Florida Atlantic Owls quarterback N'Kosi Perry (7) hands the ball off to Florida Atlantic Owls running back Larry McCammon (3) during the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

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Austin Burton tosses 3 TDs as Purdue hangs on to defeat Florida Atlantic

Purdue held off Florida Atlantic 28-26 Saturday at West Lafayette, Ind., behind Austin Burton’s three touchdown passes and Dylan Downing’s 113 yards on 15 rushes.

Downing became the first Purdue rusher this season to eclipse 100 yards.

Burton, making his first career start with the Boilermakers, completed 21 of 29 pass attempts for 166 yards.

Florida Atlantic (2-3) drove to its 46-yard line with 55 seconds left.

On a fourth-and-1 play, quarterback N’Kosi Perry tried a sneak and fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Purdue’s Sanoussi Pur Kane.

The Owls could have tied the game with 5:21 remaining but a trick play was thwarted on the two-point conversion attempt when receiver LaJohntay Wester took an end-around handoff and tried a pass that was intercepted by Cam Allen in the end zone.

That play occurred after Florida Atlantic drove 75 yards in seven plays, capped by Perry’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Wester.

Perry completed 18 of 30 passes in the game for 230 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 93 yards on 13 carries.

Wester had nine receptions for 90 yards with three touchdowns.

Purdue (2-2) trailed 13-7 in the second quarter before Burton threw his second touchdown of the game, a 12-yard strike to Chris Jones with 18 seconds left before halftime.

Jones finished with nine catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns.

The Boilermakers scored another touchdown on their first possession of the second half to take a 21-13 lead with 10:49 left in the third quarter.

Downing scored that touchdown on a 2-yard run.

After the Owls cut the lead to 21-20 on Perry’s 16-yard touchdown pass to Wester, Purdue answered with a 4-yard touchdown strike from Burton to TJ Sheffield with 8:01 remaining.

Florida Atlantic outgained Purdue 419-354 in total yards and limited the Boilermakers to 3-of-12 on third-down conversion attempts.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions  at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Purdue QB Aidan O’Connell a game-time decision

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will be a game-time decision Saturday against Florida Atlantic because of an unspecified injury, ESPN reported Friday.

O’Connell ranks fourth in the nation with exactly 1,000 passing yards through three games this season with the Boilermakers (1-2, 0-1 Big Ten).

He has completed 64.2 percent of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception.

O’Connell joined Purdue as a walk-on in 2017. He suffered a season-ending foot injury in the third game of the 2020 season but returned to pass for 3,712 yards with 28 TDs and 11 interceptions in 2021.

UCLA transfer Austin Burton is listed as the backup QB for the Boilermakers.

–Field Level Media

Sep 10, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) throws a pass during the second quarter against the Indiana State Sycamores at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

Top passers take center stage when Purdue hosts FAU

Two of the country’s top passers meet when Aidan O’Connell and the Boilermakers host N’Kosi Perry and the Florida Atlantic Owls in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday.

For Purdue (1-2), O’Connell has completed 64.2 percent of his passes for 1,000 yards, which ranks fourth in FBS. Perry is sixth with 987 yards, having completed 57.7 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions for the Owls (2-2).

O’Connell threw for 424 yards with three touchdowns and an interception in a 32-29 loss at Syracuse last week.

His favorite target seems to be Charlie Jones, who has amassed 474 yards and five touchdowns so far this season. Jones’ 32 receptions are at least 19 more than any other Boilermaker, and it’s also the most catches by any receiver in the FBS so far this season. Jones — a transfer from Iowa — has already topped his totals from last season in scoring, yards and catches.

“Whenever you’re playing a team that can throw the ball, you want to get the rush to them,” FAU coach Willie Taggart said. “You have to get pressure and make him uncomfortable. They have a really good QB, he’s an NFL prospect, they have good receivers, big tight ends, and they do a good job of having plays that complement each other.”

Perry is coming off his worst game of the season. He went 13-for-29 passing for 108 yards and a touchdown in a 40-14 loss against visiting Central Florida on Saturday.

He is complemented by Larry McCammon III, who ranks eighth nationally with 394 rushing yards on 54 carries, an average of 7.3 yards per attempt.

