Darrell Hazell noted the intensity his Boilers played with against Notre Dame last Saturday.
His team was flying to the football defensively, showing some impressive ability to cover Notre Dame's talented offense. Purdue's offense was also impressive, moving the ball with ease in the first half on the way to a 14-10 lead in the second quarter.
|Danny Etling showed frustration as the game got away.|
(photo is from zimbio.com)
Despite how disappointing it was when the offense faded away late in the contest, this game could easily be taken as a sign of progress for this program.
The effort cannot go back to what we saw against Central Michigan.
Purdue fans want to see a team that will come out and play with aggression for four quarters. Southern Illinois is an FCS program (albeit a decent one). They have no business coming into Ross-Ade Stadium and pushing around a Big Ten team.
Purdue fans on social media are saying this start is the same as 2013 in that the Boilers' strong performance against Notre Dame will only lead to more disappointment and losses later.
It's up to the team to demonstrate that last year's nightmare was just a step in a rebuild.
I want to see some continued development from linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, who showed me against the Irish that he can step up in big games. Purdue held Notre Dame to a field goal when they had a chance to take a commanding 14-0 lead, thanks in no small part to Bentley's backfield tackle on 2nd and Goal.
I want to see Danny Etling build off his two-score first half performance against Notre Dame and show the fans that he's developing and the right choice to start. People keep talking about Austin Appleby, but I have yet to see evidence that would make me believe he's any better.
I remarked on Twitter today how enormous it would be for Purdue to take care of business at the end of non-conference play. Heading into the Big Ten season at 2-2 with struggling Iowa and Illinois teams coming up could be a great scenario for Hazell's building program.
Let's see a whipping on Saturday.