This was a tough one. Purdue had a ton of mistakes in this game and it cost us the undefeated season as Michigan pulled out a 28-24 win in a back and forth game.
Things started pretty well as Purdue drove deep into Michigan territory on its opening drive, but J.D. Dellinger just missed a 46 yard field goal as it bounced out off the crossbar. The game does not have Dellinger with much of a leg, so 46-49 is about the limit of his range unfortunately and I missed it by inches.
The Wolverines took advantage and easily marched down for a touchdown by Hassan Haskins. Things got worse on the next drive as Jack Plummer threw an interception trying to hit King Doerue on a wheel route. The Wolverines were close to making it 14-0 when Dylan McCaffery was intercepted in the end zone by Cam Allen. Allen was coming forward out of the end zone at the pick and was tackled at the three.
That set up an impressive drive as the Boilers marched 97 yards in 22 plays to score on a short run by Tyrek Murphy. Purdue converted on third down at least four times as there were few big plays.
Unfortunately, the defense continued to struggle as McCaffery engineered a drive and scored on a 23 yard run with just under a minute left. That’s when things got awesome for Purdue. The blocking was there and opened a whole as big as the Red Sea for Rondale Moore, allowing the electric man to return he ensuing kickoff 105 yards for a score. Suddenly it was 14-14, and the Wolverines went three and out while using their own time outs to save clock.
I decided to give it a shot and a long pass to David Bell set up a 40-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it 17-14 Purdue.
Special teams were a factor again or Purdue in the second half, as Dellinger missed from 48 after a stop. The Wolverines then retook he lead after a lengthy drive when Haskins scored from a yard out. Purdue answered, even hitting on a long pass to Maliq Carr (his first catch of the season) to set up an 8 yard pass to Bell making it 24-21.
Unfortunately, it was now Michigan’s turn for lightning to strike, as Giles Jackson returned the kickoff 102 yards for a score to make it 28-24. Purdue failed on fourth down on its next drive, but got a stop and got the ball back for a final drive. I got us down inside the 10 and was running clock because I didn’t trust the defense. I wanted to score with as little time left as possible. On third down I went for Bell, but the ball was tipped an intercepted with less than a minute left. Michigan got the first down they needed and that was game.
This is the first game where Rondale was really held in check. I could not get him open, but Plummer for 50 yards rushing on the rollout play I love to use for Rondale. Bell had 10 catches for 113 yards and a score and Doerue had 126 yards on the ground, but it was the special teams errors that cost us 13 points.
I have five games left to play int his experiment and can still win the Big Ten West. Maybe this afternoon I can get back on the winning track Northwestern.