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Louisville fires Bobby Petrino

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After a seventh straight loss dropped Louisville to a woeful record of 2-8 this season, Louisville has reportedly fired head coach Bobby Petrino, effective immediately. Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports was among the first to report the news of the firing, which seemed more and more likely to occur as the losses continued to pile up for the Cardinals. The university officially announced the firing Sunday morning.

“We want to thank Bobby for guiding our football program to some of the better seasons we have had historically at U of L during his two separate tenures here,” Vice President and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said. “However, at this time we feel the program needs different leadership and we owe it to our student-athletes and fans to get this turned around.”

The loss comes days after Louisville lost a road game at No. 13 Syracuse by a margin of 54-23. It was the fifth straight loss by double-digits for Louisville as the downward trend of the program over the past two years continues to deliver pain. Petrino has a combined record at Louisville of 77-35, but the Cardinals are 36-26 in his second stint with the program including the 2-8 mark this season.

Louisville will be on the hook for a $14 million buyout, according to the coaching salary database compiled by USA Today ($14,056,250). For a school going through as many changes as it has over the past couple of years, that is no easy price tag to take on, but the direction of the Louisville program from being a playoff contender and with a Heisman Trophy winner just two years ago to where it is now made it painfully clear a change needed to be made.

“I did not have the confidence that it was going to happen next season without a change and it needs to start happening now,” Tyra said. “We expect to determine a new head coach soon to restore our football program to national prominence.”

There has been no update on who will assume the role of interim coach for the remainder of Louisville’s season. Louisville hosts NC State next Saturday and wraps up the season at home against Kentucky. [UPDATE: Safeties coach Lorenzo Ward was named interim head coach.]

The popular name that pops up for Louisville’s next head coach is Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm, although he is coming off one of the worst losses he has had at Purdue this weekend.

Boiler up! Purdue blasts No. 2 Ohio State, 49-20, shaking up Big Ten picture

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After starting the season with three tough losses, the season looked bleak for Purdue. But the season has taken quite a dramatic turn for the Boilermakers after a 49-20 victory over No. 2 Ohio State became the fourth straight win in a row for Purdue. This one, highlighted by three fourth-quarter touchdowns by the home team, may have redefined the season not just for Purdue, but for Ohio State and the Big Ten as a whole.

Purdue quarterback David Blough passed for 378 yards and 3 touchdowns in the win, with Rondale Moore being on the receiving end of 170 yards and two touchdowns. Moore’s second touchdown was an incredible mix of determination and a poor display of tackling by Ohio State, essentially summing up the way this game came to a close in the fourth quarter.

Purdue running back D.J. Knox also had a big night for the Boilermakers by rushing for 128 yards and three touchdowns on 16 rushing attempts.

It may not have been a turning point, but the defining moment of the night for Purdue may have come at the end of the first half when Purdue ran a fake field goal play to pick up a first down in the closing moments of the first half. One play later, Blough completed a nine-yard touchdown pass to Moore to push the Purdue lead to 14-3 just before halftime. The touchdown drive came immediately after Ohio State missed a field goal that could have cut Purdue’s lead to 7-6. It was a gutsy decision by Jeff Brohm, but one that may have been necessary.

While Ohio State’s defense could not slow down Purdue’s offense in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes didn’t exactly go away quietly. Dwayne Haskins kept Ohio State in the game with a 431-yard performance and two touchdowns, including one on a fourth down play with under five minutes to play to cut the Purdue lead to 35-20. But even one of this season’s best offensive players in the Big Ten was prone to making a mistake. Haskins was picked off by Markus Bailey late int he fourth quarter, and the Purdue defender returned the interception 41 yards for one last exclamation point on the wild upset victory.

With the win, Purdue manages to stay right in the thick of the Big Ten West Division race. Northwestern, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Purdue all have just one conference loss, although Purdue’s only loss to this point has come against Northwestern. Purdue will also get Iowa and Wisconsin at home in November, and it has become clear this is not a place you want to travel to play right now. Purdue has not played in a Big Ten championship game, which is played in Indianapolis, but perhaps these Boilermakers have something special cooking right now. They absolutely cannot be dismissed in the West Division now.

Ohio State’s setback means the Buckeyes are now looking up in the Big Ten East standings for the first time this season. The team sitting above them just so happens to be Michigan, the last undefeated team in Big Ten play this season after the Wolverines took care of Michigan State earlier in the day. The fate of the Big Ten East could very well come down to the regular season finale between Ohio State and Michigan this year in Ohio Stadium, and Ohio State will clearly have some work to do if they are going to climb back to being the team to beat in the division they were expected to be.

It is still too early to go crazy over the College Football Playoff implications for Ohio State with this loss, because a one-loss Big Ten champion — be it Ohio State or Michigan — would still figure to have a solid chance of being one of the four teams selected at the end of the year. The first playoff rankings will come at the end of the month, but the Buckeyes will be sitting on this loss when those rankings make their debut, so they will not have a chance to redeem themselves in front of the watchful eyes of the selection committee.

