Friday, August 29, 2008

The Grand Tour

This is my project for the day. I went and took some pictures of the new place. Yeah, I keep a blog, sometimes. As I mentioned in my email, I thought this would be the easiest way to let everyone see the place without flying them in from a different state or attaching 20 megabytes worth of pictures! Below you'll see the outside of our new condo. Pretty picturesque, eh? Feels weird being a homeowner! You should be able to click each pic for a fairly large photo of good quality.


Now, to the left is a view of the garage. Note how you can see a washed out Pontiac Grand Am on the left side. You'll also notice some clutter in there. I'll get to that later. But let's just say, if I'm still getting up at 2 a.m. for my job, it's nice to know I won't be scraping ice off my car anymore.

It really is a wonderful thought!

To your right you'll see the view from our patio. It's really the "front" of the place, although it feels like the back to me. We really like the view and the fountain. It's very pretty (and captured by such a talented photographer; Photojournalism I, eat your heart out!) We look forward to putting some chairs out on the patio and having a nice, cold drink.

This is more or less a reverse view of the patio. As you can see, we need to do some major weeding. We'll get to that in a week or. Anne's the one with the green thumb...and I know she's looking forward to playing around back there (and getting some help from her mom). Better them than me.

Upon entering through the garage, the first place you'll see is the kitchen. The door you see at the top there goes to the garage. It was just a little easier to take the picture facing this way to give you an idea of what the kitchen looks like.



I'm going to point out a couple details that I like about the kitchen. The first is this little breakfast bar. Wait...that sounds so unsophisticated. How 'bout nook? Yes, yes...that sounds much more sophisticated. The breakfast nook. Ignore the fact that one of the chairs is a little taller than the others.

YOU DON'T SEE THAT.

The next favorite feature is a childhood dream. My very own water and ice dispenser. Oh, how long I've thirsted for instant ice and instantly cold water. It needs a little scrubbing. We'll take care of it, don't worry.


If you do a 180-degree turn at the breakfast nook, yes, NOOK, you'll see the living room. This is where we'll put our couch, recliner, and TV. Notice the little fireplace on the right side? It lights up with a switch. I'm pretty sure Batman built this place.

Only Batman would think of something as cool as that.

Just a gratuitous shot of the fireplace. It really is a nice touch. The condo was built in 1998. That mantle was not part of the original plan. The previous homeowner added it and he's very proud of his work. Just thought I'd mention that.


It's hard to see in the other pictures, but the place is wired for surround sound. I didn't snap photos of them, but there are places in the walls for rear surround sound speakers. You connect them through this little socket. The wiring is already run, I believe. That makes life a lot easier.

If you look out the window on the right side of the living room, this is what you'll see. I find it very tranquil.

Again, we have some work to do with the patio. Thankfully, Anne is quickly becoming an accomplished gardener. Folks, she's our only hope.

This is the hall from the living room to the den. We're not 100% sure what we're going to do with this room, but Anne wants to make it a place for me to play in. That probably means a television, a computer, and maybe some kind of furniture.

Geez...I right-justified way too many of these pictures. I beg your forgiveness. I'm not exactly great at laying out beautiful-looking blog entries.

It was very hard to get a good picture of either the "den" or the spare bedroom downstairs. You're missing out on the scale of the room. It's pretty big, even though it doesn't look like it here. I don't have a wide-angle lens on my camera, so this was the best I could do.

A nice feature of the rooms is that they all have ceiling fans. This is the one in the den area. I took it to illustrate the fact that each fan has its OWN REMOTE CONTROL. I snapped a picture of the remote for this fan; it came out blurry. Oh well.

This is the spare bedroom downstairs. We'll probably put a daybed in here. Again, it's hard to get a scope of its size because I couldn't get a good angle in the room. One notable feature here is the window shade. It opens from either the top or bottom, which is nice. The room also gets very dark when the shade goes up all the way. Since I work at night, I imagine I'll take quite a few naps in this room.

The nice thing about this spare bedroom is that it has a full bathroom with a shower stall as well as its own walk-in closet. It'll be nice for storage and for guests as well.

Hey, why we're talking about bathrooms, why not look at this one? It's the half bathroom that's kind of across from the breakfast nook. It has the current distinction of being the only bathroom that I've used so far.

Er....

Let's head upstairs, shall we?



I'm not going to spend time on each of these pictures. All of these come from the MASSIVE walk-in closet that serves the upstairs bedroom, henceforth to be referred to as the master suite. You'll see shoe racks, wire baskets, and plenty of places to hang clothes. Anne and are I contemplating putting our dressers inside this closet. It's really that big.









Here's a look at the master suite. I took a couple pictures to try to give you a good idea how it looks. In this particular picture, you can see the door to the bathroom (it's the dark door on the left side). I took this picture from the back right corner of the room.

This is another view of the master suite. I took this one from the middle left of the room. The white half-wall you see covers the stairs.
Another view of the master suite. I took this one pretty close to the top of the stairs.

This is the upstairs bathroom. I guess you'd call it the master bathroom. It's quite large and has quite an echo to it, something that drives Anne bonkers.
I find it perfect for yodeling. The size of this bathroom dwarfs the size of the downstairs bathroom, which in turn dwarfs the size of the little bathroom here at our apartment. Consider us well pleased with this whole deal. Bonus points if you've spotted my elbow.

For all you homeowners out there, this linen closet isn't a big deal. However, when your linen closet is also full of board games, appliances, miscellaneous Star Wars toys, an empty Xbox 360 package, dishes, and other unimagineable odds n' ends, a dedicated linen closet is a godsend. Especially if your name is Anne.


Okay, we've magically transported back downstairs and left the kitchen. We're looking at the garage. There is a lot of stuff still here from the previous homeowner. I don't even know what half of it is (do I see a vacuum cleaner in there?). We've been assured the stuff will be gone within a week or so.

Ah, plenty of places for me to hang all my tools. And by all my tools I mean that all-in-one screwdriver, hammer, nail, and tape measure set my dad got me for Christmas a few years back. Anyway, if we get garden tools or have things to hang, we'll have a place to do it.

I also really like these. We don't have a lot of hardware or WD-40 lying around the house, but when we acquire that stuff, we'll have a lot of cabinet space to put it. The previous homeowner installed these with a friend. I really like them.

Keys are so like 20th century! Who needs a house key when you can punch in a super-secret code to enter your home? The only folly in that logic would be if you locked the door to the kitchen. While you'll be able to play in the garage in that case, you won't be able to actually enter the house without a Chuck Norris-style roundhouse kick.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

#6 Boilers steamroll Wolverines

Have a seat: Linebacker Anthony Heygood plows into Michigan quarterback Steven Threet. The rush resulted in a Purdue interception.

"What happened to Michigan football?" Coach Matt Adams pondered in a surreal post-game newsconference.

"Those guys used to clean our clocks just about every time. They had all the good athletes. Last year's team was loaded with talent. If this is what Rich Rodriguez is bringing to the Maize and Blue, I'm all for it."

Adams referred to another dominating performance from his sixth-ranked Boilermakers, who sent Michigan home with its sixth loss of the season in a ho-hum 42-6 victory at Ross Ade Stadium.

"I've seen a lot of football and a lot of Michigan football and believe me, that wasn't Michigan football. Well, except for the maximum suckage. That's pretty typical."

It was actually a pretty close contest through the first half. The Boilermakers committed to their ground game in the first quarter, eating the clock and riding Kory Sheets for two touchdown runs. The Boilermakers led 14-3 after a late field goal from the Wolverines. That wasn't enough for Adams, who opened things up in the second half.

"We were shredding those guys on the ground. It didn't seem fair, so I decided we'd air it out. Curt's liable to give up a pick or two, right?" Adams said, a creepy, unsettling smugness playing across his face.

The Boilermakers, known for their love of the passing game, had just 77 passing yards in the first half. Curtis Painter didn't throw a touchdown pass.

It didn't take long for the Gold and Black to fix that.

On the first play of the second half, Painter hit Joe Whitest on a play-action pass. Whitest outran Michigan's defense for 74 yards before reaching the endzone. In just one play, Painter had nearly doubled his passing yards.

"A couple of those guys tried to catch me," Whitest said with an easy smile, "but they didn't stand a chance. I ain't got the best jets in the world, but when I get out into the open field like that, I'm gonna make something happen."

"I saw a good mismatch there, Joe up against #55 (left end Brandon Graham) on a zone blitz. I mean, that's just too easy," Painter said.