One could argue that Purdue could easily be undefeated. It squandered fourth-quarter leads in losses to Penn State (35-31) and Syracuse, with a 56-0 win over Indiana State sandwiched between the defeats.

“We have to get better at containing the quarterback run, and that will be a challenge again for us this week,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said.

This will be the first meeting between the schools.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA;  Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) passes the ball in the first quarter against the Penn State Nittany Lions  at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue tries to clean things up for meeting with Indiana State

Sloppy play doomed Purdue in its home opener against Penn State in Week 1. The Boilermakers are looking to clean things up to emerge with a win when they host Indiana State in West Lafayette, Ind., on Saturday.

Part of that sloppiness came in the form of penalties, nine of them, including three fourth-quarter infractions during crunch time in an eventual 35-31 loss.

“We had a really good year last year as far as not having a lot of penalties, winning the turnover battle,” Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm said. “We had some really just silly penalties that cost us … really just some costly penalties that when you play a good football team, you can’t have happen. So, we’ve just got to concentrate, identify what those penalties are, which I think we have, and try to get those fixed.”

Aidan O’Connell completed 29 of 58 pass attempts in that game, throwing for 356 yards. He connected with Charlie Jones for 12 receptions and 153 yards, along with a 7-yard touchdown that gave the Boilermakers a 24-21 lead late in the third quarter.

Purdue (0-1) may need to avoid mistakes against the FCS Sycamores to put up big numbers again, as Indiana State (1-0) is fresh off one of the best defensive performances in its history.

The Sycamores set Curt Mallory-era marks for fewest rushing yards allowed (eight), fewest total yards allowed (156), sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (15). Safety Rylan Cole collected two interceptions and linebacker Geoffrey Brown notched 15 tackles as the Sycamores defeated North Alabama 17-14.

Broc Thompson, who had over 400 yards receiving in 2021, was “nicked up” in the opener per Brohm with his status to be updated later in the week.

Purdue leads the all-time series 5-0, most recently winning 38-14 on Sept. 12, 2015. All five games have been played in West Lafayette.

–Field Level Media

Sep 1, 2022; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) runs to pass the ball while Purdue Boilermakers defensive tackle Lawrence Johnson (90) defends  in the second quarter at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Penn State overtakes Purdue with last-minute TD

Sean Clifford, who passed for four touchdowns and rushed for another, found Keyvone Lee for the go-ahead score with 57 seconds left to lift Penn State to a season-opening, 35-31 win against Purdue on Thursday night in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Nittany Lions (1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) prevailed in a game that had seven lead changes and 832 yards of total offense.

Penn State punctuated an eight-play, 80-yard drive on a 10-yard connection from Clifford to Lee.

Chris Jefferson had given Purdue (0-1, 0-1) a 31-28 advantage with 8:29 to go on a 72-yard interception-return touchdown.

Clifford completed 20 of 37 passes for 282 yards, with one interception. Mitchell Tinsley had seven receptions for 84 yards and a score.

Aidan O’Connell threw for 323 yards and a touchdown on 30-of-59 passing and King Doerue rushed for two scores to keep Purdue afloat.

After the Boilermakers relinquished the lead and momentum late in the second quarter, O’Connell piloted a pair of touchdown drives in the third to give Purdue the advantage. O’Connell hit Charlie Jones, an Iowa transfer, for a 7-yard touchdown with 1:11 left in the third as Purdue grabbed a 24-21 lead.

Clifford vaulted the Nittany Lions to a 21-10 halftime lead, going 8-for-15 for 141 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for 17 yards and another score.

With Purdue driving deep into Penn State territory late in the second quarter, the Nittany Lions forced a fumble from TJ Sheffield that Joey Porter Jr. recovered at the Penn State 18-yard line.

Three plays later, Clifford connected with Brenton Strange for a 67-yard touchdown that saw Strange bounce off a pair of Boilermakers defenders inside the Purdue 45 before dashing down the right side of the field for the score.

The sequence, which ended with two seconds to go in the half, followed Clifford’s 2-yard scoring plunge with 1:44 remaining before halftime. Clifford appeared to take a low hit to the knee on the run but remained in the game, though he later missed Penn State’s first possession of the third quarter. Freshman Drew Allar went 2-for-4 for 26 yards in relief.

