Purdue's run game remains at a standstill

Purdue's rushing attack continues to struggle, and it's slowing down the entire offense.

WEST LAFAYETTE -- Darrell Hazell's brief press conference relayed the message of Saturday's game. After an energetic first half, the Boilermakers disappointed fans yet again with a lackluster second half. Problems were seen on both sides of the ball, the biggest of which being Purdue's struggling running game.

Purdue played what was nearly a mistake-free game, only being penalized two times and turning the ball over once. But that turnover, a Raheem Mostert fumble, turned momentum to Iowa.

"Those are hard things to overcome when you are where we are as a program," Hazell said of the fumble.

Even with the 38-14 loss, there were improvements seen on both sides of the ball. Etling was only sacked twice; the defense allowed less than 50 points and Etling was able to drive the Boilermakers into the red zone for the first time since September. With the minor improvements from last game, the rushing offense still seems to be struggling.

With Purdue's 28 rushing attempts producing only 53 yards for a 1.9 average carry, the offense had to rely on Etling's passing game to get some points posted on the board.

"They had a very good front seven," junior running back Brandon Cottom said of Iowa. "It basically comes down to making plays. Offensively, we didn't produce enough, make enough plays. Our goal is to go down and score every drive and we didn't do that."

Purdue tried a quintet of running backs throughout the game, while Cottom was the only running back with double-digit rushing yards, with a dismal 28 yards. Purdue's offensive line appears to be able to protect Danny Etling in the pocket, but when it comes to the rushing game they are underachieving.

Etling had a solid day today, 20 for 34 with no interceptions and a touchdown completion. Freshman Austin Appleby was called into do mop-up duty at the end of the game. Appleby hit on five of six passes with Purdue's second and final touchdown.

Purdue's quarterbacks should not be expected to pass on every play. At some point the offensive line needs to start to control the line of scrimmage and create some holes for Purdue's running backs.

Akeem Hunt is Purdue's leading rusher but he is only averaging 36.1 yards a game. The problems on the offensive line need to be addressed.

Going into Happy Valley next weekend, Purdue needs to control the line of scrimmage. It won't be an easy task.

Follow on Twitter: @CDillonFOX


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