December 26, 2007

Motor City Bowl wrap up

DETROIT - What a game. What more can be said?

Both teams had great showings. Purdue showed remarkable resiliance in coming back after it looked like Central Michigan had completely regained all momentum when the Chippewas tied the game, and Central Michigan did the same in making its initial comeback.

Purdue had the weight of the Big Ten on its shoulders. It was one of the few conference teams favored to win in the bowl season, and it would have really set a negative tone for the rest of the Big Ten had it dropped the conference's first bowl game to a MAC team.

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It's good.

DETROIT - Chris Summers knocked through a 40-yard field goal with no time remaining to give Purdue a win in one of the most thrilling bowl games I've ever witnessed. Purdue holds off a pesky and talented Central Michigan team, 51-48.

In between starting the drive and taking a knee at the 23-yardline to set up for a potential 40-yard game-winning yard attempt, Painter set Purdue's all-time record for passing yardage in a game. That's pretty impressive considering the two quarterbacks whose record he broke both started last Sunday in the NFL.

Fit to be tied ... again.

DETROIT - What else did you expect?

The first play out of the timeout, LeFevour found Bryan Anderson on a fade to the left part of the endzone for the game-tying score.

Six plays, 66 yards, 1:06 off the clock. Simple enough, eh?

It's Anderson's third touchdown catch of the night.

The game is all tied up with 1:09 remaining.

Stayin' alive

DETROIT - After getting sacked and gaining minimal yards on a scramble, it looked like it was all over for Dan LeFevour and the Chippewas.

But come on, this game couldn't end that easily, could it? Facing a 3rd-and-16, LeFevour found Duane Brooks for a 34-yard connection to get the Chippewas to midfield. A 13-yard pass and 16-yard scramble followed, and Purdue called a timeout with 1:14 remaining. Central Michigan has the ball on the Purdue's 20.

It all comes down to this

DETROIT - With 2:22 left, Purdue will be punting to Central Michigan after the Chippewas stopped the Boilermakers at Purdue's 30-yardline. Central Michigan exhausted all of its timeouts in the process, though.

This should be a good one.

Purdue keeps possesion

DETROIT - Facing 3rd-and-7, Curtis Painter found Jake Standeford down the left for just enough for a first down.

Dustin Keller, Greg Orton, Standeford are all over 100 yards receiving on the night.

Curtis Painter has thrown for more than 500 yards, too. He has 501 yards right now (Kyle Orton and Drew Brees are tied for the team's all-time record with 522 yards apiece.).

The final three minutes should be interesting. Does Purdue, who has just 26 yards on 21 carries this game, try running the clock on the ground, or does it stick to its strengths, pass the ball, and risk turnover/clock stoppage?

Well-timed time out

DETROIT - It looked like Purdue dug itself out of its own endzone, but a convenient time out keeps them inside its own two-yardline.

Facing a 2nd-and-10, Curtis Painter appeared to find a teammate for a 15-yard pass. But before the play was snapped, Central Michigan called a timeout, enfuriating the Purdue faithful and a handful of players on the field.

With five minutes left, Purdue leads 48-41.

Central stalls, but Purdue is pinned deep

DETROIT - The Chippewas' chance to take back the momentum came up short.

Central Michigan got a gift when it looked like its drive was over. Purdue was called for offsides on a third-and-long where LeFevour's screen pass to Ontario Sneed was off the mark.

But on the team's second shot, Central Michigan still couldn't convert. LeFevour's quarterback keeper was three yards short of the first down marker.

Tony Mikulec's soccer style punt traveled 53 yards and was downed inside the two, pinning Purdue very deep into its own territory.

Continue reading "Central stalls, but Purdue is pinned deep" »

Purdue regains control

DETROIT - Purdue just capped off a 12-play drive with a 12-yard touchdown run by backup running back Jaycen Taylor.

The Boilermakers converted on two third-and-long situations, both laser-sharp passes from Painter. The second third-down connection put Painter at 464 passing yards, a Motor City Bowl record (he now has 473).

More importantly, though, the long drive silented the crowd and gave the momentum back to Purdue after it looked like the Chippewas could do no wrong and the Boilermakers had lost all hope.

But now, with just eight minutes left, the Boilermakers are once again in control, leading the underdog Chippewas 48-41.

