The Purdue football team’s upcoming brutal schedule will require them to rally quickly after their 41-10 loss to Wisconsin Saturday afternoon.
The Boilermakers will face Northern Illinois (3-0) on Saturday, who have won 24 of it’s last 26 games, including a 30-27 victory against Iowa on the road to start this season. Senior quarterback Jordan Lynch has a total of 1,066 yards of offense so far in 2013, including seven touchdowns and two interceptions.
Head coach Darrell Hazell said that his team must take a step back and examine where they stand after surrendering 546 total yards against Wisconsin.
“We’ve got to do a good job as a football team of soul-searching,” Hazell said. “Obviously, that’s not the way that Purdue football wants to play. We were in a pretty close ball-game early, missed some tackles and didn’t convert some third downs.”
Purdue has an offense that has trouble moving the ball with any consistency. The unit ranks No. 112 out of 123 teams in the FBS in total offense, No. 111 in rushing yardage and No. 87 in passing yardage after four contests.
Defensively, Purdue has injury issues that could be a major factor for the rest of the season. Junior safety Landon Feichter is likely out for the season with two broken hands and a broken leg. Senior cornerback Ricardo Allen went down in the third quarter against Wisconsin with what appeared to be an ankle injury; he was helped off the field by team trainers. Hazell said that he had no update on Allen’s injury during the post-game press conference at Wisconsin.
After Northern Illinois, the Boilermakers will have a bye week before facing a gauntlet that includes hosting Nebraska, traveling to Michigan State and a home game against No. 4 Ohio State. Those three teams are a combined 10-2 on the season.
Games against Cincinnati and Notre Dame were tough tests in non-conference play, but Hazell said that he expects more from his team after a 1-3 start to the season.
“When you hit this point four games into the season and take a little bit of a step back, which I think we did, we’ve got to look at ourselves and find out who’s going to fight and which guys are going to fight,” Hazell said. “I don’t think anyone won’t fight, I don’t question that; we just need to get better.”