CINCINNATI – Purdue coach Darrell Hazell preached discipline and execution to his team leading up to the Boilermakers' game against Cincinnati on Sunday.
He got neither.
The Bearcats put up 425 yards of total offense, held Purdue to 226 yards, won the turnover battle four to three and shellacked the Boilermakers 42-7 at Nippert Stadium.
At halftime, the Boilermakers had converted two of their seven third-down tries and allowed Cincinnati to get a fresh set of downs on five of seven tries. The offense was stagnant, the defense was tired and the Bearcats had already nearly doubled up Purdue in total offense, with a 175-90 advantage.
The lone Purdue touchdown came courtesy of punter Cody Webster in the second quarter.
Webster booted a 73-yard punt over the head of the return man, who bobbled the attempted catch. The Boilermakers fell on it, setting up an 8-yard quarterback keeper from Henry for the score.
Other than that, Purdue looked hapless. Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux, meanwhile, was prolific.
Legaux was 13 for 20 on passing attempts for 145 yards, two interceptions and a score, and he ran six times for 55 yards and a touchdown. With 3:26 left in the first half, the senior signal caller took a designed run on second and short for 32 yards to put his team in scoring position.
Then, with 17 seconds left in the half, Legaux tossed a touchdown to tight end Blake Annen on a skinny post in the middle of the end zone to give Cincinnati a 14-7 advantage.
Purdue took a knee to end the half. It stopped Cincinnati twice – on an interception and one punt – during the entire first half.
The third-down inefficiency continued at the start of the third quarter.
The Boilermakers gave up consecutive third-down conversions, including a 40-yard pass from Legaux to wideout Max Morrison on third and nine from the Cincinnati 44.
Then came third-and-goal, and another conversion for the Bearcats. Running back Ralph David Abernathy avoided a pair of tackles and ran in to make it 21-7 with 8:44 left in the third.
Henry threw three straight incompletions, forcing a punt. As soon as Purdue got the ball back, he made another mistake.
Henry overthrew his man and was picked off by Adrian Witty, who took the interception 41 yards to make it 28-7.
It didn't stop there. Running back Akeem Hunt fumbled on the next possession, and finally, with just more than three minutes left in the third quarter, Purdue eclipsed 100 total yards.
It immediately recorded a pair of losses to slip below that total again.
Purdue receivers couldn't break free of the Bearcats. Henry, a fifth-year senior who finally gets his shot this season, made too many mistakes and showed far too little poise. The defense got worn down. There were missed assignments, turnovers, penalties and myriad other mistakes.
Not the start Hazell wanted.