Fit to be tied

DETROIT - After Central Michigan tripped up on its chance to tie the game on offense, its defense stepped up again, causing its third turnover of the night.

Central Michigan's Casey Droscha emt Korey Sheets in the backfield, stuffing him for a loss and then knocking the ball loose. Teammate Nick Bellore picked up the ball and returned it all the way to Purdue's six-yard line.

Two plays and another LeFevour touchdown scamper later, and this game is improbably tied up, 41-41.

Continue reading "Fit to be tied" »

New life

DETROIT - Both the Central Michigan defense and the now-raucous Central Michigan fans have had new life breathed into them.

The Chippewa defense - which allowed more than a point per minute in the first half - has calmed down in the second half. It has stopped the Boilermakers three straight drives on defense.

And that has led to the crowd - 60,624 strong - to being louder than any Detroit Lions one has likely been this season. The fans are very pro-Central Michigan, and the defenses resurgance has really brought out the best in the crowd.

Central Michigan now has the ball with a chance to tie the game.

He's good.

DETROIT - Wow.

The game many had hoped for is happening after all. Central Michigan is now within seven after a ridiculous touchdown run by Dan LeFevour. The mobile quarterback scrambled for a touchdown, throwing some Reggie Bush-like jukes in for good measure.

That rush was LeFevour's 21st of the night, and put him two yards away from the 100-yard mark. He also has 202 yards through the air.

Purdue leads 41-34 with 5:02 left ... in the third quarter.

Here's their chance

DETROIT - After both teams traded punts, Purdue started its next drive near midfield.

Curtis Painter threaded a nice pass up the middle to Dorien Bryant, who tipped the ball right into the hands of Central Michigan's E.J. McLaughlin. The freshman defensive back returned it into Purdue territory.

The Chippewas now have a shot to get back into the game for the first time since the early stages of tonight's contest.

I have LeFevour, and the only prescription is ...

DETROIT - more touchdowns.

(OK, sorry, I had to get the Saturday Night Live name pun joke in there somewhere).

After a shaky first half, sophomore Dan LeFevour has really picked it up in the second half. He just tossed his third touchdown of the night (his second in the four-minute long second half) and again closed the gap to two scores.

This drive ended with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Anderson.

LeFevour has now thrown for 181 yards and rushed for 78 more.

Painter can't be stopped

DETROIT - It didn't take long for Purdue to answer.

Less than a minute and a half after the Chippewas' emphatic start to the second half, the Boilermakers found themselves in a familiar location - the Ford Field endzone.

This drive ended with a 19-yard pass to Jake Standeford.

Continue reading "Painter can't be stopped" »

Inspired start

DETROIT - Central Michigan coach Butch Davis kept his team in the locker room until less than one minute was left in halftime. Whatever he told his team must have clicked.

Seconds into the second half, Dan LeFevour found teammate Antonio Brown down the left for a 76-yard touchdown pass. The Ford Field crowd erupted to the loudest cheers heard yet at tonight's game.

Motor City Bowl halftime thoughts

DETROIT - There have been 47 points at halftime, and I'm not the least bit surprised. The surprise has come on the distribution of those points. Purdue was favored to win, but I really thought Central Michigan would put up a good fight and could potentially win this one.

Instead, Purdue, the team many thought wouldn't appreciate this bowl game as much as a smaller-conference team like Central Michigan would, has been the team that has played the inspired ball.

Unless Central Michigan comes out on fire in the second half, this looks like Purdue will cruise to victory here. So what does Central Michigan have to do if it wants to get back into the game?

Continue reading "Motor City Bowl halftime thoughts" »

Second time's a charm

DETROIT - Kory Sheets appeared to have scored on second-and-goal, but was ruled an inch short of breaking the goalline. After Curtis Painter fumbled the third-and-goal snap, it looked like the ref's spotting of Sheets' run could cost the Boilermakers some points.

But with just 16 seconds left in the half, Purdue coach Joe Tiller opted to go for the touchdown up 14 on the one-yard line. His risky call paid off, and Sheets found the endzone on his second chance, extending Purdue's lead to 34-13 heading into halftime.

