The opening drive lasted seven plays for the Purdue Boilermakers’ offense, which gave everyone an “Oh boy, here we go again” feeling. But a fumble on the following drive by the Southern Illinois Salukis gave the Boilermakers the ball on the SIU 23 and a fresh start. That’s all it took to get the offense and defense clicking for the first time in weeks and for the Boilermakers to earn their first win since Week 1 as they beat the Salukis 35-13.
Purdue quarterback Danny Etling had a huge first half. He hit DeAngelo Yancey on a 10-yard pass in the back of the endzone after the Salukis’ fumble and then followed that up with a 44-yard touchdown pass to Dru Anthrop on his next pass, once again after the Boilermakers forced a turnover.
Up 17-0 at the end of the first quarter, the Purdue Boilermakers didn’t let up off the throttle as Etling scored on a 1-yard run on the first drive of the second quarter.
Following Etling’s touchdown run, the Boilermakers lined up in their offset field goal formation and instead of audibling out of it they hiked the ball to running back Brandon Cottom who ran it in for the teams first 2-point conversion since 2008.
The Salukis finally got on the board with a 30-yard field goal by Thomas Kinney with 1:05 left in the half. Purdue handled the last-minute of the half poorly, but was able to set up Paul Griggs for a 29-yard field goal, and took a 28-3 lead into the lockerroom.
Sadly the second half didn’t go so well for the Boilermakers. Etling returned to his old ways of overthrowing his wide receivers and the offensive line allowed Etling to get hit too many times. Southern Illinois took advantage of Purdue’s lackluster play as Mark Iannotti scored their only touchdown of the game, in the third quarter, on a 1-yard run.
Even though the Boilermakers were up 28-10, the game felt like it was slipping away from them. Kinney then kicked another 30-yard field goal at the beginning of the fourth quarter, adding more angst for the fans in the stands as the Salukis were down only 15.
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Two straight three-and-outs by both teams chewed up only 2 minutes and 18 seconds. On Purdue’s next drive they were able to use up 7 minutes and 50 seconds on a 15-play drive that stalled on the Salukis’ six yard line.
The Boilermakers got the ball back with 2:35 left in the fourth and quarterback Austin Appleby sealed the victory with an 11-yard touchdown run.
Etling finished 15-of-26 for 198 yards and two touchdowns. Anthrop caught five passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. Purdue’s running game rushed for 183 yards combined, with freshman Keyante Green leading the way with 71 yards on 13 carries in his first game of the season.
On defense the Boilers gave up 330 yards – 248 passing and 82 rushing – but forced two turnovers, both in the first quarter. Ryan Watson finished with two sacks, Landon Feichter had 10 tackles and an interception and Jalani Phillips had the hit of the game, but unfortunately it was on referee Jim Shaw.
The Boilermakers are now 2-2 and open Big Ten play next week as the Iowa Hawkeyes roll into town for Homecoming Weekend.