Sep 10, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Indiana State Sycamores quarterback Gavin Screws (10) is sacked by Purdue Boilermakers defensive end Jack Sullivan (99) during the first quarter against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Aidan O’Connell (4 TDs) leads Purdue’s rout of Indiana St.

Aidan O’Connell connected with Charlie Jones on three touchdown passes as part of a four-touchdown performance, and host Purdue cruised past Indiana State 56-0 in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday.

O’Connell needed only one half of play to stake Purdue (1-1) to a 35-0 lead, completing 17 of 19 passes for 211 yards. Jones finished his day with nine catches for 133 yards. Safety Cam Allen returned a third-quarter interception 65 yards for touchdown that put Purdue up 49-0.

Dante Hendrix paced Indiana State (1-1) on offense, grabbing five receptions for 90 yards. Sycamores quarterback Gavin Screws completed just 6 of 14 passes for 83 yards, with two interceptions.

Purdue got a short field on its opening possession after Sanoussi Kane forced a fumble that Allen recovered at the Indiana State 30. The Boilermakers took just four plays to cash in on a 4-yard King Doerue touchdown run.

Purdue then put together a six-play, 58-yard scoring drive that covered 2:09 to go up 14-0 on O’Connell’s 7-yard scoring pass to Jones.

The Boilermakers scored again three minutes later on a 43-yard drive, culminating in an O’Connell to Paul Piferi 26-yard pass.

The Sycamores answered with two drives deep into Purdue territory, but both possessions ended in turnovers — the first on downs after a Purdue goal-line stand and the second a Jamari Brown interception.

After that, O’Connell connected with Jones for a 36-yard score to complete a four-play, 61-yard drive with 3:50 to play in the half. He once again found Jones for a 5-yard pass to close out a five-play, 48-yard drive with 46 seconds to go.

Dylan Downing had a 1-yard rushing touchdown and Devin Mockobee added a 14-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.

Purdue leads the all-time series 6-0.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) makes a catch against Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Burke (29) during the 2nd quarter of their NCAA game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on November 13, 2021.

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Purdue seeks 8th win, Old Oaken Bucket vs. rival Indiana

After a one-year hiatus, the Old Oaken Bucket game returns on Saturday when surging Purdue opposes Indiana in West Lafayette, Ind.

Last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues involving both in-state rivals. Purdue leads the all-time series 74-42-6, though Indiana has won five of the past seven meetings. Indiana currently holds the bucket after beating Purdue 44-41 in double overtime in 2019.

Purdue (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) will be going for its first eight-win season since 2007. Behind starting quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who has passed for 2,899 yards with 19 TDs and eight interceptions on the season, Purdue’s pass offense ranks seventh in the nation at 345.9 yards per game.

“It’s rivalry week, and in order for us to have a chance to win the game, we’ve got to prepare well,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “We’ve got to get as many guys healthy as we can and go out there and execute on Saturday. I think in these type of games, … all three elements, offense, defense and special teams, have to be clicking.”

Indiana (2-9, 0-8) is looking to avoid its first winless season in Big Ten play since 2011.

The Hoosiers have been beset by injuries all year but are hoping to get preseason All-America cornerback Tiawan Mullen and starting running back Stephen Carr back for the Purdue game. Carr has been out since sustaining an ankle injury on Nov. 6 against Michigan, while Mullen has appeared just once since September while dealing with leg injuries.

“The Old Oaken Bucket week for our program and a huge game for all of our players, our fans, our university and for our state,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “That is going to be the focus of everything that we do this week and getting our guys ready, guys that have been out, trying to get as many of those guys back as we can.”

The Hoosiers could turn to their fourth starting quarterback of the season, walk-on Grant Gremel, after Donaven McCulley dropped to 0-4 as a starter during Indiana’s 35-14 loss to Minnesota last week. Gremel passed for 60 yards and his first career TD in relief of McCulley against the Golden Gophers.

“We’ll see as the week plays on,” Allen said. “We’ll see who is healthy, who is also able to go. He’s obviously going to get a lot of reps. I liked what I saw on Saturday, for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) dives for the first down as he is tackled by Purdue Boilermakers safety Cam Allen (10) during the first quarter at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Ohio State routs No. 19 Purdue

Garrett Wilson returned to catch two touchdown passes and run for another in the first half as No. 4 Ohio State routed No. 19 Purdue 59-31 in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

He was the favorite target of C.J. Stroud, who was 31 of 38 for 361 yards and five touchdowns. Wilson finished with four TDs.