Inching back in it ... by an inch

DETROIT - Dan LeFevour just found wide receiver Bryan Anderson down the left sideline for a 49-yard touchdown. The pass just barely found its way into Anderson's fingertips as the sophomore stretched out his arms after getting past a Purdue defender to make himself open for the deep ball. After the extra point, Purdue's lead is cut to 14 points, 27-13.

Add three more

DETROIT - Chris Summers made another chip shot to extend Purdue's lead to 21.

Purdue fans are livid that what pass interference wasn't called on a third-and-goal fade pass from Painter. Still, the Boilermakers are completely in the driver's seat, and will continue to be unless Central Michigan makes some big adjustments.

Unhappy fans

DETROIT - Trailing by 18 and needing a spark, Central michigan fans were hoping coach Butch Davis would allow the Chippewas to go for it on fourth-and-1 near midfield. But Davis sent on the punting team, and Chippewa fans sent out a reactionary chorus of boos.

Hold up

DETROIT - After what looked like Curtis Painter's third touchdown pass of the night, the once-silent maroon-clad fans had something to cheer for. Painter connected with senior Jake Standeford on third and goal, but the touchdown was negated by a holding call.

Chris Summers knocked in a 30-yard field goal to bump the Boilermakers' lead to 24-6, but the Chippewas might have gotten something to build on if they want to get back into this game.

That was quick

DETROIT - My hands hurt.

Just seconds after Central Michigan's field goal, Purdue answered quickly - and emphatically.

Curtis Painter connected with Dustin Keller for a 62-yard touchdown pass on the drive's first and only play. Keller slipped between two Central Michigan defenders trying to make the tackle and easily made his way down the right sideline and into the endzone. With 10 seconds left in the first half, Purdue leads 21-6.

Small school, big leg

DETROIT - Central Michigan's Andrew Aguila may not be a big-market player, but the sophomore junior college transfer is doing well against a Big Ten team on a big stage.

After knocking through a 27-yard field goal to start the game's scoring, Aguila just made a 47 yarder with ease to close in on Purdue's 11-point lead. The Boilermakers now lead 14-6.

Is that West Virginia?

DETROIT - For those of you watching on television seeing the West Virginia-esque spread option attack the Chippewas are using, it shouldn't come as much of a suprise.

Central Michigan's first-year coach Butch Davis came to Mount Pleasant from Morgantown last season to take over for Cincinnati-bound Brian Kelly.

Davis has been succesful in his first year as Central Michigan's coach - maybe too succesful for Chippewa fans who are afraid they may lose their second coach in as many years.

Continue reading "Is that West Virginia?" »

Shootout? Yes. Dual? Not so much.

DETROIT - Dorien Bryant returned a kick 35 yards to give Purdue great starting field position, and it didn't take long for Purdue coach and offensive mastermind Joe Tiller to take advantage of it.

Continue reading "Shootout? Yes. Dual? Not so much." »

Boilermakers take control

DETROIT - What a play.

Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter completed his third straight pass of more than 10 yards, this time it was to his favorite target and fellow senior Dorien Bryant.

Bryant looked poised to make the end zone after catching it near the 15. He juked inside and outside a trio of Chippewa defenders before finally trying to give into the end zone from about the three.

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Trivia Time

DETROIT - Pop quiz. Who is the only quarterback in NCAA history not named Vince Young to throw for 3,000 yards and run for 1,000 in the same season?

Give up?

It's Central Michigan's sophomore signal caller Dan LeFevour

Continue reading "Trivia Time" »

The best offense is a good defense

DETROIT - Just a little more than a minute into the game, Central Michigan is almost on the board thanks to its ... defense?

That's right, on Purdue's first third down of the game, Boilermaker quarterback Curtis Painter's pass was deflected right into the hands of Central Michigan's Nick Bellore. The linebacker brought it back to the Purdue 10.

Continue reading "The best offense is a good defense" »

Motor City Bowl pregame thoughts

DETROIT - We're here live in the Motor City where Central Michigan returns to its home away from home for its second straight Motor City Bowl appearance. Instead of preying on lowly Middle Tennessee State like it did last year, the MAC Champions face formidable Big Ten foe Purdue this time around.

The Boilermakers are more than a touchdown favorite according to the oddsmakers, but this has all the makings of being a down-to-the-wire shootout. Both teams have high-flying offenses, and the game could come to to whichever defense steps up first.

