There aren’t too many college kids who don’t know the feeling of a hangover. They are often the result of a great time, but end with headaches, sluggishness, and feelings of regret.
The Purdue Boilermakers are grabbing for the Motrin right now.
Coming off their biggest win of the season, an upset over Ohio State, the Boilers failed to capitalize on a prime opportunity to become bowl eligible.
Purdue lost to Iowa, 31-21, at home on Senior Day and now must wait another week to punch its postseason ticket.
“I could tell a couple players on the team, some players, even me, hung over on that win a little too long,” said cornerback Ricardo Allen.
Purdue turned the ball over four times and had a punt blocked, Saturday. Two of the turnovers came deep inside Hawkeyes’ territory, including an interception at the Iowa one.
“We came out kind of slow. We hang our hats on starting fast, but we came out kind of slow,” said wide receiver Antavian Edison. “We just need to go back to the drawing board, see what we did wrong, what we can correct, and get ready for this upcoming game.”
Against the Buckeyes, the Boilermakers gave up just 295 yards of offense. The Hawkeyes lit them up for 408, including 139 on the ground by Marcus Coker and 151 yards receiving by Marvin McNutt.
Ohio State was just 6-of-16 on third down conversions. Iowa went 8-of-15 and scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and missed a field goal on its third.
“When we get a win, we just have to take that win and put it under our doorstep, not just, hang on to that,” said Allen. “We have to look onto the next team…and just know every game you can lose and every game you can win, and go out and prepare right.”
Allen was among of handful of Boilermakers who pointed to the team’s lack of energy as the primary reason for the loss.
And there was plenty to be excited about. Bowl eligibility was on the line. It was the final game inside Ross-Ade Stadium for 22 Boilermaker seniors and a win would have meant an undefeated year at home.
But, the Boilers couldn’t feed off those incentives.
“It’s a mindset thing, just being prepared, and practicing well throughout the week,” said defensive tackle Kawann Short. “It’s a want to. You’ve got to come out and be ready.”
As much as hangovers may be a part of college, so too is learning. Immediately after the loss to Iowa, Purdue’s players said they learned from their mistakes and vowed to be prepared to take advantage of their final chance of reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2007. To do so, they have to beat their arch nemesis, Indiana.
“It’ll be pretty intense. We’ve got to make this one count to go to a bowl game, it’s also a rivalry game, so it just adds to the fire,” said running back Ralph Bolden.
If Purdue doesn’t bring the fire, there may be no amount of medicine to handle the headache caused by not going to a bowl.