After a win over No. 23 Illinois, Purdue has been outscored 98-31 in two losses against Michigan and Wisconsin to drop to 4-5.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the other team scoring big plays," Coach Danny Hope said. "We've come out the last two games knowing we had to start fast. We felt like one of the keys to this week would be weathering the storm in the first quarter. They've outscored their opponents (by a lot) in the first quarter."
Purdue has scored on its opening possession the past two games, but failed to move the ball much for the rest of the game.
"On offense, we're trying to answer the bell, but we're playing some really tough competition," Hope said. "We've got a couple tough calls. A couple plays different offensively, we're right there with them in spite of the amount of big plays we're giving up defensively.
"I think a lot of it has to do with the other team scoring big plays," Hope said. "We've come out the last two games knowing we had to start fast. We felt like one of the keys to this week would be weathering the storm in the first quarter. They've outscored their opponents (by a lot) in the first quarter."
Hope said the team has been forced to get out of the offensive game plan earlier than he would like after falling behind before halftime.
"In the second half, we're having to get out of our game plan pretty soon cause we're running out of time," Hope said. "In the second half, our opponents are still making big plays, and we're having to throw the ball every down.
Hope said he thinks offensive coordinator Gary Nord has done a great job of manufacturing some special plays on that side of the ball.
"We've done a good job with our special plays," Hope said. "We've kept them off balance. We've got our bread-and-butter plays offensively, and we're executing those to some degree of success,
Hope said the Boilermakers have to do a better job of capitalizing on turnovers after forcing three in the first half against Michigan and Wisconsin combined.
"We have to execute a little bit better on offense and answer the bell," Hope said. "If we have to score 20 points to win a game, so be it. If we have to score 50 points to win the game so be it...We're going to have to cash in on some more opportunities offensively."
After already losing defensive end Robert Maci for the season and defense end Ryan Russell battling injuries, the Boilermaker defensive line suffered another hit when defensive tackle Ryan Issac tore his ACL. Hope said the lack of depth in the defensive front has led to so many huge gains by the opposition.
"We were down numbers on the defensive front and we we wore down some," Hope said. "We're trying to load up and stop some very. Defensively, we're going to have to do better in regards to big plays. They are killing us."