Ohio State will look take next week off with a bye before looking for a rebound win on November 3 at home against Nebraska. Purdue will look to continue flexing against the Big Ten East Division next week when they travel to East Lansing to take on a beat-up Michigan State team.

The last time Purdue beat the No. 2 team in the country was October 6, 1984. The opponent that day? Ohio State.

Purdue tricks Ohio State with fake field goal and capitalizes with touchdown before halftime

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Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm knows his team cannot afford to settle for field goals if the Boilermakers are going to upset No. 2 Ohio State tonight. So with a 7-3 lead late in the first half and a fourth down from the Ohio State 13-yard line, Brohm opted to try a fake field goal in an attempt to tack on a few more points just before halftime. Fortunately for Brohm, that worked out to perfection, and now Purdue holds a 14-3 lead on the Buckeyes at halftime as result.

Holder Joe Schopper took the snap and promptly got up and ran to the left side of the field, needing four yards to pick up a first down for Purdue. Schopper had the room but needed to throw his body into a defender just enough to make sure he picked up the first down. Against Ohio State’s special teams unit, he did just that.

Had Purdue gone into halftime with a 10-3 lead, there may not be a Boilermaker fan in the state of Indiana that would have passed up on that scenario if it was an option before the game started. And the possibility of still having to settle for a field goal could still have become a reality if not for the first-and-goal pass from David Blough to Rondale Moore, who scooted into the end zone to cushion the Purdue lead.

Purdue’s late-half touchdown drive came immediately after Ohio State kicker Blake Haubeil missed on a 35-yard field goal to try cutting Purdue’s lead to one. So go ahead and consider this a 10-point swing that Brohm was not content to let slip by him.

We’ll see if Brohm has to dig into a bag of tricks in the second half.

Quotes from Jeff Brohm suggest there was interest in leaving Purdue for Tennessee

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As the Tennessee Volunteers were looking to figure out what they were going to do with their head coaching search in Knoxville, Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm was out recruiting. But families of recruits were not quite sure if Brohm would be coming to them looking to sell kids on going to Purdue or Tennessee. Recent quotes to The Courier-Journal in Louisville suggest there was some truth to the interest Brohm had in leaving the Boilermakers for the Vols.’

“I don’t want to get into details on it. Like I said, where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Brohm told the paper regarding the headlines that suggested Brohm was closing in on a deal to head to Tennessee after one season at Purdue. “But I think that I was completely straightforward with the people I needed to be. Like I said, when it’s all said and done, this is, in my opinion, the best spot for me.”

After three seasons as the head coach at Western Kentucky, Brohm took over the Purdue job last year and quickly provided a breath of fresh air for the Boilermakers. Purdue went 7-6 with the first bowl victory for the program since 2011. Brohm’s performance at Purdue quickly made him one of the trendy names in the rumor mill during the coaching carousel, and likely will keep him a hot name for potential job opportunities elsewhere later this year if Purdue continues to show improvement. Brohm is also open and honest about the reality of the coaching game, acknowledging he may not necessarily keep any doors shut.

“There’s always going to be people going behind closed doors, expressing interest in this job and that job,” Brohm said. “Those things, yeah, those things did come about. But I think I was always honest with everybody and kept it real. In the end, I think this is the place I enjoy being because I think it does have a great challenge to it and I am committed to doing my part to try to help us get over the hump and become a winning program.”

After initially closing in on a deal to hire Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to be the head coach, Tennessee backed off from the hire and eventually landed Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt for the job.

Purdue gives Jeff Brohm two-year contract extension

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It took just one season for Jeff Brohm to convince Purdue he was the right man for the job (well, since the school hired him, at least). Now, Brohm has two more years coaching the Boilermakers lined up after the school tacked on a two-year contract extension. The extended contract now runs through the 2024 season, providing some nice job security for the coach that has already helped to reshape the Purdue football program.

“This extension is a reflection of how pleased we are with Jeff’s leadership of our football program,” Purdue athletics director Mike Bobinski said in a released statement. “He has brought renewed energy to our campus, revived our fan base and alumni, and made Purdue relevant once again in the college football landscape. With the success of last season as a foundation, we have tremendous optimism about the future of Purdue football.”

Purdue went 7-6 in Brohm’s first year as the head coach of the Boilermakers to mark the first winning season in West Lafayette, Indiana since 2011. Purdue won a total of nine games in the previous four seasons under Brohm’s predecessor, Darrell Hazell. The 2017 season ended with Purdue’s first bowl victory since the 2011 season.

As the season went along, Purdue saw an increase in fan support on game day with an average of 13,433 more fans per home game (it’s worth noting the Purdue home schedule included games against Michigan, Nebraska, and in-state rival Indiana; Purdue also played a season opener in Indianapolis against Lamar Jackson and Louisville). It may still take some time to get Purdue in a position where it can be any sort of threat in the Big Ten, but the renewed energy around the program was noticeable last fall.