Jones had 12 receptions for 153 yards in his Purdue debut. Doerue ran 15 times for 57 yards.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O'Connell (16) throws the ball during a practice, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

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Purdue looks to snap 8-game skid against Penn State

Sure, Purdue transfer wide receiver Charlie Jones knows about the prolific 2021 season of quarterback Aidan O’Connell.

Throwing for 3,712 yards and 28 touchdowns while completing 71.6 percent of your passes stands out whether you shared a conference or not.

Truth is, Jones has been impressed with O’Connell long before he joined the program from Big Ten rival Iowa, considering their history dates to developmental football in suburban Chicago.

Thursday’s season opener between Purdue and visiting Penn State reunites the duo while ideally bolstering a pass-happy Boilermakers attack.

“I came here for the offense,” Jones said. “In the past couple of years, they’ve shown that being a receiver on this type of offense meant a lot of opportunities.

“Also with Aidan, we grew up together and he’s been making big plays since we were in third grade. I came here for that kind of connection, but really just the system.”

O’Connell paced Purdue to a 9-4 finish last fall, including a 48-45 overtime victory against Tennessee in the Liberty Bowl in Nashville. It was a resounding rebound from O’Connell, who started the first three games of 2020 before missing the rest of the season due to injury.

Purdue brings back several offensive contributors. Payne Durham had 45 receptions for 467 yards and six scores last season, while running back King Doerue amassed 533 yards and two touchdowns.

Opponents also should be wary of Jones as a returner. He earned Big Ten Return Specialist of the Year plaudits last season, ranking second nationally with 1,251 all-purpose yards.

Penn State started 2021 with promise, opening the season with a five-game winning streak that included two victories against ranked foes and a No. 4 national ranking of its own. But the Nittany Lions faltered after that, sputtering to a 7-6 finish that included a 24-10 loss to Arkansas in the Outback Bowl.

Quarterback Sean Clifford, who, along with O’Connell enters his sixth collegiate season, is eager to lead Penn State to a more consistent campaign. Clifford had 241 yards of total offense in the bowl game.

“Do I want to make this year special? For sure,” Clifford said. “I want this year to be the biggest, baddest year I’ve had.”

Among the biggest areas of replacement is the offensive line, where Penn State welcomes three new starters. The Nittany Lions averaged a mere 107.8 rushing yards last season, 13th in the Big Ten, and didn’t produce a 100-yard runner in any game.

Penn State’s defense lost its top two tacklers from last season but will rely on returning linebacker Curtis Jacobs to help generate pressure against O’Connell and Co.

This marks the seventh straight season in which Penn State has started conference play on the road. The Nittany Lions have dominated the Boilermakers in the schools’ abridged history, going 15-3-1, including winning the past eight.

Penn State and Purdue are meeting for the first time since 2019 and the third time since 2013.

In the most recent game between the programs, the Nittany Lions thumped the visiting Boilermakers 35-7, relying on a defense that collected 10 sacks while limiting Purdue to 104 total yards, including minus-19 on the ground.

–Field Level Media

Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm during a practice, Friday, March 4, 2022 at Mollenkopf Athletic Center in West Lafayette.

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Purdue coach Jeff Brohm extended through 2027 season

Purdue football coach Jeff Brohm has agreed to a two-year contract extension through the 2027 season.

The extension comes after Brohm guided the Boilermakers to a 9-4 record last season. Purdue recorded two top-five upsets by beating then-No. 2 Iowa in mid-October and then-No. 3 Michigan State in early November.

Financial terms weren’t revealed but the Journal & Courier reported Brohm will earn $5.1 million in guaranteed compensation in 2022 via his base salary, supplemental stipend and a $600,000 retention bonus if he remains the coach on Dec. 31.

“We are excited about the progress we have made over the past five years,” Brohm said in a news release. “We look forward to continuing to build our program into the future. I would like to thank our administration and fans for their support and our players and staff for their hard work and dedication. It is an honor to be the head football coach at Purdue.”

Brohm is 28-29 through five seasons at Purdue. Last season marked his second winning campaign at the school.