"Oh, I'd expect Mr. All World Quarterback to say something like that. We wide receivers never do anything in that dude's mind," Whitest replied, every trace of his smile gone.

Painter finished the game with four touchdown passes, each one part of a 28-point second-half blitz that saw Michigan beaten over and over again like a Division III team.

"You know that movie where that guy gets his nose bit off by a Saigon whore? Well, today, Michigan was that guy and we were the Saigon whore," Adams said, his voice deadly serious.

After a slow start in the first half, Painter finished with 355 yards and four touchdowns. He added another pair of interceptions.

"I just like to make things interesting. Give 'em a chance, you know?" Painter said.

Sheets helped the Boilers get off to a fast start. He finished with eight carries for 62 yards and two touchdown runs. He also added two catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.

"When people think Curtis Painter, they think Heisman. But when Curtis Painter thinks Heisman, he thinks Kory Sheets should be near the top," Painter said of his teammate.

"Coach has gots to reign that guy in," Sheets said, shaking his head in disbelief. "I get the feeling Curt thinks he can stroll in and cruise to 300 yards every game."

"What? Yeah, I can stroll in and cruise to 300 yards every game. What? Why did you have to mention the Notre Dame game? So, I didn't throw for 300 yards that game. So what? I showed that blowhard Coach Krildog what a real man looks like. And it ain't in blue and gold," Painter screamed from the podium. "I'm a man!"

The real stars of the game were Purdue's wide receivers. Brandon Whittington led the talented group of seniors with nine catches for 116 yards. He didn't find the endzone. Senior counterpart Greg Orton had six receptions for 77 yards and a beautiful 20-yard grab for a score. Whitest had one of his best games as a Boilermaker, adding two touchdowns and 105 yards on four catches.

"It's funny," Whitest said, "I had a 74-yard catch and one that statistically counts as a yard but really couldn't been for like zero yards. Talk about your extremes!"

Defensively, Purdue shut down Michigan's option attack. The Wolverines committed to the option time and time again. But 28 rushes netted just 43 yards. Give credit to the Boilers' "D." The unit finished with ten tackles for loss and held the Wolverines to 5 of 13 on third down conversions. Junior safety Brandon King and junior corner Royce Adams had two tackles for loss apiece. Sophomore cornerback Charlton Williams and senior tackle Alex Magee each had a sack.

The Boilermakers (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) hit the road next week against Michigan State.

Notes

Two idiots, one each in the media and coaches' polls, have given Purdue one first place vote...for only the second time this season, the Boilermakers were forced to punt; Chris Summers sent the kick 51 yards, but it netted only 26 after a 25-yard return from Michigan...highly-touted safety Brett Smith of Cleveland, Ohio, watched the game at Ross Ade; "They sure whupped up on them Michigan boys. Maybe I'll move Purdue up on my list, but right now Kentucky's looking awfully good"...the Boilers also welcomed wide receiver Tim Booth to the game. The 6'0", 189-pound wideout walked away impressed: "That's college football. I'm going to have to consider Purdue. But Auburn's offering me a scholarship and a Hummer, so Purdue's going to have to pony up"...Purdue earned its second commitment of the season when tackle Logan Cutler signed his letter of intent. Cutler, who hails from Chicago, visited during the Minnesota game and knew coming to West Lafayette was his destiny: "Never really cared much for gophers. I'm a pass blocker, it's what I do best, and playing here at Purdue is going to give me the best to utilize my skills"...Coach Matt Adams hopes the effort against Michigan will convince linebacker Brian Pressley to change his mind. Pressley has given a soft commitment to the Wolverines, but Adams thinks Purdue would be a better fit: "However you stack it, if the kid doesn't pick us, he's screwed. He's either going to go to Michigan and fade away into obscurity or fall an unfortunate victim to Notre Dame," Adams said.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Boilers send Gophers back underground

Maybe it was the time away from home, the grind of playing three out of four on the road.

Maybe it was the prospect of nearly cracking the top ten.

For whatever reason, the Purdue Boilermakers came out with some butterflies flapping around inside.

"Don't know what it was. That wasn't Boiler football to start the game off," Coach Matt Adams said, tipping his trademark black Purdue ballcap. "It was a pretty miserable start. Glad the fans stuck around for more than the first few minutes."

For the first three minutes of the game, it looked like Minnesota would hang around for an intriguing match-up. Greg Orton fumbled the opening kickoff and although Purdue recovered it, the tone was set.

"Just tried to do too much with it. Sometimes, you can do that," Orton admitted.

Curtis Painter stepped on the field to calm the Boiler faithful. But he ended up throwing an interception, setting Minnesota up for a quick and easy field goal.

"I just didn't time it right. I was trying to hit Kory (Sheets) down the middle and threw it before he broke inside. The linebacker was sitting right there waiting on it. Great start, Curtis," Painter said, a dour expression on his face.

After leading Purdue to a touchdown to grab the lead, he threw another interception, this one costly. It came in the redzone as Purdue was driving for a score.

"It was at that point I thought Curtis may be on the (former Purdue quarterback) Kyle Orton plan," Adams said. "Nobody came up shorter in a big game than Orton. And it usually involved a night out and some obscene hand gestures."

Despite Painter's first half struggles, the Boilermakers managed to score another touchdown, this one courtesy of senior safety Torri Williams, who pounced on a floater from Minnesota's Adam Weber and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown.

That put the Boilermakers up 14-3. Minnesota wouldn't even sniff the endzone after that.

"If I had to pick, say, a Pontiac game-changing moment, that would've been my pick," Adams said.

"The dude didn't realize we were like in Cover 2 or something, dog. It was easy. Painfully easy. Like getting it on with a drunk girl. Wait, can I say that?" Williams explained. "Anyway, the ball was there for the taking. Saw nothin' but green in front of me."

Williams' 'Pick Six' turned the tide

The offensive deluge that followed started with a trickle. Painter found Aaron Valentine for a 36-yard score.

"Aaron did most of the work on that one," Painter admitted. "I just got the ball to him and he juked his way to the touchdown."

"I showed off some moves I didn't even know I had," Valentine said, a surprised look on his face. "I mean, how many freaking balls has Painter even thrown my way this season? I have, what, 12 catches on the year? 90-some yards? I had 47 of them in this (expletive) game...36 of those on one bleeding catch!"

Painter made the throw, Valentine did the rest

Painter would find the endzone four more times in the contest. In all, he threw six touchdown passes to six different receivers. Three of them went for more than 35 yards each.

"Those interceptions made me mad," Painter admitted. "The one in the redzone, I was trying to float that ball over the linebacker. But I just freaking threw it right to him. I saw him, let me tell you, I saw him. Don't know why my body went all 'bullet pass' when my mind was thinking 'touch pass.' It's weird."

In the third quarter, Painter found Desmond Tardy for a 38-yard touchdown strike. That score put Purdue up 28-3.

"We just had a little bunch formation going and I ran a corner route and Curtis found me. He put a lot of touch on that ball. Just had to run under it and turn the corner. Those guys didn't have a chance to catch me," Tardy said of his game-breaking grab.

Painter drops it in while Tardy sprints to paydirt

Painter also found Joe Whitest and Kyle Adams for three-yard scores.

"They're not quite as flashy, but they're still important. They mean we're finishing off our drives," Painter said. "I guess I had a good game."

That good game included 31 completions on 38 attempts for 367 yards. After throwing two interceptions in the first half, Painter carved up the Golden Gopher defense for five touchdowns.

He even found his favorite target, Orton, for a 38-yard touchdown.

"It's been a struggle going deep," Orton said. "I've been getting a lot of zone, a lot of double teams. But that was one heck of a pump fake Curt game 'em on that one. Froze the DB just enough so I could get by him. Only thing that ruined that play was Purdue Pete. He don't catch the balls. He don't throw the balls. He don't make the tackles. So why the hell is he in the endzone humping my leg? That's what I'd like to know."

Painter and Orton hook up for a long score

Kory Sheets reached the endzone with a 57-yard run on an option play. He finished just a yard shy of cracking the 100-yard mark, carrying the ball 11 times for 99 yards.

Defensively, the Boilermakers played one of their best games of the year against a very young and extremely overmatched Minnesota team.

At the half, Minnesota had just 14 total yards on offense. They registered just one first down. Their sole turnover resulted in a touchdown for Purdue.

