A week to forget for Purdue

Purdue completed a painful week with yet another bruising blow. Jeff Washburn recaps the misery.

BLOOMINGTON - This is the week Americans designate for giving thanks.

However, if your passion is Purdue football and men's basketball, Thanksgiving Week 2013 is one to forget rather than remember. Unless, of course, your Thursday feast is the best you've ever placed on the dining room table.

Indiana's dominating and convincing 56-36 victory on Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium capped eight days of forgettable Boilermaker performances in the two sports that are the most popular on almost every Division I college campus in America.

The Hoosiers, who give away points like the government once handed out free cheese, scored at will against a Purdue defense that has been a major disappointment throughout Darrell Hazell's first season in West Lafayette.

Indiana (5-7) scored seven touchdowns among its first eight possessions, being denied only when Boilermaker cornerback Ricardo Allen intercepted a Tre Roberson pass deep in Purdue territory. The Hoosiers had 371 yards of total offense in the first two quarters, leading 28-9 through 30 minutes.

Indiana's 56 points are the Hoosiers' most ever against Purdue, replacing the 52 the Hoosiers scored in a 52-7 victory in 1988 in West Lafayette when Fred Akers was coaching the Boilermakers.

For the Boilermakers, Saturday was ugly early, and it didn't really improve, putting the finishing touches on a 1-11 season that is the worst in my lifetime, and I'm within three years of collecting Social Security benefits if I opt to go that way.

This eight-day window of frustration for Purdue faithful began Nov. 23 when the Boilermakers could not muster enough points to defeat Illinois in the 2013 home finale in Ross-Ade Stadium. Illinois ended its own 20-game, Big Ten Conference losing streak with a 20-16 victory in Ross-Ade Stadium.

On Sunday, Matt Painter's basketball team struggled at home to beat Siena and improve to 5-0, albeit a shaky 5-0 as would be substantiated later in the week.

Marcus Smart and fifth-ranked Oklahoma State built a huge lead on Thanksgiving Day in Old Spice Classic opening-round action before holding off the Boilermakers 97-87. But 97 points allowed? Wow. That is not the premise on which Purdue basketball was built.

Grumbling among Purdue fans intensified on Friday when the Boilermakers built a 10-point halftime lead against Washington State, then surrendered 52 second-half points in a 69-54 consolation bracket loss, setting up a seventh-place game on Sunday against that same Siena team that gave Purdue fits on Keady Court.

If that wasn't enough to wash away the good taste of the turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie, the Old Oaken Bucket game really ruined the week for Boilermaker fans, who expected better, especially from what should be an improved basketball team.

Painter's basketball team still has time to fix what currently ails it, but it must find a way to involve post players A.J. Hammons and Jay Simpson and stop allowing 50-point halves.

As for football, well, to say Hazell has his work cut out for him would be a gross understatement. Jim Colletto had a really poor 1-10 team in the early 1990s, but that team was competitive in most of those 10 defeats.

In a so-so 2013 Big Ten football talent pool, the Boilermakers were 0-8, and with the exceptions of the Michigan State and Illinois games, were not competitive, especially defensively.

Purdue football has a promising young quarterback in Danny Etling, who put up big second-half numbers against IU, but the rest of the roster lacks speed, offensive linemen and defenders who have a knack for making big plays.

Don't be fooled by the mini-second-half offensive burst Purdue made in Bloomington. This was a blowout from the time IU went 75 and 83 yards for touchdowns the first two times it had the ball Saturday.

It has been an extremely difficult eight-day window to be a supporter of Purdue's two primary sports, each of which has had more difficult times of late than good ones.

Beginning with Robbie Hummel's final game in a Boilermaker uniform - an NCAA tournament loss to Kansas in Omaha, Neb. - the basketball team is 21-21.

Beginning with the blowout bowl game loss to Oklahoma State to end the 2012 season, the Purdue football team has lost 12 of 13, beating only Indiana State.

In life's big picture, most of us have plenty about which to be thankful, but Thanksgiving Week 2013 is one any Purdue sports fan certainly would like to forget as quickly as possible.

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