lou Groza Award candidate, is having a nightmarish senior season. Northwestern was flagged eight times for 60 yards, continuing a disturbing trend. You get what you deserve in football, and Pat Fitzgerald's team had this coming. Northwestern has a bye week to sort itself out.