Wilson was unavailable for the Nebraska game on Nov. 6 for an undisclosed reason, but started the Buckeyes (9-1, 7-0 Big Ten) off right with a 21-yard touchdown catch on their first possession. He added a 12-yard scoring reception and a 51-yard touchdown run as part of a 45-17 halftime lead.

He also had a 24-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter and finished with 10 catches for 126 yards.

The Boilermakers (6-4, 4-3) were looking for their third upset of a top-5 team this season but were felled by turnovers in the first half that led to 14 points by Ohio State in a 1-minute, 50- second span. Purdue would later give up two touchdowns in 24 seconds.

Ohio State’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba had 139 yards on nine catches, TreVeyon Henderson rushed for two touchdowns and Miyan Williams added 117 yards on the ground.

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell was 40-for-52 for 390 yards and four TDs.

His 25-yard TD pass to Jackson Anthrop tied it 7-7 early in the first quarter.

Henderson ran for a 3-yard score to regain the lead. After backup quarterback Jack Plummer botched an exchange that was recovered by Ohio State, Henderson immediately raced 57 yards for 21-7 advantage and the Buckeyes were never threatened.

Following a 20-yard TD by Smith-Njigba to extend the lead to 28-7 with 13:42 left in the second quarter, Anthrop fumbled away the kickoff at the Purdue 12 and Stroud connected with Wilson from 12 yards for the 35-7 score.

The Boilermakers in 2018 defeated No. 3 Ohio State 49-20 in West Lafayette, Ind. Since then, Ohio State has won 25 straight Big Ten games.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 Ohio State on upset alert vs. plucky Purdue

Momentum and history make an intriguing combination for Purdue going into its game against No. 4 Ohio State on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

Living up to its reputation as “Spoilermakers,” Purdue (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) has the opportunity to defeat its third top-five opponent this season. The Boilermakers hope to pull off an upset of the heavily favored Buckeyes (8-1, 6-0) for the second time in four seasons.

While Ohio State struggled to a 26-17 win at Nebraska last week, the Boilermakers downed then-No. 3 Michigan State 40-29 in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue also won 24-7 at No. 2 Iowa on Oct. 16. It’s the first time since 1960 that the Boilermakers had beaten two top-five teams (No. 3 Ohio State and No. 1 Minnesota) in a season, and they were the fourth program in the past 50 years to do so while unranked in both games.

That won’t be the case this time if the Boilermakers win because Purdue jumped into the College Football Playoff rankings at No. 19 this week.

“They certainly have our attention,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said.

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm was asked this week about the Boilermakers thriving as underdogs, which included his 2018 team embarrassing No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes have won 24 straight Big Ten regular-season games since.

“I probably can’t put my finger on it,” Brohm said. “I do think that we have an aggressive approach, an aggressive style that can sometimes look really good and sometimes not. I think we’re willing to take some chances against really good opponents that maybe others aren’t.

“So, I do think that we’re not afraid of the challenge, and we look forward to really tough opponents and seeing how we match up.”

History can work against Purdue as well. The Boilermakers have lost eight straight in Ohio Stadium since a 31-26 win in 1988. The Boilermakers have not played in Columbus since a 29-22 overtime defeat in 2012.

The Buckeyes are trying to regain their swagger on offense. While they rank second nationally in total offense at 542.2 yards per game, they have been held to a 481.0 average in the past two games vs. Penn State and Nebraska.

Of more concern is producing just two touchdowns on nine trips to the red zone in those games, allowing Noah Ruggles to become the first kicker in school history to make four field goals in consecutive games.

“You don’t play high-level football and win championships kicking field goals,” Ohio State offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson said.

The Buckeyes will be looking for balance in the attack after throwing on 54 of 84 plays against the Cornhuskers.

Last week, in the absence of leading receiver Garrett Wilson, who likely will be available Saturday, Jaxon Smith-Njigba set a school record with 15 receptions, including a 75-yard score, against Nebraska for a career-high 240 yards.

