West Lafayette, IN – The score really isn’t an indicator of how close this game was. The Iowa Hawkeyes steamrolled the Purdue Boilermakers who were looking for their first winning streak since 2011. Almost as if it was a sign for Purdue, on the first possession for the Boilers, wide receiver Bilal Marshall was tackled by the official on a play that would have been an easy first down. From that point forward, the Hawkeyes ran all over Purdue. Two running backs for Iowa eclipsed 15o yards of rushing. In the last three games combined, Purdue has allowed over 1,000 yards of rushing. That doesn’t even include all the passing yards the Boilers have given up. It is getting to the point for Purdue fans that they aren’t infuriated anymore it is turning to apathy. An article was released in the Indy Star earlier this week asking if the Purdue administration even cared about the state of Purdue football. That question will be asked on a daily basis now from a fan base who seems to have had enough.
In 42 games of Darrell Hazell’s career he has a record of 9-33 and 3-16 in conference play. You see improvement on the stat sheet from year to year but where you don’t see improvement is the win/loss column. It seems that every home game now becomes a people watching game to see how many of them leave at halftime. Ross-Ade used to be a tough environment to play in, nothing like the Big House or the Horseshoe but challenging enough. Recently fans could whisper to each other from other sides of the row and be able to understand what they say. Just this week the Purdue Board of Trustees approved a 5.6 million dollar project to upgrade Ross-Ade and provide permanent lights. Something that should have happened nearly a decade ago. The next project, the South Endzone Project, needs help in terms of funding. Purdue can not feasibly afford this project without a boost in ticket sales. Averaging 30k or less is barely enough to have the numbers appear black in the ledger.
Fans aren’t going to spend upwards of $200 dollars on tickets, parking and food to see a losing product. It doesn’t matter how loyal the alumni and student body are and the fans that do show up should give themselves a pat on the back. There have been rumblings since Purdue’s lost to the Maryland Terrapins that a move might be imminent depending on what happened against Illinois. The overtime win didn’t squelch the calls for a change they simply lowered the volume. The fact that despite the score today, this game was never really competitive. Most of Purdue’s points came in the second half where Iowa was playing their second team. When Purdue started getting back into the game, Iowa inserted the first team back onto the field and it was the same story from the first half. They got what they wanted when they wanted it. David Blough actually had a decent day throwing the ball but Purdue could get nothing going on the ground only managing a paltry 46 yards on 22 carries.
Something needs to change, whether it is this week or at the end of the season there needs to be a change of direction. John Purdue Club donations are at record lows in the last decade and the trend is only getting worse. Average attendance for home games is dwindling by the week and Purdue is lucky to have half the crowd there after halftime. There are a significant portion of fans who stay just long enough to see the band perform and then go tailgate in the parking lots. Purdue is facing a new low that could take years to recover from. New athletic director Mike Bobinski has a big hill to climb but has to acknowledge there is a problem first. Until that happens, Purdue fans will have to deal to mediocrity or worse until then.