"It was ugly out there," Weber said. "I don't really want to talk about it."

Weber had a dismal effort. The redshirt sophomore was 6-14 for 50 yards and the interception. He led the Golden Gophers to just two first downs on the day and his team punted seven times.

"I said I don't want to talk about it, you mother(expletive)," Weber screamed as he took a digital recorder and jabbed a reporter in the eye.

By the end of the game, Minnesota gained just 36 yards of total offense to Purdue's 469 yards. Even more alarming, the Golden Gophers were in the negative in total rushing yards, with -14 yards on 16 rushes. They converted just one of nine third down opportunities.

Their longest play came in the fourth quarter on a 20-yard catch by Ralph Spry.

"We sucked," Coach Tim Brewster confessed. "Didn't have these boys ready to play, that's for sure. You know you've got false hope when you're juiced up over a 3-0 lead in the first quarter. We have to do better."

The lone bright spot for Minnesota was the play of linebacker Deon Hightower. The standout fifth-year senior recorded 11 tackles and an interception.

"Deon was the only one to show up," Brewster said.

For Purdue, defensive tackle Alex Magee had a magnificent performance, recording six total tackles. Those included a sack and four tackles for loss.

"You could say Magee was pretty much the reason they were in the negatives on rush yards," Adams said with a smile. "That guy was everywhere."

Keyon Brown added a sack, his third in two weeks.

The 11th-ranked Boilermakers (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten) host Michigan next week.

Notes

Painter's 367 passing yards were a high for the season, his previous high was 347 against Oregon in week two...Painter's six TD passes are also a season high...the senior quarterback has thrown at least one interception in his last four games...Painter is within six touchdowns of tying the single-season Purdue record for touchdowns in a season...Sheets has been effective on the ground, grinding out 6.6 yards per carry this season...fullback Frank Halliburton caught another TD pass, giving him the team lead with six TD catches...Kyle Adams, Brandon Whittington, and Greg Orton are tied for second with five...safeties Brandon King and Torri Williams lead Purdue in tackles with 47 and 40, respectively...Royce Adams leads the team in interceptions, but hasn't picked off a pass since week two against Oregon...Purdue has punted only one time this season; it came against Notre Dame...Nickaro Golding leads the team with nine tackles for loss.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Cats no match for Painter, Boilermakers

After a few ho-hum performances, Curtis Painter returned to the top of his game.

But don't start the Heisman Hype Machine yet.

After all, the team he torched was Northwestern.

"Those guys always play for pride, I'll give them that," Painter gushed following the game. "They're, um, high effort guys."

Painter's effusive praise for Northwestern belied a much-needed bounceback performance. Though Painter played admirably against Ohio State, he was knocked out of the game for a short time. And multiple interceptions have plagued him of late.

The Northwestern game solved all that. Painter was razor-sharp, completing 30 of 41 passes for 320 yards and five touchdowns. He also added a score on a scramble in the 42-21 rout.

"That's the Curtis Painter I'm used to seeing," Coach Matt Adams said, the glow of another win apparent in his enthusiastic delivery. "I mean, last week we really struggled to beat Ohio State. And they were number one. So Northwestern was a chance to catch our breath. No disrespect, but they're no Ohio State. But that Bacher kid can play."

Fifth-year senior C.J. Bacher did his best to match Painter. He finished 23 of 30 for 262 yards and three touchdowns. He might've matched Painter blow-for-blow, had it not been for several unproductive possessions early in the game.

"They (Purdue's defense) came out fired up from the start," Bacher said. "Two sacks on the first two drives will really set you back."

Those sacks resulted in punts that fed Purdue's momentum, allowing the Boilers to shoot out to a 14-0 lead.

Purdue's first score of the game came on a pass over the middle to Brandon Whittington.

"I just found a little soft zone over the middle and sure enough, Curt was right on it," Whittington, the team's leading receiver, said. He grabbed nine passes for 90 yards.

Purdue's second score of the game involved Mr. All-Around Kory Sheets. After Painter hit him in the flat, Sheets did the rest, avoiding a tackle and sprinting into the endzone for a 13-yard score.

Painter and Sheets rolled early

"Good to see Kory get back on track, too," Adams said. "Defenses have been keying on him lately and it's been hard to feed him the ball."

Sheets even ran well, averaging almost eight yards a carry on the ground. He finished with 55 yards rushing.

"I thought we'd keep feeding Kory the ball, but Curtis got hot," Adams explained. "When he gets in a zone like that, you have to ride it till it stops."

Northwestern answered with long drive, culminating in a nine-yard touchdown pass from Bacher to Rasheed Ward. That pulled the Wildcats to within a touchdown.

Painter came back with another drive, hitting Joe Whitest for a short score. It followed a mad dash by the Purdue quarterback, who tried to dive into the endzone but fell short.

After Whitest's TD, the Wildcats never pulled closer than to within 14 points.

By early in the fourth quarter, Purdue held a commanding 14-point lead. The Boilers' final score came later in the fourth when Painter hit Greg Orton for a 46-yard strike.

"That was really the capper," Painter said. "I mean, we were up by a lot, but Northwestern just kept coming. You saw what they did in the fourth quarter. And they didn't have a single turnover."

Painter and Orton with the dagger

Northwestern scored 14 of its 21 points in the fourth, but it wasn't nearly enough.

Defensively, Purdue was impressive. Northwestern converted only three of its nine third downs, a 33% conversion rate. The unit surrendered just three rushing yards. While the team yielded 262 passing yards, Purdue's early stops paved the way for a rout.

Getting pressure on Bacher was the key. Three Boilermakers combined for four sacks. End Keyon Brown had two sacks, while junior Ryan Baker and senior Jason Werner added one apiece. The Boilermakers were unable to force a turnover, but they kept the pressure on throughout the game.

Werner's sack on the first series sparked Purdue

Keyon Brown had two sacks on the day

"I still wasn't 100% happy with the coverage," Adams admitted. "But the effort was there. And the pass rush was effective.

The only mistake Purdue made came from Painter, who floated a pass to Orton just before halftime as the Boilers were driving toward a possible score.

"Curt just kind of threw that one up there. The defender just wanted it more, I guess," Orton said of the interception. "I never really got that close to it."

Despite that rare miscommunication, Painter and Orton combined for a fantastic effort. Orton caught eight passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns.

"I was feeling really good. Wasn't sure how I'd feel after last week," Orton said, referring to the Ohio State game that he left because of an injury. "Doc cleared me and I'm glad he did."

After winning two straight road games, the 14th-ranked Boilermakers (7-0, 2-0 Big Ten) get to return home. They host Minnesota next week at Ross Ade Stadium.

Notes

Purdue has played three out of its last four games on the road, winning all four games...Painter's five TD passes matched his season high against Oregon, when he also found the endzone five times...since Big Ten play began, Painter has thrown seven interceptions; three each against Penn State and Ohio State, one against Northwestern...on the season, Painter has thrown 27 touchdowns in seven games...Brandon Whittington and Frank Halliburton lead the team with five TD catches each; Kory Sheets, Greg Orton, and Kyle Adams have four apiece...Keyon Brown's two sacks put him ahead of Nickcaro Golding for the team lead with four total...Painter boasts an 83% completion rate and has been sacked just five times this season.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Buckeye! #22 Boilers take down #1 OSU

Ryan Baker set the tone.

Curtis Painter finished it.

Baker, the athletic senior defensive tackle, made an astonishing catch on Ohio State's first offensive possession of the game, setting the Boilers up for an early 7-0 lead. Reading a screen pass, Baker stepped in front of Todd Boeckman's throw at the Buckeyes' own 20 yard line.

After a run and two passes, the Boilers were in business with the early lead.

"I can't stress how big that was," Coach Matt Adams said. "To come into this place and listen in eerie silence as 100,000 people collectively hold their breath is amazing. First play of the game. On a screen pass!"

Baker got Purdue off to a rousing start

The Boilermakers kept the defensive momentum going full steam ahead, forcing a punt on OSU's next possession.

Then, senior Curtis Painter made an unfortunate decision, throwing a pass into the clutches of all-world senior linebacker James Laurinaitis.

"Swear to goodness, I didn't see Hepatitis hanging back there," Painter said in disbelief. "After that play, you can bet I paid attention to where he was at all times. It was like there were seven of him out there. How do you get to be that good?"

Painter's assessment wasn't far from the truth: Laurinaitis was indeed everywhere. He finished with 16 tackles and an interception.