Purdue will counter with quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who threw for 536 yards and three TDs against Michigan State with David Bell making 11 catches for 217 yards and a 5-yard touchdown.

“Some people are just amazing players,” Ohio State safety Marcus Williamson said of Bell. “We have a ton of respect for him.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver Jackson Anthrop (33) runs the ball while Michigan State Spartans linebacker Quavaris Crouch (6) defends in the first half at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Aidan O’Connell’s huge day lifts Purdue to upset over No. 3 Michigan State

Aidan O’Connell passed for 536 yards and three touchdowns and Purdue defeated a top-five team for the second time this season, downing previously unbeaten and No. 3 ranked Michigan State 40-29 at West Lafayette, Ind. on Saturday.

The Boilermakers (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) defeated then No. 2 Iowa last month.

O’Connell completed 40 of 54 passes, with David Bell hauling in 11 passes for 217 yards.

Payton Thorne completed 20-of-30 passes for 276 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans (8-1, 5-1). Tre Mosley caught two touchdown passes and Kenneth Walker III rushed for 146 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries.

The Boilermakers led 21-14 at halftime.

O’Connell completed three passes of 13 or more yards on Purdue’s first drive. He found Bell from five yards out to put his team on top.

Michigan State tied it on its next possession, with Thorne hooking up with Mosley on a 26-yard score. Connor Heyward had a 35-yard reception during that drive.

The Boilermakers regained the lead early in the second quarter as O’Connell floated an 8-yard touchdown pass to Broc Thompson. Bell had a 42-yard reception to set up the score.

Jackson Anthrop weaved through traffic on a 39-yard screen pass from O’Connell to give Purdue a 21-7 lead with 4:50 left in the half.

Walker’s 14-yard run allowed the Spartans to cut their deficit in half before the break. That finished off an 11-play, 69-yard drive.

The Spartans tied it early in the third on Thorne’s 32-yard run, three plays after a Boilermakers fumble.

Purdue soon retook the lead on King Doerue’s 1-yard run, a drive aided by two Spartans penalties.

Bell’s 50-yard catch set up Mitchell Fineran’s 29-yard field goal, which gave Purdue a 31-21 lead.

Fineran also made a 24-yarder early in the fourth. The Boilermakers then drove down the field after Thorne was intercepted on fourth down deep in Purdue territory. Bell’s 53-yard catch set up Fineran’s 23-yard field goal.

Mosley’s 11-yard touchdown catch and a two-point conversion with 5:03 left made it 37-29.

Fineran’s 22-yard field goal in the final minute clinched the upset.

–Field Level Media

Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III runs against Michigan during the second half at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing on Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

No. 5 Michigan State professes wariness of facing Purdue

Mel Tucker doesn’t anticipate a letdown from his Michigan State team this week.

Following an exhilarating comeback victory over archrival Michigan, the surprising Spartans find themselves going on the road to Purdue this Saturday. Second-year coach Tucker fully expects his team to produce the same effort.

Michigan State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) rose to No. 5 in the rankings following their 37-33 win over the Wolverines.

“We’re not going to just show up and expect anything,” he said. “That’s not part of what we talk about. That’s not part of our mentality. I’ve had people reach out to me and talk about a trap game, things like that. I don’t understand any of that. I don’t understand what that is.”

What Tucker said he fully understands is that the Boilermakers (5-3, 3-2) are dangerous when underestimated. They upset then-No. 2 Iowa 24-7 on Oct. 16.

“It’s obvious they have a good football team, and they have a history of beating ranked teams when they’re unranked,” he said. “They’ve won some big games this year.”

So have the Spartans, none bigger than last weekend’s dramatic second-half rally. They were down 30-142, but stormed back behind Heisman Trophy candidate Kenneth Walker III. The Wake Forest transfer continued his season-long rampage, rushing for all five of the Spartans’ touchdowns while racking up 197 yards.

Walker ranks second in FBS with 1,194 rushing yards and has scored 14 touchdowns on the ground.

The Spartans could be without one of their top receivers. Jalen Nailor was on the sidelines with his right hand heavily wrapped during the second half of last week’s game.

Nailor had 221 receiving yards and three touchdowns at Rutgers last month.

After Purdue, Michigan State’s remaining schedule includes games vs. Maryland, at Ohio State and vs. Penn State.

