‘It’s kind of embarrassing’: Purdue run defense falters for second straight game
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Through the first seven weeks of the 2022 season, the strength of Purdue’s defense has been depth on the defensive front. The unit was strong against the run and held opposing teams to just over 100 yards rushing per game earlier in the year.
But in its last two games, at Wisconsin and while hosting Iowa on Saturday, the team was shut down. The Boilermakers have now given up a 100-yard rusher in back-to-back contests after not allowing one before their trip to Madison, Wis.
Even after taking a bye week to iron out any issues, freshman running back Kaleb Johnson racked up 200 yards rushing on 22 carries, which included a 75-yard touchdown to give the Hawkeyes a 24- 3 on the second play of the third. quarter
That ended up being the final score of Saturday’s game at Ross-Ade Stadium as Iowa jumped out to an early lead and controlled the tempo all afternoon. Purdue’s offense was almost non-threatening, forcing its defense to force-feed a steady dose of rushing attempts.
“They just executed their offense, they did a good job,” Purdue redshirt senior defensive end Jack Sullivan said after the game. “They came in and executed their plan, and we just have to do a better job as a defense of staying in our gaps and staying good, just executing our job.”
Against both the Badgers and Hawkeyes, the Boilermakers fell behind early in the first half, prompting both physical rushing offenses to redirect to what they do best: handing the ball off, moving the chains and taking time out of the clock
Wisconsin running backs Braelon Allen and Isaac Guarendo combined for 185 rushing yards on Oct. 22, with Allen for 113 on 16 carries. Johnson was similarly successful for Iowa, averaging 9.1 yards per carry and only being tackled for a loss on three of his rushing attempts.
It’s been a long way since the defense gave up just 47 rushing yards to Minnesota in one 20-10 annoying on the road back in Week 5. The Golden Gophers have established themselves as one of the top rushing offenses in the conference, ranking second with 212.2 yards per game behind only Michigan.
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And Purdue isn’t out of the water just yet, as their next game will be a road matchup against Illinois at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Illinois. Junior running back Chase Brown leads the Fighting Illini with 1,344 rushing yards so far in 2022, which is moving forward. the big ten He has rushed for over 100 yards in every game this season.
The Boilermakers will look for a bounce-back performance in all phases to break out of their recent woes, and on defense, it starts with stopping the run again.
“We’ve just got to get back to doing what we do as a defense,” Purdue redshirt senior defensive lineman Lawrence Johnson said. “The main thing is to stay in our gaps, tackle the ball and stop the run. We gave up 200 yards to one running back, not our best performance.
“It’s a little embarrassing because we pride ourselves on stopping the run, and obviously we didn’t do that tonight. Next week, we’re going to play another good running back that’s capable of doing the same thing if we don’t stop the ball.”
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