"James is a monster," Coach Jim Tressel said, brushing dust off his tattered sweater vest, "And so is this crowd. Dear God, I haven't been mauled like that since we went to the Big House. At least then, it was Michigan fans instead of our own! Well, I guess that's how they should react when we lose a game at home to Purdue. Freakin' Purdue."

Boeckman did his best to one-up Painter. With good field position, he unleashed a pass inside the ten-yard line, letting it fall into the hands of linebacker/team captain Anthony Heygood.

The momentum once again swung in Purdue's favor, but Painter wasn't going to let Boeckman outdo him.

"How dare he try to out 'Orton' me in a big game like that. I wasn't going to take it," Painter said, prompting every jaw in the press room to drop. "Sure, we had the chance to take a two-score lead. But what's the fun in that?"

Painter tried to hit Greg Orton on a comeback route, but Malcolm Jenkins stepped in front of it. 26 yards later, the game was tied.

"Sweet Jesus, I thought he was trying to throw it to me. It was right there," Jenkins said.

Things only got bleaker for Purdue from there. On second and 6, Painter tried to sidestep a defensive linemen to deliver the ball to a wide open Kyle Adams. But the ball was batted down, and Painter went down with it. After a delay of several minutes, Painter walked off the field holding his stomach.

"That is the last time I eat a bean burrito before the game," he said, referring to his well-known tradition of downing six bean burritos prior to kickoff. "That guy literally knocked the stuffing out of me. It wasn't pretty. Just ask Boiler Pete. He saw the whole thing. Looked like pizza dough on the sideline."

The injury forced Painter out of the game and Purdue turned to untested redshirt junior Joey Elliot. Despite the revitalized crowd and a refocused Ohio State defense, Elliot converted on third and long. He then methodically marched the Boilermakers down the field, throwing passes of 18, 16, and ten yards. Facing second and goal, he tucked the ball and rolled right, crossing the goaline as Buckeye defenders met him.

"It was a dream come true," Elliot said. "I've always wanted to stick it to the Ohio State University. What a bunch of wusses. Of course, after that I was back on the bench."

Elliot dragged defenders with him to spark Purdue

Ahead 14-7, Purdue looked in control. But Boeckman led OSU back with a five-play drive that covered 60 yards.

Painter and Purdue countered with a touchdown with 1:50 to play in the first half. The senior field general found Kory Sheets for a five yard touchdown.

"We were feeling pretty good at that point. Not far from half time, up by a score, looking forward to getting the ball to start the second half," Adams said. "Then the defense decided to f*** us over. And Curtis joined in on the gang bang."

In a span of 36 seconds, Ohio State scored ten points, quickly swinging the score from a seven-point deficit to a three-point lead.

The key plays were passes to junior wideout Brian Hartline, who had receptions of 34 and 18 yards. The Purdue defense even came up with a play, when Nickardo Golding sacked Boeckman for a seven-yard loss.

That didn't stop the Buckeyes. Boeckman rebounded on the next play, hitting Brian Robiskie for an 11-yard score.

With 36 second left on the clock, the Boilermakers decided a field goal was within reach.

"In retrospect, that was stupid," Adams admitted.

Painter was intercepted for the third time of the half by Ross Homan. OSU capitalized with a field goal. At halftime, they led 24-21.

In their first possessions of the second half, both teams looked lost. Purdue went for it on fourth and three near midfield but failed to convert. Ohio State countered by punting.

"To quote Patches O'Houlihan, 'it was like watching a bunch of retards trying to hump a doorknob out there,'" Adams said, covering his face in disgrace. He proudly tugged his black Purdue hat, "But we finally got on track."

In fact, Purdue's second possession of the second half was the backbreaker. Covering 80 yards, the drive spanned 13 plays and lasted three minutes and 20 seconds. Painter completed ten of 11 passes on the drive. He capped the epic march with a two-yard scramble.

"Yeah, I have lead in my feet," Painter conceded. "But everyone was covered. If I didn't get the TD, I knew I'd get close."

The touchdown put Purdue up by four points.

Then, the Boilers defense stepped up. Facing third and eight, the Buckeyes tried to catch Purdue off-guard with a toss play. Linebackers Jason Werner and Kevin Green stuffed it.

"At that point, I knew Ohio State wasn't interested in winning the game," Adams said.

"He said what!?" Tressel angrily demanded. "Yeah, because I want to lose to Purdue. Freakin' Purdue."

With the ball at the 32-yard line, Painter went to work. A field goal would give Purdue a seven-point lead. But Painter wouldn't settle for that.

With another masterful drive, he completed all seven of his passes for 59 yards, including a 26-yard strike to Brandon Whittington. Kory Sheets ran twice for nine yards. Painter clinched the game with a five-yard pass to tight end Kyle Adams.

Whittington's grab proved key

"I knew a touchdown would end it. Yeah, we were trying to chomp some clock and we knew a field goal would work okay, but I wanted the touchdown," Painter said.

"Basically, Curtis took the pigskin and shoved it right up Ohio State's a**," Adams said, beaming with pride. "It was beautiful."

Painter's TD to Adams sealed the deal

The Boilermakers (6-0, 1-0 Big Ten) face Northwestern next week.

Notes

Wide receiver Greg Orton left the game in the third quarter and did not return; his status for next week is questionable...Painter finished with four total touchdowns: three passing and one on the ground...Purdue outscored OSU 14-0 in the fourth quarter...Neither team scored a point in the third quarter...Elliot was 5-5 for 51 yards and a touchdown in relief of Painter...as a team, Purdue is converting 75% of its third down opportunities, best in the NCAA...the Boilermakers are third in the NCAA in interceptions...Whittington leads the team with 40 catches for 413 yards.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Bionic Commando: Rearmed

Bionic Commando.

I loved that game.

I had several carts for my original NES, yet I always came back to Bionic Commando.The storyline wasn't anything extensive, but it was unique: a fascist regime works on a secret project to resurrect "The Leader," which turns out to be Hitler (also known as "Master-D")! Can't say I saw that one coming (and Hitler didn't see a blast from my gun coming before his freaking head exloded in a gory splash of 8-bit glory).

Truth be told, I'm only good at two basic types of videogames: sports games and Star Wars games. Maybe it's because I'm passionate for both of those things. But if you stick me behind the controls of a racing game, a fighting game, an action game, or a shooter...well, sometimes it's not pretty. While I can usually pick up and play most sports games almost immediately, I have to practice things like Halo. It takes a lot more concentration for me to play at an acceptable level in games like that.

Bionic Commando was the exception to that rule. I was good, really good at Bionic Commando. I beat it countless times. The first level is etched in my memory. After that...er...well...it's not so clear. I don't know how many times my brother and I played through that game. I DON'T want to know. But let's just say we killed Hitler a lot. Left his exploding brains all over our 19" Quasar TV. It was a pain to clean up.

Now, almost 20 years later, Master-D is back. Capcom has re-spiffified its classic game by adding high-res textures, awesome animations, and re-mixed music. It's re-launched. Remade. Rearmed. In fact, that's its title.

No...not Bionic Commando: Re-launched, Remade, Rearmed.

That's just a little too wordy (although I hear it was the original proposed title).

Bionic Commando: Rearmed.

This is kind of the same BC game I remember. The first level is pretty much spot-on. I made a fatal mistake, however. I figured since I was an accomplished BC player, I could just drop right into Hard mode and be just fine. Except the game kept kicking my butt all over the place. Again and again and again. So I downgraded to Normal. I'm through ten of the game's 12 stages. It won't be long until I'm finished with the main part of the game.It's so good to have Bionic Commando back! The game is exactly what it should be: intense, challenging, and fun. Of course, being an old-school game tranlated to the new school gaming systems, it also has its share of frustrations. I'm having a tough time getting the bionic arm to grab exactly what I want it to grab. When I want to grapple diagonally, the arm goes straight up too often. I've resorted to utilizing the D-pad on the Xbox 360 controller...and anyone who knows anything about the 360 will tell you that the D-pad is the LAST thing you want to depend on.

Additionally, the Siege machine in the second area of the game gave me fits until I figured out you had to unscrew the bolts...but overall, it's been a great experience. Speaking of which...the "bosses" in the original Bionic Commando weren't much to write home about. If I remember right, it was usually just a roomful of soldiers that you had to clear with some kind of big generator. This game changes that, adding bosses to every level. They fit the tone of the game perfectly, but you do have to study them carefully, lest you pound your head against a wall in frustration. There are no cinematics in this game, but the creators have artistically rendered some of the fun "conversations" from the original. Our hero, Nathan "Rad" Spencer, has a few priceless insults to spray at his opponents (and most of the boss characters are none too bright).

