Rondale Moore: What it’s Like to Try and Defend Purdue’s Electric Playmaker

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rondale moore

Rondale Moore announced his presence to the college football world with authority Thursday night. All the Purdue true freshman wide receiver from New Albany, Indiana did in his very first collegiate game was break Purdue’s 46-year old record for most all-purpose yards in a contest with 313 yards.

In a 31-27 loss to Northwestern he rushed twice for 79 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown run, and caught 11 passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. As the name Rondale Moore was top ten trending nationally on Twitter, the rookie was compiling 125 yards on five kickoff returns, en route to winning the league’s Freshman of the Week award.

purdue boilermaker train track

Watching him play is like (showing my age here) manipulating Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas or Randall Cunningham in the John Madden Football video game for Sega Genesis.

He’s been described in many different colorful ways, including as a human “cheat code” (in a video game). Hammer and Rails, SB Nation’s Purdue site, compiled a collection of some of the more cleverly awestruck Twitter users.

“He’s an incredibly talented young man. you watch his highlight tape from high school and it’s ridiculous. I mean, it’s I’m glad I didn’t play against him in high school, I’ll put it to you that way,” said Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald after the game. 

“I think the kid’s a freak show, athletically,” he added on Tuesday.

rondale moore

Indeed he is, as the 4-star rated recruit and U.S. Army All-American who de-committed from Texas has 4.3 speed and the ability to squat 600 pounds! Or well more than triple his body weight.

Purdue fans will certainly be doing their best Britney Spears impersonations over the next three years (hard to imagine he stays all four when the NFL Draft money will almost be guaranteed) as they’ll be saying “gimme gimme more” on autumn Saturdays. 

Moore gives the Big Ten something it could always use more of- a player that is can’t miss football, no matter what side you’re on. He’s electric in the vein of an Antwaan Randle El, Desmond Howard, Charles Woodson, Denard Robinson or Eddie George. 

You want him on the field in more than one phase of the game, and you can’t turn your head away any time he touches the ball. He’s like Vinny Sutherland to the 4th power or  Tim Dwight cubed. 

purdue boilermakers

So far Northwestern is the only team that’s had to try and stop him, so we got their insight on what the task entails.

NU linuebacker Blake Gallagher on going against Rondale Moore: “Keeping him in front of you, using your hands are so key, I think when you play a guy like (Duke QB Daniel) Jones (who NU gets this week) and Rondale Moore, you have to be prepared and on your feet.”

In the video below, the Rondale Moore discussion begins around the 5:03 mark. Watch it the whole way through to get the entire effect.

Fitzgerald said that what his Wildcats mostly did wrong was fail to remain aggressive. Once they made that adjustment in the second half, regaining their aggression, they were able to slow Moore down.

“I don’t want to minimize his talent, but we missed every single tackle and on the crossing route we had a coverage breakdown,” said. “Jared (Carpenter, NU safety) was almost able to make a great play to break it up, but the adjustment at halftime was pretty simple: how about we do what we do. To their credit the guys took it to heart and played well in the second half.”

What’s really interesting about that the Rondale Moore discussion at the Fitz-Carlton this week is how it ended up with a reference to this very play:

That is of course an allusion to Florida State running back Cam Akers, also a highly recruited true freshman making his collegiate debut this weekend, breaking off an 85-yard run…but failing to score.

All in all, this is just the beginning of the Rondale Moore experience in West Lafayette. Boiler fans have realistic dreams about Silver Footballs and Heisman Trophies in the near future.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.

Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.

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