Purdue was up 23-14 with Maryland starting a last minute drive to try and head into the half with momentum. Then...BOOM Cory Trice used his 6’3 frame to hop in front of a pass and take it all the way into the endzone. Suddenly the score was 30-14 and Maryland was deflated. That was one of two key plays in that first half. The second occurred on 3rd and 20 as Purdue was driving down trying to score. It had been 2nd and 9 but Plummer took an 11 yard sack. Instead of playing it safe and getting a field goal set-up Purdue went for it all and found tight end Brycen Hopkins for a touchdown on a great pass from Plummer. It set the tone for the game and showed us what was possible when this team plays sharp.
The youth movement has started in West Lafayette, largely due to necessity, and it looked good. Sure, it helped that Purdue was playing an inconsistent Maryland team with the second string QB and a not great defense but a B1G team not named Rutgers still is gonna be a tough game. Plummer led the offense the entire game and threw for over 400 yards, had 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Purdue had great games by Milton Wright, David Bell, and of course staunch veteran Brycen Hopkins at the receiver spot. Trice wound up getting a second interception to cut short another Maryland drive.
The defense looked vastly improved as well playing much more like they did in the second half against Penn State. In the second half the Boilermaker defense allowed 0 points. Some of that was on Maryland for continuously getting stupid penalties and not going for field goals that could’ve put points on the board but you can what you can get. The two interceptions were key for Purdue and helped to stop two drives that would’ve changed the tenor of the game. Lots to tighten up of course but you love to see progress.
This was the Purdue football team we were promised. The team looked entirely different than it did last week against Penn State when things went off the rails. The season is truly just getting started for this team as they try to figure out who they are after all the injuries have decimated then on both sides of the ball. If this team can continue to improve I’m not saying they are going to make a bowl game but at least they will make your Saturday’s entertaining again. Sometimes that’s all you can ask for.