“We put ourselves in a good position heading into the last month of the season,” Tucker said. “Really, we need to start playing our best football here down the stretch in November. That’s really what it’s all about, November madness. We have to be at our best when our best is needed.”

Purdue is coming off a 28-23 road win over Nebraska. The Boilermakers have 10 takeaways in the last three games, and coach Jeff Brohm said getting a lead is crucial to forcing those turnovers.

“If we can somehow get in an advantageous situation, at least by the second half, and have a lead, our defense will play much better if a team has to throw the football a whole lot,” he said.

“That’s what we have to do. If we’ve got to play catch-up the entire game, it’ll be a dogfight until the end, and we’ll have to scrap and claw and try to hang in there,” Brohm added.

Quarterback Aidan O’Connell avoided turnovers against the Cornhuskers, completing 34 of 45 passes for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

Purdue doesn’t have an explosive attack, so it will need to contain Walker in order to pull off an upset.

“Their offense is suited exactly for him and built around him, running the football, power football, running downhill, getting it to him multiple ways, trusting in the running game because you have a really good defense and understanding that they’re not going to beat themselves,” Brohm said.

“They’ll throw it when they need to and have to and mix it up, but for the most part they’re going to rely on that running game to be the foundation of their team, and they’ve done a great job with it,” he said.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers quarterback Adrian Martinez (2) looks on against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Huntington Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nick Wosika-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska’s bowl bid hopes may hinge on matchup with Purdue

Adrian Martinez has accounted for 20 touchdowns through eight games, but his production has not translated into success for Nebraska.

Martinez and the Cornhuskers sit in last place in the Big Ten West as they prepare to host Purdue on Saturday at Lincoln, Neb.

Nebraska (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) has lost two straight games and four of its past five entering the clash with the Boilermakers (4-3, 2-2).

Considering current No. 5 Ohio State and No. 9 Iowa are part of the remaining schedule, the contest against Purdue is a must-win if the Cornhuskers want to avoid missing out on a bowl game for the fifth straight season.

“We can’t afford to have any attention on anything else besides Purdue,” Martinez, who has 10 passing touchdowns and 10 rushing scores, said in Monday’s press conference. “We need this win. Ultimately, if we want to go to a bowl game, we need to beat Purdue. Simple as that for us. All attention on Purdue.”

The Boilermakers feel their own urgency after losing 30-13 to Wisconsin last weekend.

Purdue had produced a splendid 24-7 victory over then-No. 2 Iowa one week earlier. But the Boilermakers totaled just 206 yards of offense against the Badgers while scoring 13 points for the fourth time in the past five games.

Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said Monday that quarterback Aidan O’Connell will make his fourth straight start. O’Connell threw three interceptions against Wisconsin while completing 24 of 32 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown.

O’Connell passed for 371 yards against Minnesota on Oct. 2 and 375 versus Iowa after replacing Jack Plummer as the starter. He has seven touchdown passes and eight interceptions.

“We’ll have our hands full,” Brohm said of moving the ball against the Nebraska defense, which allows 19.4 points per game. “This is a big, physical defense. They’ve got size, athleticism, experience in the secondary, and they’ve got that system down.”

The Cornhuskers will likely be without one of their better players in safety Deontai Williams, who has a team-best four interceptions. Williams sustained a knee injury during a 30-23 loss to Minnesota on Oct. 16 prior to the team’s bye week.

“Deontai will be back this season — I don’t know when,” Nebraska ccoach Scott Frost said Monday.

One of Purdue’s top players is David Bell, but the wideout with 44 receptions for 712 yards was limited to six catches for 33 yards by Wisconsin. Bell has reached 100 yards receiving four times this season, including a career-high 240 against Iowa.

Martinez rushed for two touchdowns and passed for one as Nebraska notched a 37-27 win at Purdue last season.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) reacts with fans after a game against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

After upsetting Iowa, No. 25 Purdue takes on Wisconsin

No. 25 Purdue will look to ride the momentum of last week’s win over then-No. 2 Iowa when it hosts unranked Wisconsin on Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) are coming off a 24-7 road victory over the Hawkeyes. Wideout David Bell had a career-high 240 receiving yards in the win, and quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 375 yards and two touchdowns while also running for a score.

The win gave Purdue its first Top 25 ranking in 14 years.

