Tag:Bill Cubit
Posted on: December 27, 2011 8:51 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 11:59 pm
 

QUICK HITS: Purdue 37, Western Michigan 32

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

PURDUE WON: 
Don't have a great answer for the opponent's offense? Don't let them use it. 

That was the solution for the Boilermakers against Western Michigan Tuesday, as a pair of surprise onsides kicks, 265 rushing yards, and 6 forced turnovers combined to give Purdue a 35:54-24:06 advantage in time-of-possession. The Broncos' patented passing attack did its usual damage, collecting 439 yards and 3 touchdowns, but quarterback Alex Carder threw four interceptions and three drives inside the Purdue 30 netted a total of just three points. Add in a 99-yard Raheem Mostert kickoff return for touchdown, and for all of the Broncos' success in the air, nearly all the plays that really mattered went the way of the Boilermakers.

That still shouldn't overshadow the incredible effort from WMU All-American wide receiver Jordan White, who hauled in 13 receptions -- many of them of the highlight-reel variety -- for 265 yards.

WHY PURDUE WON: It's hard to overstate exactly how big Carson Wiggs' two successful first-half onsides kicks were for the Boilers; by playing keep-away from Carder and the Bronco offense and  giving themselves short fields to work with, Danny Hope's aggressive calls gave Purdue a command of the game they never relinquished. The Broncos were forced to chase the game from the middle of the second quarter on, and they never did catch up to it.

But a major part of that failure was how dominant the Purdue defense was on third- and fourth-and-short. Down 24-15 late in the second quarter, Bill Cubit elected to run up the middle on 4th-and-1 from his own 44; Tevin Drake was stuffed to set up a Purdue field goal. (Remember what we said about chasing the game?) So facing a third and then fourth-and-1 at the Purdue 20 in the second half, the Broncos called for back-to-back pass plays for Carder; two incompletions later, it was Purdue ball again. Then there was the Bronco drive that reached the Purdue 4 and saw the Boilermakers commit a pair of penalties, meaning WMU had five chances to score, including three from the 2 or closer; they settled for a field goal.

Combine that kind of short-yardage futility with six turnovers and various special teams gaffes, and it's something of a wonder the Broncos came as close as they did.

WHEN PURDUE WON: Not until the Broncos' final, potentially triumphant drive was cut short on just its second play when Ryan Russell stripped Carder from behind for the sixth and final WMU turnover.

WHAT PURDUE WON: Their first winning season under Hope and their first bowl championship since 2007. A win in the Little Caesar's Bowl over MAC opposition may not sound like much to a Big Ten team, but the dual onsides kicks should tell you how much it meant to Hope and his team.

WHAT WESTERN MICHIGAN LOST: Their most recent, arguably best-ever shot to win a bowl game -- the Broncos are now 0-5 all-time, 0-4 as a D-I school -- and their final chance with talents like Carder and White that may not come around again any time soon. This one will sting.

THAT WAS CRAZY: How often do you see a team force a turnover and then turn it back over to the other team while trying to return it? Not often. How often do you see it happen twice in the same half? We don't think we ever have. But that's what WMU managed all the same, stripping Boilermaker defenders after first an interception and then a Carder fumble.

FINAL GRADE: Though not always the most cleanly executed game, the Boilers and Broncos provided a ton of big plays, momentum shifts, and even (finally) some late-game drama as WMU kept getting off the mat after having been seemingly knocked out a half-dozen times. It wasn't quite the 2010 Little Caesar's epic, but it wasn't bad at all. B+.

Posted on: December 14, 2011 1:32 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 12:45 pm
 

Keys to the Game: Little Caesars Bowl

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

PURDUE WILL WIN IF: They're focused and motivated, which isn't always the easiest task for Big Ten teams squaring off against MAC opposition in the postseason. And let's be honest--a Tuesday afternoon game in Detroit on Dec. 27 doesn't exactly scream MUST-WIN EPIC MATCHUP TO DECIDE FATE OF THE PROGRAM AND ENTIRE WEST LAFAYETTE WAY OF LIFE. It more kind of whispers "hey, guys, a win would be nice." The good news for Danny Hope: after three years of being shut out of a bowl game (including the first two years on Hope's watch), the Boilers should be excited to make any kind of postseason appearance, and they should have enough overall depth and talent to get past a 7-5 MAC team if they are sufficiently motivated. But we'd have said the same thing before their failed trip to Rice in Week 2 of this season, and Western Michigan is much, much better than Rice.

WESTERN MICHIGAN WILL WIN IF: Alex Carder and Jordan White do their thing. Of all the things either the Boilers or the Broncos do, the only one either side does especially well is Western Michigan throwing the ball; they're eighth in the nation at 329 yards per-game behind Carder's pro-grade arm, and White has received All-American notices after leading the FBS in yards and receptions. Purdue, meanwhile, isn't terrible at defending the pass but -- like we said -- isn't great at it, either, ranking 54th in opposing passer rating. Still, WMU hasn't always lived up to that air-it-out billing--Carder failed to top 233 yards in any game of a three-game midseason slump, during which time the Broncos went 1-2 and fell to Eastern Michigan. But as long as the usual Carder/White tag-team shows up, Purude may be hard-pressed to keep pace.

THE X-FACTOR: The Broncos aren't much to look at on defense, statistically speaking -- they finished 100th in total defense -- but they seemed to keep something in reserve for their "punching up" contests, holding Illinois to 23 points and less than 6 yards a play and UConn to 6.2 yards a play in a 38-31 road win. Both YPP marks were above WMU's average (despite them playing in the MAC) and has been a repeating theme under Bill Cubit. On paper the Boilers should certainly be able to make some offensive hay, but the Bronco resistance may be tougher than the numbers make it look.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:00 pm
 

Kent State coach Martin to step down after season

Posted by Adam Jacobi

When the MAC opens its football season in 2011, it'll do so without its current longest-serving head coach. According to a statement by Kent State last night, head coach Doug Martin will step down after the end of this season. Martin is 47 years old and has spent all of seven years at the helm of the Golden Flashes; in the MAC, that qualifies for longest-tenured. Next season, that title will belong to Frank Solich of Ohio and Bill Cubit at Western Michigan.

This serial instability is pretty much par for the course in the MAC, though; even if no other MAC coaches leave their post between now and the end of August -- always a dicey proposition -- there'll be only three coaches in the 12-team conference with more than three years atop their programs in 2011: Solich, Cubit, and Northern Illinois coach Jerry Kill. That means that a substantial amount of players on MAC football teams have been at their schools longer than their coaches have. And it's not as if this is a new development; the last coaches at each school were only there for an average of 6.2 years, and nine either resigned, retired, or got fired. It's really, really hard to build a program in an environment that basically ensures such a high failure rate.

In a minor football conference, though, there's a fine line between stability and stagnation, and that's certainly the case in the MAC. It's hard to get fans (and boosters) excited if the team just went through a sub-.500 season and didn't make any wholesale changes, after all. But administrators routinely underestimate the destructive effects of a coaching change on a program, and that appears to be the case here again. Yes, Martin resigned, but it's hard to imagine he could have the Kent State job back if he had asked for it.

Kent State has announced that it is beginning a national search for Martin's successor immediately. And so the gears of abject mediocrity grind on, endlessly greased with the entrails of careers that barely stand a chance.

 
 
 
 
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