"The map" is there, along with the random enemy encounters from a top-down perspective. These stages are always worth it because they're easy and they have a 1-up that's easy to obtain. One of the reviews I read criticized the top-down missions, rejecting them as stupid. But you have to remember that Bionic Commando (and Super Joe!) stems from the original "Commando" series of games. It's a tip of the hat to those games.

I highly recommend anyone with an Xbox, PS3, or PC pick it up. It's really worth it. And remember, in the Microsoft World, this game costs 800 MS Points. That's $10. That's right...1 MS Point = 1.25 cents.

Friday, August 15, 2008

King for a day: safety saves Purdue's upset bid

Brandon King used a quick jump and an even quicker sprint to cement Purdue's upset bid over the #12 Penn State Nittany Lions.

It covered 102 yards.

On a day when the Boilers were less than perfect.

On a day when Curtis Painter threw threw interceptions.

On a day when the defense surrended almost 400 passing yards.


King's quick reflexes saved the day for Purdue

"It's hard to say much about our defense today," Coach Matt Adams said, removing his black Purdue hat to wipe his brow. "I mean, at times I loved the defense today. Other times I wanted to make them run gassers once the game was over."

The numbers were not pretty for the Boilermakers despite their 35-23 win. They allowed PSU quarterback Daryll Clark to complete 28 of 34 passes for 394 yards and two touchdowns. And they gave up big plays of 30, 56, and 45 yards.

Still, the defense made its share of plays, too. King's interception proved vital. But star linebacker Anthony Heygood also picked off a goaline pass to stave off a Penn State touchdown.

"I know Brandon (King) is getting all the credit in the world. And he should. He took it back all the way, man. All the way," Heygood said after the game. "But both plays were huge. Just imagine if they'd scored on those plays. They could've buried us."

Purdue's offense also proved inconsistent. The Boilers came out running, quickly amassing five carries for 31 yards from Kory Sheets. Then, for some reason, Purdue gave up on the running game.

"After that first touchdown, I think coach knew we were going to be in a shootout. So he kind of changed his gameplan a little bit, after seeing how they moved the ball," Painter said. "Of course, I wish he'd put it in steadier hands today."

Painter was uncharacteristically erratic. When the final whistle sounded, he'd thrown three interceptions. Two of them came on back-to-back possessions.

"The second one was awful. I meant to float that ball to Kory (Sheets), but I just fired it as hard as I could. That linebacker has great hands."

The numbers were both Painter-like and un-Painter like. For the four touchdowns he threw, he also handed over three picks. His longest pass play covered just 19 yards.

"That's a good defense out there. We don't mind dinking and dunking, but we usually spring a big play or two. But those guys out there are fast. Probably the fastest secondary I've seen all year. And they all tackle well. You can bet Joe Pa (PSU Coach Joe Paterno) has been working them to death," Painter added.

In fact, looking back at the game, it's mystifying that Purdue defended its home turf with a win. While fans at Ross Ade helped the cause, the Nittany Lions thoroughly outplayed Purdue. The Boilers had more turnovers, fewer total yards, and fewer first downs.

But their red zone efficiency was more impressive: 4-5 with four TDs, all of them passes by Painter.

Kyle Adams makes a diving TD grab

"One of those interceptions came in the red zone," Painter said. "It was inexcusable. I just casually tossed that one into coverage."

Purdue trailed 17-14 at halftime, after the defense surrendered a field goal following a disasterously bad effort just before halftime. Thanks to turnovers and shoddy defense, Purdue surrendered 17 points in the second quarter.

The Boilermakers surged ahead in the third quarter, when Painter connected with Frank Halliburton for a two-yard score.

That put Purdue up 21-17.

But the biggest plays came in the fourth quarter. Senior wideout Joe Whitest bowled through Penn State's stout middle defense for a crucial 11-yard score.

"Can't believe I made it out of there alive," Whitest joked. "Those boys beat me up pretty good."

Painter's TD to Whitest proved vital

Milking a 28-17 lead, Purdue watched Clark and the Penn State offense march right down the field. But Clark made another critical mistake at the goaline, forcing the throw that led to King's 102-yard interception return.

"Don't know what I was thinking. They had like nine guys out there in coverage. Coach says there's nothing wrong with tucking and running. I should've listened," Clark said, his voice tinged with disbelief. "I've showered, I've seen the score ticker, I've talked to my dad, but I still can't believe we let Purdue beat us. They're Purdue."

"You know, anytime you get a tough opponent on the road, you want to beat 'em up. You want to beat 'em up real bad. But these kids these days, they go out and drink and party and then you ask them to do a drill but instead they go back to their iPods and go play video games and jack off and do all kinds of crap that you've told them not to do. It's like that movie 'Rudy,' you know how that kid worked hard and tried to do everything right? Well, my kids are exactly like that. Except from the other side of it. They're a bunch of privileged, spoiled slackers. It's like my wife keeps telling me when I get up in the morning and can't find matching socks. Everything's the wrong color," Paterno said.

"I'm just confused by everything these days. The game was in HD. In my day, 'HD' stood for 'hard drive.' 'Hi def' was someone who couldn't hear very well at all. You know, we've all had a hi def friend, right? Still, it's Purdue. They're supposed to be engineers. It ain't rocket science that we should've beat 'em," Paterno said, adjusting his eyeglasses. "Anybody seen my glasses?"

For Penn State, Derrick Williams and Deon Butler both surpassed 100 yards receiving.

Greg Orton led the Boilers with six catches for 70 yards. Kyle Adams had six receptions for 46 yards.

The Boilers (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) face their greatest challenge next week, when they travel to Columbus to take on the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes.

Notes

Painter's 201 yards was his lowest total of the season...PSU contained Sheets, who had just 31 rushing yards and a catch for seven yards...linebacker Kevin Green led Purdue with ten tackles...the game pitted the Big Ten's top two passers against one another; with Clark's 394 yard performance, he now has a sizeable lead over Painter in passing yards...Painter has more TDs (19) than Clark (14) and Clark has more interceptions (7) than Painter (5)...the Boilermakers welcomed seven prospects to Ross Ade Stadium for the game...fullback Frank Halliburton has caught a touchdown pass in each of the Boilers' games this season but has not registered a single carry.

Purdue survives against in-state rival Notre Dame

Notre Dame doesn't like Purdue.

The Boilers aren't too fond of the Irish, either, a fact that became glaringly apparent in Purdue's narrow 35-24 road victory in South Bend.

And though head coaches Matt Adams and Brian "Krildog" Krilich put on brave faces, they don't care much for one another.

"I have a lot of respect for Coach Krilich," Adams said, "especially when he's able to get his team pumped up for the home crowd like that."

"What the (expletive) is that supposed to mean? That doesn't even make any (expletive) sense! I mean, I have a lot of respect for Adams, but not for that punch n' judy engineer school he whores for," Krilich replied, hurling a foam 'Boiler Up' hammer about five feet away from himself. "How the hell did that get in here? This is our house! Our house!"

Unfortunately for Krilich, Touchdown Jesus wasn't in a giving mood for the Golden Domers. At least, not early enough. The Irish offense took the field first, managing a 20-yard field goal after an errant throw by Jimmy Clausen on third and goal.

"I thought we'd set a pretty good tone with that drive," Clausen said, "but we couldn't punch it in. All the credit in the world to the defense. They stepped up."

"Clausen said what? Touchdown Jesus Christ, I think it came down to poor execution. Why in God's name was he throwing the ball away on third and goal?" Krilich demanded, enraged.

"What was that play called again?" Adams asked. "If I remember right from the scouting report, Clausen calls that one Red Bull and Vodka. Great throw on his part. Seriously, who throws the ball away on third and goal? And then, you know I love Coach Krilich, but you'd think he'd have the stones to go for it instead of settling for three points."

"G**damn that Adams. Yeah, that's real smart. Pass up the sure three points. What's he think this is, video game football? We don't do that Playstation crap in real life," Krilich explained.

After Notre Dame settled for the field goal, the momentum swung in Purdue's favor. It started with a 65-yard touchdown run from Kory Sheets.

