Purdue opened its 2023 season with a 39-35 loss against Fresno State on Saturday afternoon. It was a back-and-forth game that saw Fresno State make just enough plays late to get the win.

The Boilermakers showed some explosive playmaking ability with big plays, but there were some major issues that should be very concerning.

Here are 3 takeaways from the Boilermakers’ Week 1 victory:

Defense can’t get off the field on 3rd downs

Purdue’s 3rd down defense was poor to say it nicely, as Fresno State converted 11-of-17 3rd downs. Purdue on the other hand, was only 3-of-12.

It didn’t matter what the distance was, the Bulldogs extended drives all day. There were multiple personal fouls by Purdue to extend drives, smash mouth 3rd and short runs by Fresno State and even 3rd and long conversions.

This domination on 3rd downs played a huge role in the Bulldogs having the ball in what felt like the entire day. Fresno State had the ball for 36:02, while the Boilermakers offense was on the field for only 22:59.

However, the Boilermakers defense provided one of the best interceptions you will see:

Offense struggles to sustain long drives

The 35 points look very good for Purdue, but the issue is that if you take out the big plays, the offense at times really struggled to move the ball.

The Boilermakers scored on an 84-yard touchdown pass from Hudson Card to Deion Burks, and an 98-yard kickoff return by Tyrone Tracy Jr.

Where Purdue had a ton of issues was running the ball, as the Boilermakers were able to rush the ball for only 101 yards on 29 carries. Running back Devin Mockobee carried the ball 16 times for 60 yards, but it was a tough day running the ball.

Having big play ability is obviously a big-time plus for the Boilermakers, but as the competition rises, they are going to have to find a way to be able to sustain drives.

Pass defense has a long ways to go

With respect to Fresno State, the Bulldogs will not be the most dynamic passing attack the Boilermakers face this year. However, if Saturday is any indication of where this pass defense is, Purdue could be in trouble.

Fresno State quarterback Mikey Keene was in absolute control from the very beginning. The sophomore quarterback finished 31-of-44 for 366 yards and 4 touchdowns. He threw one interception, but even that was more of a fantastic play by the Purdue defensive player.

It doesn’t get any easier for the Boilermakers as they travel to Blacksburg next weekend to take on Virginia Tech.