The university also announced a $45.4 million renovation of Ross-Ade Stadium on the Purdue campus in West Lafayette, Ind. The initial phase will include construction of the team entrance tunnel and the conversion of the present team store into a student-athlete dining facility.

“These renovations will make a huge difference for our student-athletes and enhance the overall fan experience at Ross-Ade,” Brohm said. “This project will have a positive impact on our program for years to come.”

Purdue opens the 2022 season at home against Penn State on Sept. 1.

–Field Level Media

Purdue wide receiver Broc Thompson (29) catches a pass as Tennessee defensive back De'Shawn Rucker (28) defends at the 2021 Music City Bowl NCAA college football game at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. on Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021.

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Purdue nips Tennessee in OT, wins high-scoring Music City Bowl

Aidan O’Connell threw for 534 yards and five touchdowns and Mitchell Fineran kicked a 38-yard field goal in overtime as Purdue nipped Tennessee 48-45 on Thursday in a thrilling Music City Bowl in Nashville.

In a game where the teams combined for 1,290 total yards, the Boilermakers (9-4) got the last laugh against the Volunteers (7-6) thanks to a dynamic passing attack. O’Connell found Broc Thompson seven times for 217 yards and two touchdowns, while Payne Durham collected five catches for 85 yards and two scores.

Tennessee’s Hendon Hooker matched O’Connell with five TD passes and threw for 378 yards without an interception. Cedric Tillman registered seven catches for 150 yards and three touchdowns, Velus Jones Jr. had 10 catches for 85 yards and a score, and Jabari Small ran for 180 yards and a touchdown for the Volunteers.

Tennessee got the ball first in overtime and went for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1. However, Jaylen Wright was stood up at the goal line and the whistle blew before he was able to reach the ball across. That gave Purdue a chance to win, and Fineran snuck his kick inside the left upright.

The teams combined for four touchdowns in the final five minutes of the fourth quarter.

O’Connell began the wild sequence by throwing a pass to Durham, who spun away from three defenders, stayed inbounds and bolted for a 62-yard touchdown. The duo connected on the ensuing two-point conversion to give the Boilermakers a 38-31 lead.

However, the Volunteers tied it less than 1 1/2 minutes later. Small’s 60-yard run set up Hooker’s TD pass to Tillman on fourth-and-goal from the 13.

That deadlock lasted only 40 seconds, as O’Connell hit Thompson for a 70-yard go-ahead score with 2:57 to play. But Hooker and Princeton Fant quickly hooked up on a 58-yard completion to set up Hooker’s game-tying 2-yard TD strike to Jalin Hyatt with 1:35 remaining.

Each team had one more possession in regulation, but Purdue punted on its trip and Tennessee’s 56-yard field goal came up short.

The Boilermakers led 23-21 at the break before the teams jockeyed back and forth in the third quarter.

Tennessee regained the lead on Jones’ 15-yard catch-and-run, and then O’Connell and TJ Sheffield connected on a stellar 10-yard pitch-and-catch into the end zone to put Purdue back in front, 30-28. Chase McGrath’s 30-yard field goal flipped the scoreboard once again, giving the Volunteers a 31-30 edge at the end of three quarters.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) during the first half against the South Alabama Jaguars at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee, Purdue enter Music City Bowl after late-season success

Tennessee heads west on I-40 to play in front of an expected partisan crowd in Nashville on Dec. 30, when the Volunteers take on Purdue in the Music City Bowl.

The Volunteers (7-5) wrapped up the regular season by winning three of their final four games, with their only loss in that span coming against then-No. 1 Georgia. Tennessee scored at least 45 points in each of its final six victories, and it scored at least 38 points in every win this year.

Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker has enjoyed a splendid season, throwing 26 touchdown passes and only three interceptions. He has completed 69 percent of his passes for 2,567 yards, and he has produced 561 yards and five scores on the ground.

“(He’s a) great leader and I just believe that he is still becoming the best version of himself as a player,” first-year Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said.

Jabari Small (612 yards, eight TDs) highlights the Tennessee backfield contingent, while Cedric Tillman leads the team in catches (57), receiving yards (931) and TD grabs (nine).