"Yeah, just went right up the gut," Sheets said. "No one seemed particularly interested in tackling me."


Sheets' big run got the Boilers rolling

Sheets' run triggered a 21-point Blitz by Purdue. The Boilers surged out to a 21-3 lead on the strength of its defensive play. The Gold and Black forced an interception from Clausen and a fumble from James Aldridge, his third of the season.

"Just overthrew that one a bit. I was trying to lead the receiver but ending up throwing it up for grabs," Clausen admitted.

"No excuse for that pass at all. I mean, Brandon Erwin's just sitting back there waiting for it. Jimmy's gotta do a better job of protecting the ball. I mean, I hate (Purdue quarterback Curtis) Painter, but he did a hell of a job protecting the ball," Krilich said.

In an impressive play, Purdue's Jason Werner forced a fumble. Just when it looked like Aldridge was about to turn the corner, Werner upended Aldridge, who lost the ball. Werner recovered but apparently became disoriented, running straight out of bounds instead of down the field.

"It was a big hit. My adrenaline got going. I just picked up the ball and started running. Didn't really pay attention to where I was going," Werner explained.


Werner's fumble recovery sparked a Boiler blitz

Just before halftime, the Boilers held a daunting 18-point lead.

Then, Notre Dame's offense came alive. Clausen connected with Kyle Rudolph for a 36-yard completion that put the Irish in scoring position.

"I can't believe they chased Kyle down," Krilich lamented. "I thought he was gone for sure.

Rudolph got his revenage, reeling in a four-yard score from Clausen with ten seconds left in the half. Suddenly, the Boilers led 21-10.

Purdue started the second half with a long drive that culminated in a TD run by Painter on a QB sneak.

"Thought that was kind of cheap," Krilich said. "You'd think they'd have the balls to (expletive) line 'em up and let one of the backs do their dirty work. But then again, I've been told I think too highly of Adams sometimes."

With the score 28-10, Purdue looked to be in control.

But 18 seconds after Painter's TD run, Clausen connected with George West for an 80 yard TD pass that showcased West's impressive speed.

"Ain't nobody catchin' up to me after that one," West boasted. "Burn. Absolute burn."

Purdue went three-and-out on its next possession, setting up the one and only punt of the game.

"Amazing, huh?" Adams said. "One freaking punt the whole game between the two of us. And it almost turned the game completely around."

Adams referred to the 62-yard punt return by Armando Allen. The long play set up a TD pass to Asaph Schwapp as time expired in the third quarter.

With timeouts to burn, the Irish elected for a normal kickoff. The fans in a frenzy and the momentum squarely in their favor, the Irish defense came up big, sacking Painter on second down.

The stands went crazy...after all, the Irish trailed 28-24. The Boilers faced third and fifteen. Another punt would give Notre Dame the chance to take the lead.

Then, the air went out of Notre Dame Stadium.

Under duress, Painter found Sheets for a 25-yard gain that gave Purdue the first down.

"I just saw him underneath and floated it to him. Kory did the rest. Kory always does the rest," Painter said.

The play contributed to a back-breaking drive that ate up almost four minutes of clock and covered 64 yards. A short touchdown pass from Painter to seldom-used fullback Frank Halliburton gave Purdue some much-needed breathing room.

"Just a little play-action pass we run all the time in practice," Halliburton said. "I'm always ready for it."

"Halliburton? (Expletive) Dick Cheney," Krilich said.

The touchdown gave Purdue a 35-24 advantage.

Not even Touchdown Jesus could save Notre Dame after that.

"It broke us. Like Ivan Drago broke Apollo Creed," Krilich said. "That third and 15 play killed us. Absolutely killed us!"

Painter finished the game 23-25 with 216 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, he kept the Boilers away from turnovers. Sheets had 12 carries for 88 yards and caught three passes for 40 yards. Brandon Whittington led Purdue's receivers with five catches for 71 yards.

For the Irish, Clausen had an impressive game as well. He threw for 251 yards and three touchdowns, connecting on 15 of his 21 throws. The only blemishes were the ill-conceived decision to throw the ball away on third and goal and his interception. West terrorized the Purdue defense with four catches for 119 yards.

The Boilermakers (4-0, 0-0 Big Ten) host #12 Penn State next week in their Big Ten season opener.

The Irish (2-2, just pick a conference already!) host Stanford in what should be a therapeutic experience.

Notes

Although Frank Halliburton is described as "seldom used," that term does not apply inside the redzone. He has four TD catches in goaline situations...Chris Summers' punt against Notre Dame was not only the first and only punt of the game, it was also his first and only punt of the season; because of the long punt return, his net average stands at -21.0...four games into the season, Painter has already thrown 15 touchdowns, tied for third in the NCAA and tops in the Big Ten...Painter also leads the conference in passing yards...Purdue only has five sacks on the season...a win over Penn State could propel the Boilermakers into the top 25; Purdue received 114 votes in last week's coaches poll and 142 in the media poll...Coach Matt Adams plans to have dinner with linebacker recruit Brian Pressley, the nation's top-ranked middle linebacker prospect

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"Royce's Rescue" helps Boilers ward off upset

When Big Ten and MAC teams meet, Big Ten teams are supposed to have the advantage.

But whether it was misplaced superiority, poor execution, or an off day, Purdue managed to win one of those games the Boilers should've lost.

After good showings against Kentucky and Oregon, the Boilers' defense turned Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour into a superstar. The Chippewas' signal caller completed 25 of 27 passes for 279 yards, his only blemish a late-game interception that capped a shocking late rally by Purdue.

Trailing 35-28 in the fourth quarter with a shade over three minutes to play, the Boilers failed to punch the ball into the endzone from the one yard line on third and fourth down. Back-to-back runs from Curtis Painter came up short against the steely Chippewa defense.

When Painter failed to get into the endzone on fourth down, things were looking bleak for the Boilermakers. Central Michigan kept the clock churning with two runs on first and second down on their own one yard line. But the Boilermakers were saved by an incredible play from cornerback Royce Adams, who sacked LeFevour in the endzone for a safety.

"I swear to God, Royce Adams is my illegitimate child," Coach Matt Adams said. "I love that kid. Should've married his mother! I mean, my balls were shrinking awfully quickly after CMU stopped us at the one. Holy Lord...or Holy Royce!"

"Royce's Rescue," as the fans are calling it, gave Purdue the ball with about three minutes left in the game. They still trailed 35-29, meaning a touchdown was a necessity.

A four-yard pass from Painter to fullback Frank Halliburton put the Boilers up by a point. Purdue went for the two-point conversion, and Painter barely made it to the endzone with a scramble.

"I thought maybe we'd get Hally (Halliburton) open in the flats, but the Chips didn't bite. Everybody was covered like a glove, so I took off. Wasn't sure I made it in until the points were on the board, man," Painter recalled.

The Boilermakers held onto a 38-35 lead. But every fan held their breath: LeFevour had seemed unstoppable.

"Swear to everything holy, you import LeFevour into Madden right now, he's a freaking 95 overall. We couldn't stop that guy," Royce Adams said.

Needing just a field goal, LeFevour began to work one last time against the Purdue defense. But he made a critical error, throwing his only interception of the game at the worst possible time.

The fans couldn't believe it.

The coaches couldn't believe it.

Neither could sophomore Charlton Williams, the man whose pick sealed the deal.

"I mean, all game this cracker was absolutely torching us. What, he had one freakin' incompletion the whole game? And then he throws one right to me! I was so surprised, I almost dropped it!"

Williams returned the interception for seven yards. The Boiler offense went back to work, trying its best to milk the clock. But an ineffective running game reared its head for the second game in a row. So, the Boilers resorted to short passes. Central Michigan burned all of its timeouts and Painter drove Purdue to the 27 yard line.

With 16 seconds left, Chris Summers nailed a 44-yard kick, making amends for a miss in the first half. Central Michigan needed a touchdown and with only 16 seconds left, the Chippewas needed a miracle.

It didn't happen.

"I think that fourth quarter was full of miracles," Coach Adams said. "Royce's Rescue, the interception...just too much to overcome. Man, that was intense."

After a ho-hum game against Oregon last week, Kory Sheets roared back into form. Since the game was a shootout, Sheets didn't get much work on the ground. But he made two important plays for Purdue, including a 42-yard receiving touchdown and a jaw-dropping 84-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. It was his second return TD in two games.

"Those running lanes just get open sometimes and I'm seeing the field really well," Sheets said. "My boys did a great job of keeping their men occupied."

