Season Review: Purdue, Hazell struggle in Year 1

First-year coach Darrell Hazell surely had no idea about the size and scope of the mess he was inheriting from the ruinous Danny Hope era. Hazell and Co., tried. They really did. But the talent level never has been lower in the history of the program. And, it showed in what was arguably the worst season in school history.

Pick a stat—most any stat, really—and Purdue ranked near or in the cellar of the Big Ten. But these two sum up the pain and suffering perfectly:

  • scoring offense, 14.9 ppg, 12th in the Big Ten
  • scoring defense, 38.0 ppg, 11th in the Big Ten

The 2014 season can’t get here soon enough in West Lafayette.

Look, there’s already this video out!

[ MORE: Final B1G standings | Purdue's 2013 results | 2013 stats ]

Record: 1-11 overall; 0-8 Big Ten

Bowl: None.

High point: If you blinked, you missed it. And it certainly wasn’t very “high.” It came way back on Sept. 7, when Purdue beat Indiana State, 20-14. But you should know a few things. Indiana State is a FCS school that finished 1-11 overall and 0-8 in the MVC. And the lowly Sycamores were at the Boilermakers’ 36-yard line in the game’s waning moments, driving for the game-winning score, before Ricardo Allen picked off a pass to save the day. Purdue was 1-1. After that, it lost its last 10 games–most in blowout fashion.

[ MORE: See all of Dienhart's 2013 Big Ten season reviews ]

Low point: So many to choose from. Where to begin? Losing 20-16 at home to Illinois, which was riding a 20-game Big Ten losing skid was dubious. But the Boilermakers were at their height of ineptitude during a three-game run from Oct. 12-Nov. 2, when the Boilers were outscored 114-7 in consecutive losses to Nebraska, Michigan State and Ohio State. And the lone TD in that stretch was a meaningless 55-yard bomb vs. Nebraska backups with 39 seconds left in a 44-7 loss to the Cornhuskers.

Offensive MVP: This award should go unfilled, honestly. But, since my bosses say I have to pick someone, I’ll go with QB Danny Etling. The true freshman was thrown to the wolves during a 55-24 beatdown by Northern Illinois in September. He started the last eight games and showed some promise—when he wasn’t getting pummeled. Etling completed 55.8 percent of his passes for 1,690 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions, while being sacked 31 backbreaking times. There will be better days, kid.

Defensive MVP: P Cody Webster. A punter? Really? Yes. Really. This tells you all you need to know about the season. No Big Ten punter booted the ball more (70) and for more yards (3,047). On second thought, that’s nothing to brag about. But this is: The senior averaged a Big Ten-high 43.5 yards per punt and was a Ray Guy Award finalist.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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