Record: 3-9 (1-8 B1G)
Darrell Hazell’s tenure at Purdue ended at the midway point of the season when the Boilermakers fell to 3-3 after a 49-28 to loss at Iowa. He finished his three-and-a-half year stint with a 9-33 record, winning just three conference games. Interim coach Gerad Parker was 0-6.
High point of the season: OT win vs. Illinois
Purdue’s only win in the B1G came in dramatic fashion. After a 50-7 loss to open conference play against Maryland, most were shocked that Hazell was permitted to make the trip to Champaign. There, he notched his second win against the Illini.
A missed field goal at the end of regulation and a fumble on the first possession in overtime by Illinois aided Purdue, and J.D. Dellinger’s 28-yard field goal improved the Boilermakers’ record to 3-2 on the year.
Purdue’s rushing game also showed signs of life, as Brian Lankford-Johnson rushed for 127 yards and a TD in place of injured RB Markell Jones.
If the game itself wasn’t the best moment for the Boilermakers, certainly this celebration from Hazell at the end of regulation puts it over the top:
ICYMI: Darrell Hazell had a great reaction to a missed Illinois FG that brought OT (Purdue would win): pic.twitter.com/8AUfKhKx75
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) October 9, 2016
Low point of the season: Take your pick
The 50-7 loss in the B1G opener to Maryland, trailing Iowa 35-7 in the first half of Homecoming, surrendering 62 points in a blowout loss to Penn State or losing the Old Oaken Bucket to Indiana for a fourth-straight season are all viable options.
Losing to Maryland was probably the most disappointing, though. It was an embarrassing outing all-around, as Purdue was outrushed 400-10 and Maryland RB Ty Johnson rushed for 204 yards and two TDs on seven (!) carries for a 29.1 yards per carry average.
After a 2-1 start to the year, Purdue had a chance to potentially get to 4-1 with games against Maryland and Illinois. But any hope of a turnaround under Hazell was squashed in a lousy showing in College Park.
Most meaningful play: J.D. Dellinger’s game-winning kick vs. Illinois
There weren’t many meaningful plays to celebrate in West Lafayette in 2016. Or for the past four year, for that matter.
Dellinger’s game-winning kick wasn’t just the most important or exciting this season, it’s arguably the best moment Purdue has had since 2012. Even it came against a less-than-stellar Illinois team.
Team MVP: DeAngelo Yancey, WR
Yancey finished the year as one of the B1G’s top receivers, catching 49 passes for 951 yards and 10 TDs and was one of the few consistent players on Purdue’s offense.
He surpassed the 100-yard mark on four different occasions this season with his top performance coming against Wisconsin, hauling in six passes for 155 yards and a pair of scores, including this 75-yard TD catch:
The senior was really the only deep threat the Boilermakers had and made several big-time catches throughout the year. On the rare occasion that Purdue was competitive, he was usually the reason why.
Overall grade: D
To quote the late Dennis Green, “they are who we thought they were.” We’re kind of letting Purdue off the hook by not handing out a failing grade, but only because expectations were knee-high.