Purdue picked up the first Big 10 win of the Hazell era when the Boilermakers defeated Illinois today, in Champaign, 38 to 27. Austin Appleby got his first career start for the Boilers and looked comfortable and poised throughout, on the ground and through the air. Purdue racked up 551 yards of total offense. Illinois has one of the worst rushing defenses in the FBS, and it showed today as Purdue was able to gain 349 yards on the ground.
Illinois scored on its first two possessions but was held scoreless the rest of the half as the Purdue rushing attack ate up the clock in huge chunks. Raheem Mostert scored on a long 44 yard run in the first quarter and Akeem Hunt added a 54 yard score in the second. A Paul Griggs field goal gave Purdue its first halftime lead in a Big 10 game since November 17th, 2012 (also at Illinois).
Appleby started serving up his 2 for $20 entrees and appetizers in the 3rd quarter when he threw an 80 yard TD to Danny Anthrop. On their next drive, he ran 62 yards on a planned QB draw that was capped off by a one yard TD run. He added another one yard rushing score in the 4th quarter. Landon Feichter sealed the win late in the 4th quarter, intercepting backup QB Reilly O'Toole in the endzone. Appleby finished the game 15/20 for 202 yards.
The Boilermaker defense played well enough to win today, but still gave up 515 yards to the Illini offense. Wes Lunt was 27/39 for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns before being pulled in the 4th with an apparent leg injury. Illinois freshman Mike Dudek had a huge day, catching 8 passes for 200 yards.
Purdue's four rushing touchdowns were their most since 2002, and their four runs of 40+ yards were the four longest runs of the year for the Boilers.