Two wide receivers have been suspended by Purdue following arrests this week, and the Boilermakers have a new quarterback ready to lead the offense. All in a day’s work for head coach Darrell Hazell, with the Boilermakers getting a bye week to regroup and prepare for Nebraska next week.
On the suspension front, Purdue has suspended B.J. Knauf and Jordan Woods. the two were arrested for suspected theft following an incident at a local mall. Knauf was suspended for Purdue’s next two games (vs. Nebraska, at Michigan State) and lost ticket privileges until completion of a community service commitment. The freshman starter has 95 receiving yards and one touchdown through four games. Woods, another freshman, has played sparingly at best this season and his loss is not a major detriment to the team’s on-field production at this time. He has been suspended indefinitely.
Purdue is also making a change at quarterback. Freshman Danny Etling will take over under center. The move should come as little surprise. Etling replaced Rob Henry (pictured) in Purdue’s loss to Northern Illinois last weekend. Etling completed 19 of 39 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns and was intercepted twice. As for Henry, he will not simply be sliding down the quarterback depth chart. Instead, he will move over to defense to fill a need at safety. The Purdue secondary has been hit hard by injuries this season. This is not a slight on Henry and his standing on the team. Instead is quite the opposite. The two-time senior captain has given everything he is capable of giving to Purdue and has worked hard to stay on the field despite his injury past. Viewed as one of the most respected leaders on the team, his commitment to fill in at a position that is in need of bodies should be commended.
It was a struggle for most of the night, but for a span of two minutes in the fourth quarter the luck was with the Irish. Tommy Rees connected with DaVaris Daniels on two touchdown passes within the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, highlighted by an 82-yard bomb down the right sideline, to help Notre Dame tie and then take their first lead of the game against Purdue. Then, just minutes later Bennett Jackson picked off a pass from Purdue’s Rob Henry and returned it 34 yards. Notre Dame had scored more points in four minutes than they had in the previous three quarters en route to a 31-24 victory.
Purdue did make Notre Dame earn this one though. Following the pick-six, Henry guided the Boilermakers right back down field and scored a touchdown on a fourth down pass to Justin Sinz, who turned and stretched the extra couple of yards he needed to get in to the end zone. The score made it a seven-point game. On the ensuing possession for Notre Dame, running back Amir Carlisle lost a fumble on the first play of the drive but Purdue was unable to do anything with the gift received at the Notre Dame 36-yard line.
Notre Dame is clearly not the same team we witnessed last season. Sure, they won at Purdue but it was anything but impressive. The defense has shown each of the last two weeks that there is room for growth and improvement, and that could very well come over the course of the season. And Rees has been serviceable as the starting quarterback.
We’ll see where Notre Dame goes from here. The next three weeks will certainly be interesting. Next week Notre Dame hosts Michigan State, who suddenly found an offense and a starting quarterback today in East Lansing. The following week the Irish host Oklahoma, who also found some offense today. After that is a road trip to Cowboys Stadium to play against Arizona State, who is known for their offense. Can Notre Dame find enough offense to get to their bye week with a winning record in order?
One week after getting handled by a Michigan team that struggled to beat Akron, Notre Dame is having a hard time bouncing back against long-time nemesis Purdue.
The Irish trail the Boilermakers, 10-3, at the half and would’ve been shut out if not for a Kyle Brindza field goal with 20 seconds left in the second quarter.
Quarterback Tommy Rees went just eight of 17 for 94 yards as Purdue stymied the Notre Dame offense to the tune of 53 yards before an 80-yard drive that led to Brindza’s points.
Meanwhile, Rob Henry had an efficient half for Purdue, completing 12 of 19 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.
Win or lose today, is it time for Notre Dame to panic? The Irish look beyond lethargic and are in danger of notching their second loss of the season before getting to the teeth of their schedule. While Rees is steady, ND really misses the playmaking ability of Everett Golson, who is out for the season for disciplinary reasons. With the run game being so inconsistent (just 29 yards in the first half), it might be time to turn to Andrew Hendrix to see what he can do.
If the Irish do fall to Purdue, there would be nothing to lose.
As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and
guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the Big Ten.
While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SEC, Pac-12
1. Ohio State (Last year: 12-0)
What happened last season?
Urban Meyer‘s first year with the Buckeyes was flawless, at least as far as things go in the win-loss column. Though Ohio State had no postseason to look forward to thanks to NCAA sanctions, it went undefeated during the regular season. That’s propelled OSU to become one of the preseason favorites to appear in the final BCS championship.
So why are they ranked here?
The more appropriate question would be why wouldn’t the Buckeyes be ranked here? Meyer is easily one of the best in the game and quarterback Braxton Miller is now the betting favorite to win the Heisman. There are some concerns along the defensive front for this team, but it doesn’t have the appearance of something that will be an insurmountable problem.
The Game against Michigan can go either way, but there’s really only one spot I can potentially see Ohio State slipping. That would be an Oct. 5 game at Northwestern. The Wildcats enter 2013 with some hype (there’s something you don’t type everyday) after winning 10 games last year.
2. Wisconsin (Last year: 8-6; lost to Stanford in Rose Bowl)
What happened last season?
The Badgers can thank the NCAA for getting to the Big Ten title game as both Ohio State and Penn State watched from home. The Badgers struggled with offensive consistency throughout the year even though Montee Ball was among the leading rushers in the country.
So why are they ranked here?
Gary Andersen takes over for the departed Bret Bielema. Though Ball is gone and the quarterback situation needs to be figured out, this is a veteran team with some recognizable names still around like running back James White and receiver Jared Abbrederis. The bigger concern lies on defense, which will be moving to more of a 3-4 this year.
The Badgers avoid Michigan, Michigan State and Nebraska this season. It may not help Andersen win the Leaders Division in his first year, but it should help with a few more W’s. Also, QB Tanner McEvoy has started getting some looks at receiver and should help in that department.
Finally, our long national nightmare is over as Purdue has settled on its player under center heading into the 2013 season.
Sunday evening, and a day after Saturday’s jersey scrimmage, head coach Darrell Hazell announced that Rob Henry has been named as the Boilermakers’ starting quarterback. Henry won the job following a competition with a pair of freshmen, Danny Etling and Austin Appleby.
Henry had been given the majority of reps with the first-team offense the past couple of weeks, so his re-ascension to the starting job is not exactly a surprise.
The naming of Henry as the starter is actually one of those feel-good comeback stories.
In 2010, and in place of an injured Robert Marve, Henry started seven of the 11 games in which he played. Expected to open the season as the starter the following season as Marve continued to recover from his ACL issues, Henry tore his ACL a week before the season opener and missed all of 2011. He returned in 2012 and appeared in 11 games, completing 21 of 38 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns.