Illinois Fighting Illini punter Hugh Robertson (19) and Illinois Fighting Illini place kicker Caleb Griffin (5) practice kicking ahead of the NCAA football game against the Purdue Boilermakers, Saturday, Sept. 30, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Hudson Card helps Purdue outclass Illinois

Hudson Card went 18-of-26 passing for 217 yards and two touchdowns to lead Purdue to a 44-19 win over Illinois in a Big Ten contest on Saturday at West Lafayette, Ind.

Tyrone Tracy Jr. rushed for 112 yards on 21 carries for Purdue (2-3, 1-1 Big Ten), which won its first home game in four tries this year.

Luke Altmyer went 16-of-25 passing for 202 yards and a touchdown in defeat for Illinois (2-3, 0-2).

Leading 16-13 at halftime, Purdue blew the game open by scoring three touchdowns in the third quarter.

Purdue took a 23-13 lead with 9:59 remaining in the third on a 33-yard touchdown pass from Card to Garrett Miller.

Devin Mockobee scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 3:41 to go in the third to make it 30-13, and then Card hit Deion Burks for a 10-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds remaining in the quarter to give Purdue a 37-13 lead.

Illinois drew closer, cutting its deficit to 37-19 with 6:27 remaining on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Altmyer to Pat Bryant.

Tracy then scored on a 1-yard touchdown run 1:58 left to cap off the scoring.

With 5:48 remaining in the first quarter, Purdue took a 6-3 lead when defensive lineman Malik Langham recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

The fumble was caused after defensive back Markevious Brown came in on a blitz, sacked Altmyer at the Illinois 1-yard line and forced the ball loose. The extra point failed.

The Fighting Illini took a 10-6 lead with 7:52 remaining in the second quarter on a 7-yard touchdown run by Josh McCray, which capped off a 5-play, 80-yard drive.

Purdue regained the lead at 13-10 with 5:46 remaining until halftime on a 16-yard touchdown run by Dylan Downing to finish off a seven-play, 73-yard drive.

Purdue’s Julio Macias (from 40 yards) and Illinois’ Caleb Griffin (53) traded field goals in the final 30 seconds to make it 16-13 Purdue at halftime.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) hands the ball off to Purdue Boilermakers running back Devin Mockobee (45) during the NCAA football game against the Syracuse Orange, Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purdue, still seeking home win, prepare for division rival Illinois

There should be more familiarity than usual between Illinois and Purdue when the teams meet for a Big Ten contest on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.

First-year Purdue head coach Ryan Walters was hired to head the Boilermakers program after working as the defensive coordinator under Illinois head coach Bret Bielema.

“There is still a lot of familiarity,” Walters said. “Like, I can tell what I’m seeing on tape, and obviously I got to go against (Illinois offensive coordinator Barry) Lunney every day in practice for a spring and a fall. So there are similarities there, and also a lot of new faces in that program as well that I wasn’t there for.”

Purdue (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten) has lost all three of its home games so far this year.

The Boilermakers are coming off a 38-17 loss to Wisconsin last Friday. Hudson Card went 21-for-38 passing for 202 yards and threw two interceptions for Purdue.

Defense has been the biggest problem for Purdue, which has given up more than 35 points in each of its defeats.

Illinois (2-2, 0-1) is coming off a 23-17 home win last week over Florida Atlantic.

The Fighting Illini have some payback on their minds, given a home loss to Purdue last year cost Illinois a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

The win over Florida Atlantic might have been a good step forward for starting quarterback Luke Altmyer, who threw for 303 yards and a touchdown after struggling the first three games of the season.

Overall, Bielema said he likes the position his team is in as it faces its first Big Ten West opponent.

“I think we got a lot of depth,” Bielema said. “I don’t know if anything’s going to be pretty, but this group is going to play tough and gritty football.”

Purdue has dominated the series between the teams of late. The Boilermakers have won three in a row, six of the last seven and nine of the last 12 games over the Fighting Illini.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Madison, Wisconsin, USA;  Wisconsin Badgers running back Braelon Allen (0) rushes for a touchdown during the third quarter against the Georgia Southern Eagles at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin shoots to stretch streak to 17 over Purdue

First-year Purdue coach Ryan Walters dove into a self-scouting assignment ahead of the Boilermakers’ opening Big Ten assignment, a Friday night home game against Wisconsin in West Lafayette, Ind.

First-year Wisconsin coach Luke Fickell believes the Badgers (2-1) are ready to peak, pointing to a furious rally from down 14-7 on their home field in the third quarter to Georgia Southern. The Badgers punched in four second-half touchdowns and won 35-21.

“Rome wasn’t built in three weeks, but we’re hoping that Madison was built a little bit different right now in the first three weeks,” Fickell said.

Fickell has a few things to fall back on, even as he’s still getting familiar with Madison. For starters, Wisconsin has 16 consecutive wins over Purdue. The last time the Boilermakers knocked off Wisconsin in West Lafayette, Ind., an undersized freshman quarterback named Drew Brees was a backup (1997).

Based on what Walters saw in his self-assessment, the 2023 Boilermakers (1-2) have two glaring issues they hope to erase in this primetime matchup: turnovers and pass defense.

“No need to push the panic button now, but definitely need to continue to grow and improve, which I think this team will do as the year goes on,” Walters said.

Purdue quarterback Hudson Card committed four turnovers (three fumbles) last week in a 15-point loss at Ross-Ade Stadium to Syracuse. Walters said he’s not considering a change at that position. Card, who passed for 323 yards in the loss to the Orange, knows killing the giveaways is a must for Purdue to contend against the Badgers and their Big Ten brethren.

“I feel like he’s been poised under pressure. He doesn’t really get rattled. He has great arm talent and is athletic enough to get you out of some situations and make plays,” Walters said. “I think he’s becoming comfortable with his receiving corps and they’re comfortable with him, so I think that we would all be feeling a lot different right now if we didn’t have the turnovers we had when we had them.”

Wisconsin wants to get running back Braelon Allen going as he acclimates to a more diverse role with increased receiving responsibilities in the new Badgers’ scheme. Allen rushed for 94 yards and two scores last week, when he was a game-time decision vs. Georgia Southern. Chez Mellusi started and rushed for 61 yards and a TD on 15 carries.

Considering that UW quarterback Tanner Mordecai can move and Purdue was ripped for four rushing touchdowns by Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader (195 rushing yards, 184 passing last week), Wisconsin might look more like a throwback Badgers’ power offense this week.

“It’s contagious when everyone does their job,” Mordecai said.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Hudson Card (1) passes the ball during the NCAA football game against the Syracuse Orange, Wednesday, July 12, 2023, at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.

Garrett Shrader’s four rushing TDs propel Syracuse past Purdue

Garrett Shrader ran for 195 yards and four touchdowns as Syracuse notched a 35-20 road win over Purdue on Saturday night in West Lafayette, Ind.

Shrader (14 of 28, 184 yards, INT) did the bulk of his damage on the ground for the Orange (3-0), setting a school record for rushing TDs by a quarterback. LeQuint Allen racked up 142 total yards and a score in a complementary effort.

Purdue (1-2) fumbled seven times (losing three), threw an interception and turned the ball over on downs three times, including once with five minutes left as Syracuse stuffed a run on third-and-short and broke up a pass on fourth down in a one-possession game.

Three plays later, Shrader was sprinting into the end zone from 28 yards out, sealing Purdue’s fate.

The Boilermakers’ Hudson Card finished 32 of 46 for 323 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen caught 10 passes for 114 yards to pace Purdue.

Syracuse’s defense set the tone early, stopping Purdue on fourth-and-1 from the 5 on the hosts’ opening possession. The Orange then drove 94 yards, capped by Shrader’s 3-yard run for a 7-0 edge.

The Boilermakers were back in Orange territory late in the first quarter until Marlowe Wax sacked Card, forcing a fumble that Terry Lockett recovered. Six plays later, Syracuse was back in the end zone as Shrader scored on a 35-yard run.

The Orange carried a 14-point lead into halftime, thanks to Allen’s 2-yard run that gave them a 21-7 advantage at the break.

The Boilermakers began to chip away in the third quarter, getting within 21-14 on Card’s 5-yard TD scramble with 4:28 left in the period. However, the Orange restored a two-touchdown advantage as Shrader scored his third TD of the game, this time on a 1-yard plunge on the first play of the fourth quarter.

Purdue kept fighting in the form of a 14-play drive that covered 75 yards, the final yard coming on Tyrone Tracy’s touchdown run with 8:38 to play. However, Ben Freehill hooked the extra point attempt, leaving the Boilermakers with a 28-20 deficit.

–Field Level Media

Jaguars players (from left) Eugene Monroe, Uche Nwaneri and Marcedes Lewis model variations of the Jaguars' new uniforms on April 23, 2013.

Ex-Jaguars OL Uche Nwaneri dies at 38

Former Jacksonville Jaguars and Purdue guard Uche Nwaneri died at 38 in West Lafayette, Ind.

The Jaguars announced his death on Monday.

