Purdue's downward slide continues

Purdue lost again, 38-14 to Iowa, and its downward slide continues on.

WEST LAFAYETTE - There will be no quick, easy fix for the Purdue football program.

Entering Saturday's game in Ross-Ade Stadium, Iowa and the Boilermakers ranked 11th and 12th, respectively, in Big Ten Conference scoring.

But the visiting Hawkeyes became bowl eligible while looking like an offensive force with which to be reckoned in pounding Purdue 38-14 in front of an announced crowd of 41,038. Trust me when I say there were not that many in the stands when the game started and certainly many less when it ended.

Purdue fell to 1-8 overall and 0-5 in the Big Ten. Beginning with a 44-7 loss to Nebraska on Oct. 12, the Boilermakers have been outscored 152-21. It was 7-7 after Purdue recovered a fumbled second-quarter punt and pushed it in after running a play from the Red Zone for the first time in six weeks. That's right, six weeks.

Then Iowa ran off the next 31 points to seize a 38-7 advantage, emptying most of what remained of a small crowd. What is troubling for Purdue fans is that the Hawkeyes used no tricks or treats to dominate this game.

Iowa's offensive line dominated at the point of attack, making it difficult for Purdue's front seven to get off blocks. The Hawkeyes sustained drives all afternoon, marching 90, 67, 71, 70, 67 and 27 yards for their five touchdowns and a field goal.

Remember, this is an Iowa team that came to West Lafayette averaging only 25.3 points, which in the Big Ten does not strike fear into anyone, except maybe Purdue, which entered averaging only 11.5 points.

That's probably why one fan reported on social media that he was able to purchase eight tickets for Saturday's game for $5. Total.

It's truly difficult to watch Purdue football right now. Iowa outrushed the Boilermakers 318 yards to 53 and rolled up 509 yards of total offense while Purdue gained only 266.

Boilermaker freshman quarterback Danny Etling was sacked twice, which raises the total of sacks to 18 in the past four starts.

When a team's most productive player is punter Cody Webster, it emphasizes just how much work first-year coach Darrell Hazell and his staff have ahead of them to make Purdue relevant in any Big Ten football conversation.

In conversations with Boilermaker fans, there's genuine desire to give Hazell an opportunity to fix this broken product, but there really is very little interest in watching Purdue play football right now.

The basketball season began Friday night with a more difficult than expected victory against Northern Kentucky, but there's a feeling that Matt Painter's team has good players that will improve with experience.

You won't see those with basketball tickets selling eight of them for $5. Total.

Three games remain on Purdue's 2013 schedule. A trip this coming Saturday to angry Penn State, which lost at Minnesota. Then Illinois comes to West Lafayette on Nov. 23 for the regular season home finale. I wonder if the crowd will approach 25,000, especially if the weather is poor. It was a perfect fall afternoon on Saturday, and there literally were thousands of empty seats.

Finally, two days after Thanksgiving, the Boilermakers travel to Bloomington, which scores points almost as quickly as the Hoosiers' basketball team puts them on the board.

The harsh reality for Purdue football fans is that there is a strong possibility that the Boilermakers will finish 1-11 in Hazell's first season, which will make selling season football tickets for the 2014 season almost as difficult as it has been for Purdue to run plays in the red zone.

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