Associated Press: Purdue, coming off its worst game of the season, expects better against Michigan
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Purdue has had stretches of ineptitude this season, but nothing like the game's worth of ugliness last Saturday.
There were the five turnovers in 18 minutes against Northwestern, the game-winning touchdown allowed to Notre Dame in the final minute and the first down surrendered on a fake punt against Northern Illinois that killed the Boilermakers' chances of a comeback.
But those games were close. Wisconsin, on the other hand, hammered the Boilermakers in every possible way in putting up a 37-0 victory. Purdue gained just 141 yards, its lowest total since 1995, and allowed the Badgers 266 yards on 53 carries.
Purdue coach Danny Hope offered no insight Tuesday into why it happened.
"I can't even speculate something, or I can't even make something up for you to write about," he said. "I don't know what we could have done any different."
Now, the Boilermakers must get it together if they don't want their season to end in November. Purdue (3-6, 2-3 Big Ten) must win out to become bowl eligible, starting with a road game at Michigan on Saturday (noon, Big Ten Network).
Hope said his team needs to remember the Wisconsin loss without dwelling on it.
"I think it's always important to move on so that your focus can be on the right things," he said. "But you have to learn from the past, so hopefully it'll make an impression so we can go out there and do even better in practice, make sure we do better in the games as a result of it."
They won't be able to duplicate Saturday's performance if they want to win at Michigan for the first time since 1966.
Purdue quarterback Joey Elliott is coming off the worst game of his career. He completed just five of 23 passes for 59 yards, was sacked three times and threw one interception.
"He was a little antsier in the pocket than he needed to be," Hope said. "We protected pretty good. A couple times they got on the edge of us some, but that's going to happen. But he just didn't play as well as he has."
The entire passing game, one of the Big Ten's best, imploded.
"We didn't catch the football very well," Hope said. "Some of the passes weren't quite as accurate, and we didn't catch the ball very good, and that really impacted the game."
The hardest part for Hope was trying to explain why his team didn't play hard and didn't give itself a chance to win. Each week, Hope has emphasized that the Boilermakers had been competitive, played hard and believed it could win.
He couldn't say those things about Saturday's effort.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't play better," he said. "We didn't do some things that we've done a great job with all year long."