On the other side of the ball, linebacker Jeremy Banks had by far the most tackles on the team (108) and ranks third on the squad with 4.5 sacks. Defensive back Alontae Taylor, who nursed a foot injury in recent weeks, is skipping the bowl game to prepare for the NFL draft.

The Volunteers’ secondary would have needed all the help it could get against Boilermakers wideout David Bell, who was named a first-team All-American after posting 1,286 receiving yards — 21 shy of the school record — on 93 receptions. However, Bell decided to skip the bowl game to protect his NFL draft stock.

Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis will sit out the bowl game as well.

“I understand the position they’re in,” Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm said. “With all of our players, we want to communicate what we think. Obviously, they hear other opinions and other sides of the story and then they weigh that and do what’s best for them.

“But we’re gonna support both those guys. They’ve done a tremendous job for us. Great ambassadors of the program, performed at a high level and really have a bright future.”

Aidan O’Connell (73.5 completion percentage, 23 TDs, eight INTs) threw 16 touchdowns and no picks over the past five games, during which Purdue went 4-1. The Boilermakers (8-4) don’t get much help from their rushing attack, as seven of their top eight runners average 4.0 yards per carry or less. Only Bell, with just three carries for 39 yards this season, comes in north of that figure.

Jaylan Alexander leads Purdue with 94 tackles, while Kydran Jenkins has a team-leading five sacks. Karlaftis, who might be a first-round pick in next year’s NFL draft, had 4.5 sacks.

The Volunteers are appearing in the Music City Bowl for the third time. They lost to North Carolina in double overtime in 2010 before defeating Nebraska six years later. That victory over the Cornhuskers is part of Tennessee’s current four-game winning streak in bowl games.

Purdue, meanwhile, has earned only one bowl victory since 2011. The Boilermakers’ most recent bowl appearance came in this event in 2018, when they were trounced by Auburn 63-14.

The only prior matchup between Tennessee and Purdue came in the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl, which the Boilermakers won 27-22.

–Field Level Media

Purdue defensive end DaMarcus Mitchell (15) celebrates a stop during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette.

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Aidan O’Connell throws four TDs as Purdue smashes Indiana

Aidan O’Connell completed 26 of 31 passes for 278 yards and four touchdowns, lifting Purdue to a 44-7 win over rival Indiana in Big Ten play at West Lafayette, Ind.

The Boilermakers (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten) took back the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 2018 behind the passing of O’Connell, who was on point all afternoon. With the win, Purdue achieved its first eight-win season since 2007. Running back Zander Horvath added 15 carries for 49 yards and one touchdown for Purdue.

Indiana (2-10, 0-9), which began the year as No. 17, finished the season with eight straight losses and posted its first winless Big Ten season since 2011. Walk-on Grant Gremel made his first career start at quarterback for Indiana, completing 18 of 30 passes for 147 yards and one interception.

Purdue took the game’s opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on 13 plays, going up 7-0 on a 1-yard TD run by Horvath. O’Connell completed 6 of 7 passes for 56 yards on the drive. Indiana answered with an 11-play, 75-yard drive, capped by a 2-yard scoring run by quarterback Donaven McCulley, to tie the score at 7.

In the second quarter, after a Jaylin Williams 77-yard interception return for a TD for Indiana was wiped out on a pass interference penalty, O’Connell found tight end Paul Piferi on an 18-yard TD pass to put the Boilermakers up 14-7.

Purdue extended its lead to 17-7 on a 32-yard field goal from kicker Mitchell Fineran. Indiana had a chance to cut into Purdue’s lead late in the half, but Charles Campbell’s 40-yard field-goal attempt with two seconds left in the half sailed wide left, allowing the Boilermakers to take a 10-point lead into halftime.

In the third quarter, O’Connell remained hot, completing all four of his pass attempts on a four-play, 51-yard TD drive. O’Connell finished the drive with a 21-yard TD pass to Jackson Anthrop, putting the Boilermakers up 24-7.

O’Connell’s third TD pass, a 5-yard strike to T.J. Sheffield, extended Purdue’s lead to 31-7 with 8:37 left in the third quarter. His fourth TD pass, a 20-yard strike to David Bell, put Purdue up 37-7 while wrapping up an easy win.

–Field Level Media