Purdue hasn’t won a game in November since 2012 and the Boilermakers are surrendering astonishing numbers in their five losses this season.
Interim coach Gerad Parker, who also coaches Purdue’s wide receivers, pointed to turnovers as the key to why opponents are rolling over the Boilermakers. Purdue is minus-10 in turnovers in their losses, including 0-4 against Penn State, which converted two fumbles and two interceptions into 28 points last weekend on the way to a 62-24 rout.
“Everyone knows the turnover margin is the key,” Parker said. “It’s putting ourselves in bad position not only turning it over on the plus side of the field, and that’s killing us. That turnover margin also is on our defense, because we are not getting takeaways. We’re putting our offense on long fields, and our defense is playing on short fields.”
The Boilermakers (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten), whose fourth-year coach Darrell Hazell was fired on Oct. 16 with a 9-33 record, visits Minnesota (6-2, 3-2) on Saturday. The Golden Gophers have won three in a row.
In their defeats, the Boilermakers are allowing 45.2 points a game and 489.6 yards of total offense. The five teams that have beaten Purdue have run 345 plays for 2,448 yards, or 7.1 yards each time they’ve snapped the ball, and it might not change this weekend. Minnesota has the fourth-ranked Big Ten rushing offense (207.3 yards a game) and Purdue is 13th in rushing defense (250 yards a game) and scoring defense (36.9) and last in total defense (449.8).
And the November schedule is not promising for a team that has lost 13 in a row in the 11th month. After Minnesota, Purdue has Northwestern (4-4), Wisconsin (6-2) and visits rival Indiana (4-4).
Purdue cornerback Da’Wan Hunte, who watched his team be outscored 45-7 in the second half by Penn State, said the Boilermakers simply aren’t making enough plays on the ball.
“When the ball is in the air, our job is to get it down and take it away, and we just didn’t do that,” Hunte said.
Quarterback David Blough, who leads the Big Ten in passing at 293.3 yards a game, said the offense’s inability to protect the football is every bit as much to blame for the negative results against Cincinnati, Maryland, Iowa, Nebraska and Penn State.
“When things start going the other way, we have to stand up and fight like men after bad stuff happens during the game,” Blough said. “We have to be able to do it for one another.”
Parker is well aware of Purdue’s lack of November success.
“Winning creates positive thoughts, and when you lose, it creates the opposite kind of thoughts,” Parker said.
NOTES: Including the loss to Penn State, Purdue is 3-26 in Big Ten games from the beginning of the 2013 season, including 1-14 in Ross-Ade Stadium … Senior DT Jake Replogle has missed three consecutive games with a concussion. Parker hopes he passes concussion protocol and will be cleared to play at Minnesota. … Purdue’s last victory in November came against Indiana in 2012.