This was it, folks. This was the game we have been searching for the entire season. No, the game wasn’t perfect but Purdue played a nearly flawless second half to turn a 3-point nail biter into a 25-point blowout. Hudson Card played loose and spread the ball around efficiently while Purdue ran with a 3-headed monster of Tracy, Mockobee, and Downing. On the defensive side of the ball, the tone was set early by scoring a touchdown on a sack and fumble into the endzone. The defense then controlled the game and shut down the Illini offense on third down, including on its first 10 tries. Here’s a look at each half:
Purdue won the toss and deferred to the second half, so Illinois would get the ball first. One play in and it looked grim as quarterback Luke Altmyer took a read option for 39 yards after Purdue bit on the running back. The woes seemed to return but the defense did not break. Despite a converted 4th down and driving down inside the 10, Purdue was able to stop Illinois on 3rd down and force a field goal. Altmyer did sail a wide open touchdown pass on the drive as well. On the ensuing drive, Purdue did some more shooting of itself in the foot when it was 4th and 1 inside Illinois territory. A false start forced the offense’s hand and Purdue punted.
Two plays after the punt was downed at the Illinois 8, Purdue called the perfect play and blitzed CB Markevious Brown, who chased down Luke Altmyer and forced a fumble that bounced into the endzone for Malik Langham to jump onto. Unfortunately, Purdue would miss the PAT after is was blocked by Jer’Zhan Newton.
The defense would hang tough the rest of the 1st quarter, forcing two 3 and outs with a Purdue punt that was blocked in between. Starting the second quarter, Purdue had a nice drive going, driving the ball over 70 yards to the Illinois 20 when Devin Mockobee fumbled and Illinois recovered. Illinois would take advantage and drive 80 yards in 5 plays to score a touchdown run by Josh McCray. This looked like the same Purdue as the previous 3 home games. However, Purdue would jump right back up and drive down 73 yards in 7 plays to score on a Dylan Downing 16-yard rush.
Purdue would force an Illinois punt on the next possession and then kick a field goal to go up 16-10. The following Illinois drive, Purdue played much too soft and allowed the Illini to drive down the field and set up a 53-yard field goal as time expired. It looked to be a dog fight as Purdue went into halftime up 16-13.
Purdue could not have had a better drive to start the second half. 11 plays, 75 yards, every play picked up yards, and 4/4 on 3rd downs. The end result was a 28-yard pass to a wide open Garrett Miller on 3rd and 8 to put Purdue up by 2 scores. The defense absolutely turned up the heat as the following four Illinois drives resulted in 15 plays, 33 yards, 3 punts, and a turnover on downs. Meanwhile, Purdue would tack on two more touchdowns, a Mockobee run and a Burks pass from Card. Purdue was up 37-13 at the end of the quarter and the game was sealed.
In the fourth quarter, Purdue and Illinois had 5 combined drives and they were as follows: an aforementioned punt by Illinois, a 5-play punting drive by Purdue, a long touchdown drive in garbage time by Illinois, a medium touchdown drive by Purdue that ended with a Tracy TD rush, and a long drive by Illinois that ended as time ran out. At this point, Illinois was using their backup quarterback and the game was already sealed.
In the second half, Purdue outscored Illinois 28-6 and 21-0 in the third quarter. Call it adjustments or whatever you want but this was a statement half for a squad that has struggled at home this year.
Caleb Griffin 24-yard field goal 3-0
Malik Langham 0-yard fumble return (PAT blocked) 6-3
Josh McCray 7-yard rush 10-6
Dylan Downing 16-yard rush 13-10
Julio Macias 40-yard field goal 16-10
Caleb Griffin 53-yard field goal 16-13
Garrett Miller 28-yard pass from Hudson Card 23-13
Devin Mockobee 3-yard rush 30-13
Deion Burks 10-yard pass from Hudson Card 37-13
Pat Bryant 10-yard pass from Luke Altmyer (2 PT failed) 37-19
Tyrone Tracy Jr 1-yard rush 44-19
Ryan Walters finally has a home and conference victory under him and it just so happened to come against his old boss in a trophy game. Time to keep momentum going next week against an Iowa team that looks like it could lose to anybody.