“That’s great for our program and great for our fans,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “When it comes to us coaches and players, we have to understand that it’s a one-game season. While last week’s win was a big win, it counts as just one, and we’ve got to move on.

“We’ve got to figure out ways to be consistent and get better and execute at a high level and raise the bar. There’s plenty of challenges ahead because we know we have a great schedule, and for us, it’s really just Wisconsin right now.”

The Badgers (3-3, 1-2) will go for their third win in a row after posting back-to-back victories over Illinois and Army. Wisconsin allowed a total of 14 points in the two contests.

Wisconsin running back Braelon Allen is aiming for his third 100-yard rushing game in a row. He carried the ball 18 times for 131 yards and a touchdown against Illinois on Oct. 9, and he followed that up with 16 carries for 108 yards and a touchdown last week against Army.

“Certainly, I feel we’ve got a really good defense,” Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. “And I think we’re starting to put together some games where you can run the ball. But you’re going to need to be a little bit more consistent in throwing it. …

“But I appreciate the resiliency of the group, and the guys just keep playing. We’ve got to improve in certain areas, certainly. But I think there is some stuff to build on that we’ve got to continue. And if that can become who we are the rest of the year, it would be good.”

Purdue has rotated several quarterbacks at various points during the season, but O’Connell leads the way with 1,118 passing yards to go with his six touchdowns and five interceptions. King Doerue (66 carries, 269 yards, 1 TD) and Dylan Downing (38 carries, 136 yards) are the top rushers.

Bell figures to draw the bulk of attention from Wisconsin’s defense. The playmaking receiver has 38 catches for 679 yards and four touchdowns on the season.

For the Badgers, quarterback Graham Mertz has struggled for much of the season. He has 893 passing yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions while absorbing eight sacks.

Chez Mellusi (112 carries, 543 yards, 3 TDs) and Allen (46 carries, 288 yards, 3 TDs) are the Badgers’ top two running backs. Isaac Guerendo also has 23 carries for 160 yards and a score.

Purdue is 2-1 at home this season. Wisconsin is 1-0 on the road.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer (13) tries to avoid the tackle of Iowa Hawkeyes defensive back Jack Koerner (28) during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue’s passing attack has no problem dispatching No. 2 Iowa

Aidan O’Connell accounted for three touchdowns and David Bell racked up a career-high 240 receiving yards and a score Saturday as Purdue posted a comfortable 24-7 road victory over No. 2 Iowa.

The unranked Boilermakers (4-2, 2-1 Big Ten) strolled into Iowa City and dominated the previously unbeaten Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1), outgaining Iowa 464-271 and controlling the ball for nearly 35 minutes.

Behind O’Connell (30 of 40 for 375 yards) and Bell (11 receptions), the Boilermakers continued their impressive success against second-ranked teams. They most recently had defeated No. 2 Ohio State 49-20 during the 2018 season and, with Saturday’s win, improved to 6-10 all-time against second-ranked foes.

Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes’ 12-game winning streak and nine-game conference winning streak ended with a resounding thud. Spencer Petras was just 17 of 32 for 195 yards with four interceptions as Iowa looked nothing like the team that had defeated six straight ranked opponents, including Indiana, Iowa State and Penn State this season.

The Hawkeyes had trouble generating any momentum from the start. On the fourth offensive snap of the game, Petras was intercepted by Kieren Douglas. Iowa only gained eight yards on its second drive, and then its next possession ended with a missed 25-yard field goal.

While the Hawkeyes were scuffling, the Boilermakers embarked on a 10-play, 67-yard drive and cashed in on O’Connell’s 6-yard scramble to the end zone to go ahead 7-0.

Iowa countered with a long drive of its own, going 80 yards in nine plays. A powerful 3-yard TD run by Ivory Kelly-Martin made it 7-7.

On the ensuing possession, O’Connell rolled out to his right and found TJ Sheffield for a 3-yard score to create a 14-7 advantage with 19 seconds left in the half.

Mitchell Fineran’s 31-yard field goal gave Purdue a 10-point lead early in the third quarter.

Iowa did not threaten on its next two possessions — and the hosts even caught a break when Sheffield lost a fumble on third-and-goal — and then the Boilermakers put it away on O’Connell’s 21-yard TD pass to Bell with 12:29 to go.

–Field Level Media