Purdue outscores Nevada 14-0 in the second half to improve to 2-1
Despite committing four turnovers Purdue rallied to beat the visitors from Reno. Purdue trailed 14-3 midway through the second quarter after Blough was intercepted in the red zone and Jones lost two fumbles. However, the Boilers did not let the early turnovers hold them down. In what might have been the biggest play of the game, Blough hit Bilal Marshall for a 48-yard score just before halftime. Marshall made a jumping catch in the corner of the end zone to close the gap to 14-10. Coach Darrell Hazell said, “[Marshall’s catch] gave us a huge lift….I thought he did a great job going over the top of the defender and making a play. That just lifted our sideline.”
The Purdue defense was able to stop Nevada coming out of the half. After a 42-yard punt return by Malik Kimbrough, the Boilermakers began their first drive in Wolfpack territory. Purdue was able to put another scoring drive together, capped off by a 5-yard rush by Jones. The touchdown by Jones gave the Boilers their first lead of the game, 17-14.
Purdue was able to march down inside the Nevada 5-yard line on their next drive, but a Brian Lankford-Johnson fumble was recovered by Nevada. Lankford-Johnson’s lost fumble was Purdue’s third of the day. It was also their second turnover in the Wolfpack red zone.
After failed drives by each side, Nevada was able to move the ball all the way down to the Purdue 3-yard line. However, the Boilermakers twice stopped the Wolfpack in the backfield to set up a field goal try from 27 yards out. Purdue applied plenty of pressure on the kick and Nevada kicker Brent Zuzo pushed the ball wide left.
Following the missed field goal, the Boilers took over with 4:16 left on the clock. Purdue called five straight rushing plays and was able to move the ball to midfield. On 3rd-and-7 from their own 49, Blough rolled out and connected with Brycen Hopkins. Hopkins was left wide open and took the ball 51 yards down the sideline for the final score, 24-14.
The Boilermaker defense held Nevada to 253 yards including only 68 on the ground. Purdue was led on the defensive side by Evan Panfil who recorded 4.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks. Cumulatively the defense had 11.0 tackles for loss and 5.0 sacks on the day.
Purdue moves to 2-1 on the season. The Boilermakers will travel to Maryland next week to take on the Terrapins in their B1G opener.
Follow Rob on Twitter at @RobDupre_3