Purdue will be receiving the ball to begin - I'll be shocked if this is scoreless ten minutes from now.

October 07, 2007

Purdue-Ohio St wrap

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - There's an old baseball adage that says good pitching beats good hitting. The opposite is true in football.

Continue reading "Purdue-Ohio St wrap" »

October 06, 2007

Adding injury to insult

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - One of the guys Purdue can ill afford to is DE Cliff Avril, but he just had to be helped off the field with 5:30 to play.

I'm headed for the field. More after the game and press conferences.

Boo birds out

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue had fourth and eight at their own 45 and elected to punt, which brought a chorus of boos from the Purdue portion of the crowd.

Certainly, there's no harm in going for it. What's the worst that can happen?

Oh, we just saw that two plays ago, when Buckeye safety Anderson Russell dropped yet another potential interception for the Buckeyes. By my count, that's the fifth time today a Buckeye defender had both hands on the ball and managed not to catch it. I guess if you need a completed pass to make 4th-and-8 and your quarterback is having a rough day (to be generous), maybe you just punt.

Boeckman picked again

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - You know, going into the half, you would think that if Purdue's defense could get a few turnovers, they might have a chance.

Ha!

Torri Williams picked off Todd Boeckman, which is Boeckman's third interception of the half. Unfortunately for Purdue, like the last one, it came at the Purdue two-yard line, so the Boilers have to go 98 yards to get a TD. Since they only have 140 for the entire game, it's not likely to happen.

Stealing from Wisconsin

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue, apparently unhappy with its own traditions, has decided to steal one from Wisconsin. After the third quarter, they play "Shout!" over the PA and attempt to get everyone to, I don't know, dance, I guess. it's a lame and blatant rip-off of Wisconsin's jump around, and, needless to say, not as successful.

I suppose next we'll see the band do a script "Boilers," complete with the big bass drum dotting the i.

Another reversal of fortune

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Just when it looked like Purdue would get its best field position of the day after a Boeckman fumble at the Ohio St 20, the replay official reversed the play and ruled it an incomplete pass.

Like the earlier reversal, the call looked correct to me.

Press takes a T.O.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Everyone in the press box at Purdue has stopped watching the game in front of us to follow the USC-Stanford game on our computers. As far as we know, Ohio St is still winning. We will rejoin our game, already in progress, shortly.

That's why they play defense

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio State's Marcus Freeman just dropped another sure interception, the fourth time that the Buckeyes have done that today. That's just to let you know that this game isn't as close as the score would indicate.

Purdue creating turnovers, but can't capitalize

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's David Pender intercepted Todd Boeckman at the Purdue 2-yard line, which was the second straight Buckeye series to end with a pick. Once again, though, Purdue could not get a first down and was forced to punt from its own end zone. That left Ohio St a short field, which they converted into a field goal to make the score 20-0.

Curtis Painter isn't even close on most of his throws downfield. In fact, he's struggling on short balls too. He's feeling the pressure of the defense, sometimes when there isn't any, and rushing his throws.

With half of the third quarter left, Purdue still has time to come back, but they've barely been across midfield today, so there really isn't any reason for that kind of optimism.

Keller giveth, Keller taketh away

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue TE Dustin Keller has been the one bright spot on the offense today. He had another big gain after the turnover that put the ball in Ohio St territory. On third and ten though, he missed his block and Painter was sacked, killing another drive.

Meanwhile, Dorien Bryant finally got on the stat sheet. He had his first reception, but it came on a screen pass that wasn't blocked, so he lost four yards. Ohio St has totally taken him away.

The Purdue defense is asked to step up again.

After further review...

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue looked like it had its first turnover of the game on defense after Brandon King intercepted Todd Boeckman downfield, but the ref ruled he was out of bounds.

After further review, the replay official reversed the call on the field and Purdue takes over on their own 27.

The Boilers need to make something of this.

Buckeyes channel Purdue at end of half

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio State played a near perfect half until the very end, when Todd Boeckman was penalized for intentional grounding and fumbled the snap on consecutive plays.

Otherwise, the Buckeyes are having their way with the Boilers as they lead 17-0 at the half.

