Markus Bailey. Tario Fuller. Matt MacCann. Lorenzo Neal. Elijah Sindelar.
At some point, the levee was bound to break, and for Coach Brohm’s Boilermakers, the double-loss of the starting fifth-year quarterback Elijah Sindelar to a concussion and starting do-everything linebacker Markus Bailey to a knee (out for the season) was too much for a young team to hold back the tide of a Horned Frogs running attack that moved the ball at will and punished Purdue to the tune of a 34-13.
With 60,000 fans in attendance under the bright lights of Ross-Ade stadium, Jack Plummer got his first collegiate start. The redshirt freshman got some early help when Simeon Smiley jumped an early slant pattern and tipped an Alex Delton pass into the air. True freshman George Karlaftis came down with the deflection for his first career interception and gave Purdue the ball at the TCU 21.
A Rondale Moore drop on a third-down conversion forced Purdue into settling for a field goal.
It was all Horned Frogs after that. TCU edged Purdue in the first half 160 to 0 on rushing yards. But Purdue’s defense pushed TCU back twice in the red zone and was able to force TCU into settling for two field goals.
A career-long 53 yard field goal by J. D. Dellinger kept Purdue in it in the second quarter. Despite an offense that was struggling, Purdue went into half only down 13-6.
If the Purdue rushing defense was a sieve in the first half, it was flat busted in the second. TCU’s two-headed backfield slashed and pounded Purdue’s small front, with both Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua going for over 100 yards. Darius Anderson led the charge with 179 yards on just 16 carries.
Sewo Olonilua added 106 on 18 carries. They combined for 3 rushing touchdowns.
Purdue could get nothing going on offense. Plummer’s first game behind center was spent mostly trying to avoid the inevitable pass rush, and not being able to find Purdue’s play makers with any kind of space.
Purdue’s Heisman hopeful, Rondale Moore, who came into the game with 24 catches for 344 yards after two games, was never involved in the game. The game breaker wide receiver amassed season-lows with just 3 catches for 25 yards and was never a consistent part of an offense that has ran through him all year.
The lone stand outs for Purdue were true freshman George Karlaftis who had tallied a sack, tackle for loss, and interception before half-time, and tight end Brycen Hopkins who had 4 catches for 77 yards.
In the fourth quarter, Purdue fans caught a glimpse of what a brighter future might hold when Jack Plummer finally had time to sit back in the pocket and he found Amad Anderson Jr. on a deep route with a perfectly placed pass that went 54 yards to the house for his first touchdown pass as a Boilermaker.