Final: Bowling Green 35, Purdue 28

Telling stat: Purdue’s two yards per carry

That was a definite step back for the Purdue ground game. I’ve been hyping the development of Markell Jones and D.J. Knox, but neither were effective on Saturday. They combined for just 61 yards on 25 carries. Jones did go down with a knee injury, which prevented the Boilers from utilizing their two-headed attack. But against a Bowling Green front that they should’ve run all over, Purdue’s rushers couldn’t get anything rolling, especially down the stretch.

Key play: Travis Greene 12-yard TD run

Purdue needed one defensive stop in the final three minutes and couldn’t get it. Greene scampered 12 yards into the end zone for the game-winning score with nine seconds left. He went right at the teeth of the Boilermaker defense and sank hearts in West Lafayette. That doesn’t happen unless Matt Johnson somehow picks up a first down with his legs on a 3rd-and-8. Antoine Miles didn’t help the Boilermakers any with a personal foul penalty to put the Falcons into the Purdue red zone. Too many breakdowns killed the Boilers.

Worth noting:

-Welcome to the B1G, David Blough

Loss aside, that was an impressive showing from the Purdue freshman in his first career start. He looked significantly better than his predecessor Austin Appleby. The kid they call “Texas tough” looked the part by hanging in the pocket to make some big-time throws. He hit DeAngelo Yancey and Gregory Phillips for long scores. Phillips’ 65-yard TD was the longest play from scrimmage all year for the Boilers. Blough even showed off his mobility with a rushing score. I said coming into this one that Darrell Hazell was going to want to take the ball out out of the freshman’s hands, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. He let him throw 39 times, and for the most part, Blough avoided freshman mistakes. Not bad at all.

-Paul Griggs…yikes

It’s hard to win games when your kicker misses chip shots, especially in tie games. Griggs shanked a 19-yard attempt at the end of the first half to keep Purdue from taking a 17-14 lead. With three minutes left in the fourth quarter, he missed the go-ahead kick from 32 yards to keep the game tied. That’s crushing. Blough did everything he could to put the Boilers in position to win, and Purdue didn’t help itself in the kicking game. By no means is that game entirely on Griggs, but man, he sure didn’t help the cause.

What it means: Fire up the hot seat

Just like that, the Boilers are back to 1-3. They actually aren’t that far from being 3-1, but that doesn’t matter right now. Hazell’s job was in question coming into this one, and that conversation is only going to continue. A bowl game is a long shot for a group that showed early signs of improvement. But they struggle to put it all together time and time again. It’s a narrative that has already run its course in West Lafayette.