Painter had another solid game, going 29-33 for 313 yards and four touchdowns. More importantly, he didn't throw an interception, something that could've allowed Central Michigan to open a two-score lead.

The Chippewas' touchdowns all resulted from long drives, and Central Michigan was 5-5 in the redzone with five touchdowns.

"I don't know whether to blame the pass rush or poor coverage, but we've got to shore up that redzone 'D,'" Coach Adams said. "We can't let a team like that hang around and dictate the tempo. That's exactly what happened."

The Boilers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten) travel to South Bend next week to play hated rival Notre Dame.

"All I've got to say is Boiler up!" Adams said, laughing. "Let's beat those dirty catholics. What's Clausen drinking today anyway?"

Notes

Fans spotted offensive tackle Adam Royal in the stands. He says Purdue is a "top-five" school for him. Royal is the sixth-ranked tackle in the country. "Central Michigan? What the hell?" he asked following the game...Rowdy Purdue students burned Coach Brian "Krildog" Krilich in effigy following the CMU game in preparation for next week's game against in-state rival Notre Dame...according to many experts, Purdue considers Notre Dame a rival while the Irish obsess over real teams like USC, Michigan, and Boston College...Painter has completed 79 out of 88 pass attempts, good for an 89% completion rate...running back Kory Sheets leads Purdue in receiving yards with 226...kicker Chris Summers is five-of-six in field goals this season...Safeties Brandon King and Torri Williams lead Purdue in tackles with 23 and 20, respectively.

Boilers cruise past un-Mighty Ducks

For as much as the numbers seemed to indicate the Kentucky Wildcats dominated Purdue in the Boilers' season opener, week three's numbers told a different tale.

Boiler up!

The Boilermakers thrashed #21 Oregon 48-3 at Ross Ade Stadium. The Ducks, a contender last season, were listless, managing just 161 yards of total offense. 20 rushes amounted to just 28 yards on the ground. The Ducks also failed in important categories like third down conversions (2-8, just 25%) and red zone efficiency (1-3, 1 FG, 0 TD).

The Boilers dominated in every facet of the game. They struck quickly on a third-and-long play from Curtis Painter to Greg Orton. The play, in which Orton (no relation to Chicago Bears QB Kyle Orton) vaulted over two Ducks defenders, covered 60 yards. It was the first of five TD passes for Painter and the first of two scoring connections with Orton covering at least 60 yards.

"Curtis and Greg have a great connection," Coach Matt Adams said, "It's kind of like those classic QB duos. Manning to Harrison. Montana to Rice. They just have a thing going."

The Boilers did their talking through the air. After keeping Kentucky guessing with a mix of running and passing last week, the Boilers aired it out against Oregon. Purdue didn't even feign a running game; the team rushed just nine times for 26 yards. All nine carries went to Kory Sheets, who was effective against Kentucky. He had no such luck against Oregon, averaging just 2.8 yards per carry.

"When the running game isn't working, and trust me it wasn't working, I have no problem turning the game over to Curtis," Adams said.

"It good that coach has that kind of faith in me," Painter admitted. "Not every quarterback has free reign to throw the ball 40 or 50 times a game."

Painter was the epitome of efficiency, completing 35 of his 38 passes for 347 yards. One of his incompletions was an interception.

"That was a ball I simply shouldn't have thrown. I forced that one into double coverage and threw it short," the senior lamented.

Painter connected with eight different receivers. But there's no doubt his synergy with Orton spelled doom for the Ducks. Orton snagged six passes for 141 yards and two long touchdown plays. Both were short passes that required Orton to show off his elusiveness.

"I'll tell you what, man, those Ducks can't tackle worth dick," the receiver said matter-of-factly. "I mean, seriously, I vaulted over two guys on one play. I don't know how I did it."

Brandon Whittington added nine receptions for 83 yards.

"I really like Brax out of the slot," Painter said. "He's got great hands over the middle."

From the start of the game, it was apparent the Ducks set out to stop Kory Sheets. In that regard, Oregon was effective. After finishing with more than 200 total yards rushing and receiving against Kentucky, the Ducks limited Sheets to less than 70 yards.

But Oregon made one deadly mistake, allowing the running back to spring free on a kickoff return. 95 yards later, the score was 41-3 and Purdue was in the driver's seat.

Defensively, Nickaro Golding led the Boilers with seven tackles. The effort included five tackles for loss and a sack. Royce Adams added another interception, his third of the season.

For the Ducks, Cory Kempt looked clueless. The sophomore was 15-21 for just 133 yards. He threw one interception and was sacked twice, continually coming up short during third down situations.

The Boilermakers (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten) host Central Michigan (2-1) next week in what should prove to be an easy home win.

Notes

Kory Sheets is proving to be the Boilers' "Killer App." In two games, he has rushed 22 times for 141 yards (6.4 yards per carry), caught ten passes for 122 yards (12.2 yards per catch), and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. He has three touchdowns in two games and three plays covering more than 70 yards...Coach Adams welcomed a large group of prospective recruits to the game, including blue-chip linebacker Tony Brown, run-stopping linebacker Joe Broussard, and highly touted guard prospect John Simmons. All three recruits say Purdue is currently at the top of their list...Purdue's defense tallied its second defensive touchdown, but thankfully the players didn't waste much time or energy celebrating. Kevin Green's fumble recovery TD was called back after a booth review. Officials determined Oregon quarterback Cody Kempt was down before the ball came loose...junior kicker Chris Summers continues to impress, nailing field goals of 47 and 53 yards. Both kicks came in the second quarter, the 47-yarder as time expired in the first half.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Advance Review: Star Wars: The Clone Wars

I was fortunate enough to see a preview screening of the upcoming animated Star Wars movie, The Clone Wars. I saw it Monday night at the Kersotes Showplace 16 on the southside of Indianapolis. Unfortunately, I'm not a bootlegger so I don't have any grainy video footage to share with you!

The most jarring thing about the whole production happened at the top. Warner Brothers serves as the distributor for this movie. That's really not a big deal...yet it is. No 20th Century Fox means no 20th Century Fox Fanfare. That little 20-second ditty is as much of a part of John Williams' iconic Star Wars theme as the yellow scrolling text and the Lucasfilm logo. In addition, the movie used a heavily modified version of the classic theme in an effort to set it apart from its live-action brethren. There was no scrolling text either...just a narration about the state of the galaxy and the war that rages between the Separatists and the Republic.

One thing's for sure, though...the movie looks incredible. You can tell the filmmakers put a lot of care and thought into the look and feel of this Clone Wars universe. Characters are highly stylized and everything looks terrific. Obi-Wan Kenobi sports a kind of "general's" armor over his typical Jedi duds. It's a variation of the same design seen in the Clone Wars series that aired on the Cartoon Network. Anakin has that scar on his face and looks very lanky. A couple of people who also saw the movie with me wondered why the Clonetroopers all looked different when they should be identical representations of Jango Fett. This didn't really bother me all that much, since most of the "differences" seemed superficial, such as haircuts, hair color, and battle scars. Still, it's a point worth noting.

You'll hear a few familiar strains of Star Wars music throughout the movie, but a lot of it felt different. Sure, John Williams' familiar themes appear here and there, but most of the music is original. Some of it is even vaguely techno in nature. All in all, the music works very well.

So what about the story?

Well, in keeping with the prequel themes of political intrigue and chaos, Darth Sidious, Count Dooku, and Asajj Ventriss have conspired to kidnap Jabba the Hutt's son. The Separatist faction wants to pin the kidnapping on the Jedi in order to convince the Hutts to prohibit the Republic from using their shipping lanes. When the Republic learns of the plot, Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker (isn't there anyone else in the galaxy available for a rescue mission?) are dispatched to find Jabba's son and bring him back.

That's the basic plot of the whole movie; it's a multi-tiered rescue mission involving our two favorite prequel Jedi buddies. Oh, there is just one more thing, however. The Jedi Council has assigned Anakin a Padawan. It's pretty clear Obi-Wan is behind the whole plot, hoping it will cure Skywalker's insatiable wild streak. The new Padawan's name is Ahsoka Tano (Anakin calls her "Snips" throughout the movie) and she actually reminds me a lot of Anakin. She's young, hotheaded, and doesn't follow directions very well. Doesn't that sound like a certain Skywalker? Heck, doesn't that sound like a certain other Skywalker? Together, Anakin and Ahsoka find Jabba the Hutt's son (and seriously, the movie did everyone a disservice by making the young Huttling passably cute) and vow to return him to his father. Of course, they have to deal with nefarious battle droids, Dark Jedi Asajj Ventriss, and a sick little Huttling.

