The Boilermaker faithful might have been reeling after a tough collapse late in Nevada last week, but they showed up droves to Ross-Ade, making it the largest home opener crowd since 2008.
Brohm’s Boilermakers did not let them down, taking care of home-field and rolling the Vanderbilt Commodores 42-24.
Both teams started off slow offensively, trading back to back to back to back 3 and outs until Vanderbilt’s Jared Pinkney hauled in an 18 yard pass from Riley Neal (grad transfer from Ball St.) on 3rd and 13 for the first first down of the game. Neal then found Kalija Lipscomb for a 49 yard completion to the Purdue 4 yard line on the following play, putting Purdue on their heals early. Ke’Shawn Vaughn would punch the ball in two runs later from 1 yard out.
Purdue would need just 3:24 to respond. Sindelar found redshirt freshman Amad Anderson for 24 yards up the sideline to move to midfield for Purdue’s first first down. Then Rondale Moore and David Bell would both pick up a first down for the Boilers in the air before Sindelar found his tight end Brycen Hopkins across the middle for a 12 yard touchdown.
Elijah Sindelar had success all game finding his tight ends in the red zone. Sindelar sandwiched in a line drive between three defenders to Hopkins to tie the game at 7. In the second quarter, Sindelar hit redshirt freshman Payne Durham in the right corner of the end zone for a 2 yard TD pass. It was Durham’s first career touchdown reception. The Georgia native caught the first pass of his career earlier in the quarter, on an out route that he turned up field for 26 yards.
For Vanderbilt, the Commodores could not get out of their own way. In the first half, Vandy outgained Purdue 246-184 in yards, but committed 8 penalties for 75 yards including an offensive possession where a 15 yard run by Ke’Shawn Vaughn was brought back by a 10 yard holding call and a 15 yard unsportman like conduct flag that resulted in a 2nd in 33 that moved the Commodors from Purdue’s redzone back to their side of the field.
Purdue’s running game continued to be non-existent. They ran the ball 6 times in the first half for just 7 yards. They never could found traction, with Sindelar throwing for more than 50 attempts again, and their backfield struggling to net positive yardage with Tario Fuller still out for Coach Brohm. The Boilermakers finished the game with 18 rushes for just 31 yards.
Elijah Sindelar started to open up the offense in the second half. In Purdue’s first possession, Purdue’s offensive line allowed Sindelar to survey the field after a play-action where he found Jared Sparks in one on one coverage downfield. Sparks was able to readjust on the deep ball and Vandy’s safety mistimed his jump. Sparks went into the end zone untouched from the six yard line and Purdue took a 21-10 lead.
Sindelar’s fourth touchdown pass of the game found Brycen Hopkins up the seam for a 20 yard touchdown. This is the second straight game Sindelar has thrown for at least 4 touchdown passes. He is the first Purdue quarterback to start the season with 4 touchdown passes in each game since Curtis Painter.
With Purdue’s collapse last week still fresh on fan’s mind, Cam Johnson’s 10 yard reception up the left sideline to pull to 28-16 early in the 4th might have made Boilers a little nervous.
But Purdue had an answer in #4, going to the Sophomore All-American early, and finishing their fifth scoring drive of the day by finding Moore on a crossing route where he beat two defenders and avoided an official before turning on the burners and finishing the 34 yard reception untouched in the end zone. The Boilers lead grew to 35-16.
But football hasn’t really started in West Lafayette till the home fans have to sweat out an attempted comeback. The Commodores didn’t disappoint. Immediately following the Moore touchdown, Riley Neal found Chris Pierce running up the left sideline, when Pierce shucked a tackle, he was off, racing up the left sideline and scoring on a 75 yard reception. After the two point conversion, the Boilers lead was only 35-24.
Less might be more in most places, but in West Lafayette, Moore is more. Rondale Moore’s 13th catch of the game (a new career-high) was a 65 yarder where he outran his man and then made the catch over him before dragging the cornerback another ten yards before being dragged down inside the 5 yard line. The sophomore receiver has double-digit receptions and over 100 yards in both games to start the season.
Moore’s big reception set-up a Sindelar sneak, the QB’s sixth touchdown of the game, and gave Purdue a 42-24 lead.
Have Yourself A (Career) Day:
Elijah Sindelar set a new career-high for passing yards. The 5th year QB went 34-52 for 509 yards, throwing for 5 touchdowns and 1 interception.
Rondale Moore set a new career-high for receptions with 13 catches for 220 yards and 1 TD.
Payne Durham entered the day with 0 receptions in his career. He left Ross-Ade with 2 receeptions, and his first touchdown of his career.
David Bell had a nice game as Purdue’s second leading receiver, setting new career-highs with 4 receptions and 84 yards.