Purdue started the game just about as poorly as you can imagine. They allowed a 79 yard run from a converted wide receiver for a quick 7-0 Northwestern lead. Then they threw a quick interception. Northwestern, a team that averaged under 10 points per game, quickly scored again putting them up 14-0 before Purdue could really get their bearings.
After that Purdue was able to fight back with some nice runs by Doerue, some great plays from David Bell, and a nice drive by Aidan O’Connell that saw him go 8-8 as well as running for a first down. If you just watched that drive you would never have known he was a walk-on, it was masterful. You do of course have to contrast that with the safety O’Connell took when he threw the ball to no one from the endzone.
Purdue would find a way to eventually take the lead 21-16 but then the Purdue defense left their bodies and chose to largely observe the next few drives. Northwestern took the lead on a drive after converting multiple third and longs over the middle, stop if you’ve heard this one. Northwestern had bypassed the chance for a field goal earlier in the game and instead failed on a fourth down conversion and then found themselves up just one after the TD so they went for for the two point conversion but were unable to convert. With the score 22-21 Purdue needed any score to take the lead and this would prove to be pretty important.
Purdue then found themselves able to stop Northwestern on one final drive forcing Northwestern to attempt a field goal that would’ve put them up four and forced Purdue to have to get the TD to take the lead. Northwestern then lined up and...DOINKED IT! Purdue was still alive.
On the ensuing drive Purdue had to get within field goal range and thanks to two pass interference calls, including one on fourth down, Purdue found themselves within Dellinger’s field goal range with just a few ticks left on the clock. Despite Northwestern’s attempt to ice him he was able to power it through. Purdue took the lead 24-22 with just :03 left in the game. Northwestern tried some trickeration on the last play but was unable to get anywhere close to the endzone. Somehow, someway Purdue walked out of Evanston with a victory improving to 4-6 and their bowl hopes hanging by the most tenuous of threads. It wasn’t pretty, and honestly it wasn’t always fun to watch but with the injuries on this team that’s really the best we can hope for. You’ve gotta feel good for Dellinger and for Aidan O’Connell who grew up just down the road from Evanston and could be seen getting emotional on the sideline afterward. What a great story he’s got. Purdue heads to Wisconsin next. That one is gonna be tough. Now, who’s ready for basketball?