In the immediate aftermath of Purdue’s escape on Saturday night, Jeff Brohm wasn’t in much of a celebratory mood.

His team had played its 3rd sloppy game in 4 outings this season, evening its record at 2-2 after slipping by FAU 28-26 in Ross-Ade Stadium. Yes, Purdue won, and it did so while missing at least a half-dozen critical players, including All-Big Ten quarterback Aidan O’Connell, so overcoming the personnel shortcomings is certainly deserving of praise.

But Purdue very nearly gave a game away again, as it had vs. Penn State in Week 1 and vs. Syracuse last week.

And so any sort of postgame celebration was tempered by reality: Purdue, as Brohm stated to an unsuspecting TV sideline reporter expecting a rosy answer, isn’t a very good football team. And things are about to get real: Purdue travels to clear Big Ten West favorite Minnesota next week, then has another road game at Maryland, which acquitted itself well in a loss at Michigan on Saturday, the following week.

If Purdue doesn’t get it together — and the number of questions is lengthening rather than shortening — it’s staring at an 0-3 Big Ten start and an early exit from the Big Ten West race.

The frustrating thing for Brohm and company is the repeating of the same errors over and over. A week after unsportsmanlike penalties undid a likely Purdue victory against Syracuse in the final minute, Purdue again gave the opponent life Saturday while drawing a careless late-hit flag. The penalty, when linebacker OC Brothers hit a receiver late after the ball clearly was on the ground, extended an FAU drive that then ended in a touchdown. Only a missed 2-point conversion kept the Boilermakers in the lead. But without the penalty, Purdue would have gotten the ball back, holding on to a comfortable lead with a chance to burn off the remaining clock.

Against Syracuse the week before, Purdue suffered 4 unsportsmanlike penalties after it had taken the lead with 51 seconds left, leaving the Orange with a short field and an easier-than-desired path to the go-ahead touchdown.

But it has not only been penalties for the Boilermakers. Purdue is missing … something … too. A killer instinct, perhaps? The Boilermakers can not put teams away when they have a chance, whether that comes at the end, like vs. Penn State. One more 1st down vs. PSU likely secures a Purdue win. Two weeks later, the Boilermakers led the ‘Cuse 9-3 in the 2nd quarter, but had 4 drives — one was ended by the half — that resulted in 25 yards and 3 punts. A score of any sort, pushing the lead to 2 possessions, might very well have put an offensively limited Orange team in a bind. But Purdue stalled out.

And Saturday, Purdue was up 8 midway through the 3rd, driving to the FAU 30, but an Austin Burton pass was picked off and rather than taking control with another score, Purdue allowed an opponent an opportunity. The Owls pulled within 1 after a TD, then within 2 later, although their attempt at the tying 2-point conversion failed with horrendous halfback pass.

Again, though, Purdue failed to win the game on offense, seeing its offense stall out near the 40-yard line, punting the ball back to the Owls and giving the visitors a chance. Luckily for the Boilermakers, they got a 4th-down stop, punching a ball away on the last-gasp effort by FAU for a drive-extending 1st down.

But it was all followed by a deep sigh of relief, rather than mass celebration. Brohm knows what’s up: His team lacks discipline and a second gear when it needs to bury opponents, and now it continues to have mounting injuries. They are significant: Purdue doesn’t have its starting QB (O’Connell), its starting running back (King Doerue), its starting right tackle (Cam Craig), its returning No. 1 receiver (Broc Thompson) and its big-play tight end (Garrett Miller), who was injured in the preseason. It’s missing a couple other key reserve wide receivers.

On defense, Purdue doesn’t have play-maker Jalen Graham or cornerback Reese Taylor, and it lost its No. 3 defensive tackle, who figured to play a lot, Demarjhe Lewis. It needs to start getting some of those guys back. But Brohm sounded less than optimistic about ‘O’Connell, saying maybe next week but seeming more realistic about a later return. And Graham and Doerue are integral as well.

But most importantly, Purdue has to stop shooting itself. The errors have become almost comical at this point, each coming — the personal fouls and unsportsmanlike have been warranted — at the most inappropriate times. Those compounding and confounding mistakes made the post-game Saturday feel more funeral than celebration. If Purdue doesn’t clean up its own house, then it’s going to be a longer than anticipated season in the Big Ten.