Sat September 29, 2012
Purdue gets defensive: INTs ignite 51-41 win over Marshall
Purdue’s defense sparked a 28-point outburst in the second quarter to help the Boilermakers hold on against Marshall.
Purdue came away with a 51-41 win despite a late rally by the Thundering Herd.
“It’s kind of like the final review before the big exam,” said Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush. “We have a Big Ten season coming up and it was good to see the offense clicking and the defense make some plays out there against a prolific offense.”
Marshall came into the game as the top passing unit in the nation, so Purdue knew it was going to need to score.
Both offenses found early rhythms exchanging touchdowns for a 14-14 tie. The Boilermakers’ scores came on a pair passes from Terbush (27-37, 294 yards, 4 TDs, INT). He connected with Gary Bush from nine yards out and then found Antavian Edison for a 41 yard score.
“I ran a corner route and it was kind of wide open,” said Edison of his touchdown. “TerBush threw a good ball. I caught it and got up field.”
Marshall’s Rakeem Cato (45-68, 439 yards, 5 TDs, 3 INT), who at one point completed 17 straight passes, responded with two scoring tosses of his own, a four yarder to Antavious Wilson and a 12-yard strike to Gator Hoskins.
“That quarterback is legit,” said Purdue cornerback Antoine Lewis of Cato. “He’s not the tallest guy in the world, but he really knows how find guys that are open.”
Guys like Tommy Shuler, who set a Marshall record with 19 receptions for 200 yards.
Purdue marched 75-yards on 14-plays to take a 21-14 lead on a two yard run by Akeem Shavers (25 carries, 86 yds, TD) and then the defense took over.
Lewis lit the spark. He recorded his first career interception picking off Cato on a ball that was deflected.
“If we had to take a play that was big momentum, I would probably say that was the play,” said Lewis. “He (Cato) wasn’t as free saying ‘this guy is open.’ He kind of aimed instead of threw it after that first interception.”
That set up the second touchdown from TerBush to Bush (7 rec, 82 yards, 3 TD) on a 35-yard screen pass.
On Marshall’s ensuing possession, Ricardo Allen stepped in front of a pass and returned the interception 39 yards for his fourth career pick six, which is a new Purdue record. It also kept intact a personal streak.
“Every time my mom and family come to the game, I get an interception,” Allen said. “I’ve gotten two picks sixes when she’s (mom) at the game, so I think she needs to travel a little more.”
Cato threw his third interception in as many possessions when Josh Johnson picked him off at the Marshall 26. Not to be left out of the action, Allen’s roommate returned the INT 74-yards for a touchdown.
“A lot of times they always stayed outside and they always stemmed inside and ran a slant,” said Johnson. “So they kept running it and kept running it and eventually I kind of figured he was going to go to it and I just jumped it.”
Purdue struggled offensively in the second half. The Boilers were outscored 27-9 after the break and Marshall had a chance to draw within a possession late in the fourth quarter.
“Yes, we are disappointed that we didn’t put the game away early in the third quarter,” said Purdue head coach Danny Hope. “We were three and out a couple of times early and allowed them a chance to compete and get back into the ball game.”
Marshall started the third quarter with a 28-yard touchdown pass from Cato to Hoskins and then Derek Mitchell returned a blocked punt 35 yards to the end zone.
With the lead trimmed to 14 midway through the third quarter, Purdue responded by putting together a pair of long drives.
The first, a 16-play 62 yard possession, ended with a Paul Griggs 34-yard field goal. The second went 78-yards on 13 plays and covered 6:15. Bush capped that drive off with a seven yard touchdown, his third of the day and fourth thrown by TerBush.
“Any time that we got their offense off the field, that was good for our football team,” said Hope. “Those drives were critical drives and any drive that we manufactured today that kept that offense off the field was huge for our team.”
In between those two drives, Marshall’s Hoskins caught his third touchdown on a one yard reception for Cato.
The Herd cut the deficit to ten when Craig Wilkins caught a 15-yard touchdown with less than three minutes to play, but Marshall was stopped on a two point conversion and Edison recovered an onside kick.
The Herd got the ball back once more with 1:34 remaining, but Kawann Short forced a fumbled that was recovered by Will Lucas to secure the Purdue win.
“We beat the teams we are supposed to beat and beat the teams people don’t think we can beat,” said Short. “We just play with that mindset and just go out there every Saturday and try to strive to get better each game.”
Despite being outgained 534 to 443, Purdue improved to 3-1 and finished their non-conference schedule with a winning record for the first time since 2007.
The Boilers open Big Ten play next week when they welcome Michigan (2-2) for the third of four straight home games.
“I think we are where we thought we would be,” said Hope.
“We are 3-1 and even more important than that, we are 3-0 inside Ross-Ade and that’s one of the goals of our football team this year is to go undefeated in Ross-Ade Stadium. That would be huge for our team and huge for our program. We really feel that if we can go undefeated in Ross-Ade that we will be in a good position to compete for the Leaders Division.”