In a game where both quarterbacks throw for over 300 yards, it's the nearly 200 yards in combined penalty yardage that decides it.
Bowling Green's Travis Green capped a 145 yard day with a 12 yard TD run to lift Bowling Green to a 35 - 28 victory at Ross-Ade to claim their second win against a Big Ten opponent this year. The final drive took 2:41 and was helped by Purdue's 8th and 9th penalties of the game. Purdue defenders were flagged for two consecutive hands to the face penalties that helped Bowling Green move the ball 80 yards in the final three minutes of the game.
David Blough's first start, taking over for Austin Appleby, could not have been more impressive. He finished the day 28-38 for 335 passing yards and two touchdowns. His lone turnover came on an interception thrown with two seconds on the clock after the game was already decided. The redshirt freshman looked terrific using his legs to avoid scramblers and a live arm that consistently found holes in the Bowling Green defense. He connected on two long touch downs. A 45 yard crossing pattern to DeAngelo Yancey and a blown coverage 62 yard TD pass up the right side to Gregory Phillips.
Bowling Green's quarterback Matt Johnson came in with 148 pass attempts and 1,358 yards and continued to throw, throw, and throw some more. Bowling Green plays with a pace that'd have Chip Kelly out of breath. He chucked the ball 59 times and connected on 43 of them for 402 yards. He had one interception and one touchdown pass.
Purdue's perceived strength was a disappointment against a defense allowing almost 500 yards a game to opponents. Knox and Jones combined for only 66 yards on 26 carries while Bowling Green's top two runners carried it for 128 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
Griggs continued his struggles, missing two field goals with a combined distance of 52 yards away. A twenty yard field goal in the first half, and a potential go-ahead/game-winning field goal with a little over 3 minutes in the fourth quarter.
Bowling green had five touch down drives, all of them over 75 yards while taking less than 4 minutes off the clock. Continually, the Purdue defense failed to get off the field. Bowling Green was 11 for 16 on third down conversions and 1 for 3 on fourth down attempts.
Despite a heartbreaking loss, the story out of Boiler country will definitely be Blough's performance in his first start. The Purdue offense converted on 9 of 17 of their third downs and was a perfect 3 for 3 on fourth down attempts. The offense played well enough to win, and Blough made the kind of plays to invoke some memories of quarterbacks of yesteryear.
There were just too many penalties from a defense that forced two turnovers, but continues to struggle to stay close to receivers. Hazell's prevent defense gave up another quick score at the end of a half, and the last drive we settled for three man rushes that allowed Johnson to survey and move all over the field. Including a two, almost one man rush that resulted in the last penalty that moved Bowling Green into the red zone and set up their game-winning TD run.
You also have to ask, if this is what Blough had in him all along, what took so long to start him?