I was impressed by a lot of what the movie offered. I think the period between episodes II and III is fertile ground for adventures. Although this one was small in scale, the filmmakers played up the adventure very well. I didn't find myself bored during the movie (sometimes I look at my watch during a film...I can't help it) and the action scenes were top-notch. Folks, I'm telling you...there's nothing better than blasters and lightsabers (except for maybe boats n' hoes...you know what I'm talking about, Krildog).

Just about every time I wanted to pounce on one of the movie's inadequacies, the film anticipated me. About three-quarters of the way through, I was wondering why Senator Amidala wasn't in the story. Then, she appeared. I also began wondering if Anakin would ever take on a "dark" nature; he seemed so cheery throughout the movie that it almost seemed like George Lucas & Co. wanted us to forget this young man turns into Darth Vader. Ah, but there is some darkness within Anakin, especially when he returns to Tatooine. Speaking of that blasted place, for a planet that farthest from the bright center of the universe, a lot sure happens there! Tatooine appears in every Star Wars movie except for The Empire Strikes Back. Think about it: Phantom Menace (check...Anakin's origin); Attack of the Clones (check...Anakin returns home); Revenge of the Sith (check...Obi-Wan drops off the twins); Star Wars (check...duh); Return of the Jedi (check...Jabba's palace/Han's rescue).

I can see where this may not be "epic" enough for some Star Wars fans. It definitely feels like a launching point for a TV series. That's not a bad thing, especially when the people behind it know what they're doing. Just look for some tremendous action, some comic relief (honestly...you can't beat Battle Droids when it comes to broad, silly humor), and excellent voice acting.

While I'm thinking about voice acting, I wanted to mention that Obi-Wan and Anakin have good soundalikes (in fact, Anakin sounds less wooden than he does in the movies), as do Yoda, Palpatine/Sidious, and the Clone Army. However, the real treats lie in Count Dooku, C-3PO, and Mace Windu. Listen for Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, and Samuel L. Jackson, respectively. Their voices help lend an aura of authenticity to the proceedings.

Now, I am not one of those idiots who says things like "George Lucas raped my childhood" when it comes to the prequels. I liked them. A lot...just not as much as I liked the originals. I do have a few nitpicks, and I'll get them off my chest here. First of all, I wonder how great of an idea it is to assign Anakin a Padawan. The kid is clearly not ready for that. Secondly, I'm frustrated with how George Lucas just keeps "inventing" things. There's no Padawan in Episode III, no mention of one...so what happened to Ahsoka? Why the need to make her his "Padawan" and not just another Jedi who teams up with Anakin and Obi-Wan? Will the cartoon series culminate in her untimely and tragic death? Because if it doesn't...then the character is useless. Her sudden, convenient appearance as a main character ranks right up there with other "convenient" prequel ideas (Anakin built Threepio, Jango Fett is Boba Fett's father and genetic papa of all Clonetroopers, Palpatine hails from Naboo, etc.) Did we really NEED to refer to the Huttling as "Stinky" every three lines (although it was admittedly funny at first)? And seriously...how could Jabba the Hutt, the Great and Mighty Jabba, fall prey so easily to Dooku's deception? Since when have the Jedi been into kidnapping children and killing them (cough, cough...Anakin Skywalker's Jedi Temple rampage excepted)?

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Turnover-Prone Wildcats Pull Home Boner

Looking at stats alone, the Kentucky Wildcats steadily whipped up on the offense-starved Purdue Boilermakers.

UK outgained the Boilers 312-211 in passing yards.

They converted 80% of their third downs, compared with 60% for Purdue.

The advantage was 527-394 in total yards, 12:21 to 7:43 in time of possession.

Unfortunately for UK, stats don't tell the whole story, especially when a few key ones are omitted, like points, turnovers, and rushing yards.

Those are the aspects of the game in which the 'Cats struggled in their home-opening 41-17 loss to Purdue.

It's their second straight setback, and a season that began with such promise is quickly unraveling. UK lost its season opener to Louisville. The latest setback has Coach Kelly Fife wondering what the hell is going on.

"Purdue? 41 points? Are you kidding me? I'll tell you where to stick your 'Boiler up," said Fife, his tone of voice remaining eerily calm despite the intent of his words.

Who can blame Coach Fife for the lack of a passionate voice? His players weren't showing much emotion on the field, either.

"Since we got beat by (hated rival) Louisville last week, we were looking for something a little easier at home. I mean, come on, it's Purdue. I thought it'd be competitive, at least."

Things started off well enough for the 'Cats. Braxton Kelley intercepted Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter on the Boilers' opening drive. UK settled for a field goal, feeling momentum with a quick, early lead.

Painter quickly righted the ship, connecting with running back Kory Sheets for a 69-yard TD.

"That took the momentum away," Fife admitted.

After an interception of their own, the 'Cats gave up another Purdue touchdown, a 39-yard strike from Painter to Brandon Whittington.

Still, UK trailed only 17-10 at the half.

Had the game ended there, Fife would've been pleased with the effort.

"That first half really showed what kind of team I think we have. I don't think the second half was as indicative," said the coach.

The second half was a turnover-filled disaster in which Purdue did about everything right and the Wildcats did everything wrong. And the crowd didn't like it at all.

"Did they really have to start throwing bottles of Maker's Mark on the field? I mean, for God's sake, those were special edition home opener bottles. I thought it was uncalled for. Then again, when your quarterback sits in the pocket and throws four balls up for grabs, maybe it's justified. But not likely," Fife admitted.

The display surprised Purdue Coach Matt Adams, "I couldn't believe it. Usually, fans for the opposing team throw (expletive) at us. I've never seen a crowd turn on their own team like that. It was insane. I mean, one time we went up to Notre Dame and...well, I don't like to talk about it," he said. "Definitely one to remember."

The Boilers entered the season with high expectations. In what may become an annual series, they scheduled UK for their season opener.

"It's good to go up against SEC competition, even if it's just Kentucky. I think it'll prepare us better than scheduling some Division 1-AA (championship subdivision) team," Adams said, looking up at the scoreboard. "At least, that's the hope."

The Boilermakers used a spread formation for most of the game. That enabled them to open up the field and keep the 'Cats guessing. Whittingon caught six passes for 84 yards, Sheets had three for 91 yards, including a big catch on a third down and the long 69-yard TD catch in the second quarter.

Sheets was Mr. Everything for Purdue, also eclipsing the 100-yard rushing mark. He finished with 115 yards on 13 carries. The big one was a 77-yard TD on the option.

"Curtis (Painter) just had one guy to beat and he pitched it to me and I took it from there," Sheets said after the game. "Feels good to have two big scoring plays in the same game, especially against an SEC team. Even if it's just Kentucky."

The Boilermakers' defense gave up its fair share of yards. Pulley finished with 312 yards in the air. He was practically unstoppable.

Except for the turnovers.

Four interceptions marred an otherwise impressive home opener for the junior. One of those came at a critical juncture in the game, when Pulley tried to hit Dicky Lyons in the endzone. Purdue cornerback Royce Adams stepped in front of the ball and intercepted it.

Lyons finished the game with an astounding 170 yards on 13 catches.

"I guess you could say he's our go to guy," Fife said. "A senior with good composure and good hands."

That composure needs to transfer to Pulley. One of his four picks was returned 73 yards for a touchdown. It was Royce Adams' second pick of the day, ensuring a rout.

The Boilers (1-0, 0-0 Big Ten) try to earn their first home victory against #21 Oregon next week.

The Wildcats (0-2, 0-0 SEC) will take on Middle Tennessee State in what should be a good "recovery" game.

Notes:

Purdue signed four-star recruit Brandon Price during the first week of the season. The highly-touted defensive tackle is the ninth-ranked DT in the country. The 6'5", 282-pounder didn't even visit Purdue's campus before committing...Curtis Painter completed 88% of his passes (15-17). One of his two incompletions was an interception...Purdue's offense showed big-play ability in this game, with touchdowns of 69, 39, and 77 yards...the defense scored a 73-yard touchdown by Royce Adams...UK's ground game struggled, with running back Tony Dixon averaging just three yards a carry (16 rushes, 48 yards).