Some telling halftime stats:

Purdue 9 carries, 7 yards rushing.
Painter 11-23, 83 yards, no TDs or INTs, but Ohio St dropped three potential interceptions. Painter was also sacked once, which was only the fifth allowed by Purdue this year.

Ohio St, on the other hand, has 87 yards rushing and 132 through the air. Roy Small has played big with 6 catches for 74 yards and a score.

Purdue's defense settled down after giving up TDs on the first two possessions and has done all it can to keep the Boilers in the game, but if the offense doesn't find a rhythm pretty soon, the defense will wear down, and this will get ugly.

Purdue is doing something right, though. The band show is entertaining.

Fourth and nothing

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue, desperately seeking to keep a decent drive moving, went for it on fourth and one from the Ohio St 40, and in doing so, exposed one of the flaws of this offense.

Instead of lining up under center and sneaking the ball with Painter, who is about as big and strong as you get in a quarterback, they lined up in their typical shotgun and tried a screen pass that never had a chance.

Purdue's defense has stepped up the last couple of times it has been on the field, and it has to again to keep the Boilers in it.

Big Stage Fright

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Joe Tiller talked before the game about his team being ready for the Big Stage.

Um, no.

After the defense finally made a couple of plays, forcing Ohio St to settle for a 44-yard field goal, Dorien Bryant fumbled the ensuing kick straight up in the air, where it landed in the arms of the Buckeyes' Aaron Gant, who was laying on the ground after being pancaked.

OSU is threatening to shut this one down early.

Third and long

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - With one quarter in the books, everything is going Ohio State's way as the Buckeyes lead 14-0.

Even though they were finally forced to punt on the last possession, Trapasso boomed a fifty yarder that put Purdue back on its own 20. The Buckeyes are barely even having to face third downs. They are 1-2, with the conversion coming on the first touchdown.

Meanwhile, Purdue is facing an average of almost 10 yards to go on third downs. Ohio St is held the Boilers to 8 yards rushing on 6 carries, which is exactly what they needed to do. They are also getting good pressure on Painter. He's been hit as he has thrown twice.

Purdue was held scoreless in a quarter for the first time all year.

No huddle - sort of

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Ohio St has a strange way of huddling up to call the play. The receivers are in no-huddle mode, but the linemen and backs huddle about five yards behind the line. It's working just fine. The Buckeyes marched right down the field again and lead 14-0.

Nothing special about the special teams

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue's special teams was supposed to be the one area where they had an edge over the Buckeyes. The Boilers are among the nation's leaders in kick returns, but so far, AJ Trapasso has boomed both kickoffs through the end zone to negate that.

Meanwhile, Purdue P Jared Armstrong has shanked both of his punts. He got lucky with a good bounce on his first one, but the second one bounced backwards and set the Buckeyes up at the Purdue 43.

I know it's early, but this is a key defensive series for Purdue coming up.

Wells limps off

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Chris Wells limped off the field after a big gain. He was replaced by Maurice Wells, who promptly had a big gain of his own.

Chris Wells is standing on the sideline next to to the coaches, so I think we can expect him to return. However, that will have to wait until Ohio St gets the ball back because Todd Boeckman just hit Roy Small for a 26-yard TD pass to put the Buckeyes up 7-0.

That was the third time they sent a receiver streaking down the left side. The first time resulted in pass interference, and the second was overthrown. Obviously, Ohio St sees that as a play they can exploit. Purdue sure didn't show any sign that they could stop it.

Simple mistake kills drive

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue had a little bit of a drive going with two first downs, but a false start put the Boilers behind the sticks and they never recovered. A bad punt with a good bounce sets up Ohio St inside their own 20.

Stupid penalties like that false start are the kinds of things Purdue needs to avoid if it hopes to win today.

Purdue wants the ball

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue won the toss and elected to take the ball. Apparently coach Joe Tiller doesn't think much of conventional wisdom, which says to defer the choice to the second half.

With this offense, I'd want the ball too.

Purdue-Ohio St preview and notes

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Today's loss by Wisconsin upped the stakes for the Boilers and Buckeyes in tonight's game at Ross-Ade Stadium. The winner will be the lone remaining undefeated team in the Big Ten.

Continue reading "Purdue-Ohio St preview and notes" »

 

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