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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 1:00 am

Purdue's penalties prompt Brohm to adopt punishments

MICHAEL MAROT | Associated Press

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has seen enough silly penalties to last him the entire season.

Now, after watching flags cost the Boilermakers potential wins in each of their first two games, he is imposing new punishments.

“There has to be consequences for their actions, and if guys are getting 15-yard penalties they're out of the game,” he said Monday. “If we see something close to that that's not a penalty, they're coming out of the game. We have to do it in practice, address it in practice and make sure that they're training themselves every day to understand you can't be silly and do things that cost your team when it has nothing beneficial for anybody.”

Some growing pains might have been expected from Purdue's young, rebuilt defense.

But it has been painful.

In a 31-27 Week 1 loss to Northwestern, junior defensive tackle Lorenzo Neal drew a personal foul for throwing the Wildcats' running back to the ground on a third-down stop. Instead of Purdue getting the ball back with no timeouts left, Northwestern was able to run out the final 2 minutes, 31 seconds.

A few days later, Brohm explained his team plays to the whistle and he thought Neal was attempting to rip the ball out when the Boilermakers needed a turnover.

Then came Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan, in which sophomore linebacker Cornel Jones was called for a personal foul following a sack on third-and-8 when he shoved quarterback Tyler Wiegers. Instead of forcing fourth-and-long in the waning minutes, the Eagles picked up a first down. Eleven plays later, Chad Ryland made a 24-yard field goal as time expired to stun the Boilermakers with a 20-19 victory.

Purdue is 0-2 for the first time since 1996 in what was supposed to be a promising year. It will try to avoid going 0-3 for the first time in 32 years Saturday against Missouri (2-0).

“These losses are no fun, but that's part of football,” Brohm said, acknowledging he also needs to do a better job. “I think it's important that you learn from your mistakes, you go about trying to get better and you work hard to fix them. There are a lot of other opportunities ahead of us this year, and they are going to be challenging opportunities.”

Some things are getting better.

Brohm thought Elijah Sindelar rebounded well after throwing three interceptions in the first half against Northwestern and was subsequently replaced by David Blough. Both quarterbacks again played last week, and Brohm thought both played better. The problem was Purdue fumbled the ball five times, losing two.

“We took care of the ball. We made better decisions. We ran the offense,” he said. “We just had some costly penalties and turnovers and some missed opportunities that hurt us.”