WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue can't get out of its own way.
Nebraska leads the Boilermakers 21-0 at halftime after a slew of mistakes, broken plays and communication issues by the Danny Etling-led Purdue offense.
Darrell Hazell saw a lot of energy from his team during a bye week and prep for the Cornhuskers. He worked in some new offensive philosophies, moved some promising freshmen into the on-field rotations and had some good buzz around the program ahead of the Big Ten matchup at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The buzz was just that.
Etling has looked lost in his first start. He is 8 for 14 for just 52 yards and threw an interception in Purdue territory. After going three-and-out on all three of its drives in the first quarter, the Boilermakers got five first downs, but they have yet to cross into Nebraska territory.
The Cornhuskers are without starting quarterback Taylor Martinez for the third week in a row, but their offense looked fluid during the first half.
Backup Tommy Armstrong is 6 for 11 for 43 yards and threw an interception in the end zone following Etling's pick, but he also had the first touchdown of the game on a 3-yard quarterback keeper with 9:38 left in the first quarter.
The Cornhuskers added two more rushing touchdowns before halftime at Ross-Ade Stadium, and third-string quarterback Ron Kellogg is 5 for 7 for 70 yards for Nebraska.
Purdue has dropped passes, been penalized on big plays and whiffed on tackles to give Nebraska a big advantage at the break.
The worst of those mistakes came after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Nebraska cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste, who was disqualified for the remainder of the game. Purdue got a first down thanks to the infraction and was near the 50-yard line, but fumbled on the next play.
Unlike the Boilermakers, Nebraska didn't waste its chance. Running back Ameer Abdulllah ran off the right edge for a 28-yard touchdown with 7:12 left in the half.