Carrie Costello, the coroner of Tippecanoe County, told the Lafayette Journal & Courier that preliminary autopsy results indicated no foul play was involved in his death and that he could have suffered a heart attack, although toxicology results are pending.

The publication said Nwaneri drove from Georgia to his wife’s home in Indiana, where she found him, collapsed, about 1 a.m. Friday.

The Jaguars selected Nwaneri in the fifth round (149th overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft. Following his rookie season, he earned a spot on the starting offensive line. He started 92 of the 104 games he played with the Jaguars until his release in March 2014.

He went on to begin a YouTube channel, “The Observant Lineman,” on which he and former players analyzed game tape. His most recent show was uploaded two weeks ago.

–Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2023; Orlando, FL, USA; LSU Tigers running back Noah Cain (21) rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the Purdue Boilermakers at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 LSU pounds Purdue 63-7 in Citrus Bowl blowout

Noah Cain ran for two touchdowns, Garrett Nussmeier came off the bench to throw two touchdown passes and No. 17 LSU routed Purdue 63-7 in the Citrus Bowl on Monday in Orlando, Fla.

Jayden Daniels passed for 139 yards and a touchdown in addition to catching a touchdown pass from wideout Malik Nabers, who had nine catches for 163 yards and a touchdown. John Emery Jr. and Derrick Davis Jr. each had a touchdown run and Mason Taylor and Brian Thomas Jr. each added a touchdown catch for the Tigers (10-4).

Both teams played without several key players who opted out and Purdue (8-6) was especially hampered by the absence of quarterback Aidan O’Connell, receiver Charlie Jones and tight end Payne Durham.

Austin Burton replaced O’Connell and completed 12 of 24 passes for 74 yards with an interception before being replaced by Michael Alaimo, whose 16-yard touchdown pass to TJ Sheffield in the fourth quarter produced the Boilermakers’ points.

LSU scored touchdowns on five consecutive first-half possessions and increased its lead to 42-0 on its first possession of the third quarter when Nabers threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Daniels.

Nabers grabbed a shovel pass from Nussmeier and sprinted 75 yards for a touchdown and a 49-0 lead at the end of the period.

Alaimo’s touchdown pass came on the second play of the fourth quarter and was followed by Davis’ 12-yard run and Quad Wilson’s 99-yard interception return that completed the scoring with 40 seconds remaining.

That enabled the Tigers to tie the school record for points in a postseason game, set against Oklahoma in a 2019 CFP semifinal at the Peach Bowl.

Emery ran 1 yard for a touchdown and Cain’s 9-yard run gave the Tigers a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Daniels threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Taylor early in the second quarter to produce a 21-0 lead.

Cain ran 9 yards for a score and LSU made it five consecutive possessions that produced TDs when Nussmeier threw a 10-yard pass to Thomas for a 35-0 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2021; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees stands on the sidelines before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Buffalo Bills at the Caesars Superdome. Brees is b being honored at half-time of the game that he is also announcing for NBC. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Report: N.J. halts Citrus Bowl bets due to Purdue hiring Drew Brees

Gaming regulators in New Jersey have taken the Citrus Bowl off the board because Purdue hiring Drew Brees as an interim assistant coach caused a violation of the state’s regulations, ESPN reported Friday.

The New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement announced that “an individual associated with the Purdue Football team” was in violation of its regulations. ESPN reported that individual was Brees, the former New Orleans Saints quarterback, who had a business relationship with sportsbook PointsBet.

Wagers placed by New Jersey bettors after Dec. 15 — the day Brees was named an interim assistant — must be voided, per the regulatory body’s ruling.

PointsBet announced on Dec. 22 that it was ending its “ambassador partnership agreement” with Brees after his decision to join the coaching staff at his alma mater.

The Citrus Bowl will see Purdue take on No. 17 LSU on Monday afternoon.

Brian Brohm is serving as the interim head coach for the Boilermakers on Monday after his brother, Jeff Brohm, left the post to take the same position at his alma mater, Louisville.

–Field Level Media

Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Brady Allen (18) throws the ball during a practice, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022, at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.

Purduefootball080222 Am9841

Purdue QB Brady Allen enters transfer portal

Brady Allen, expected to compete for Purdue’s starting quarterback job in 2023, said Monday he is entering the transfer portal.

A four-star recruit in the Class of 2022, Allen is an Indiana native who starred at Gibson Southern High School. The 247Sports composite ranked him as the No. 10 quarterback in the class.

Allen played behind seniors Aidan O’Connell and primary backup Austin Burton in the 2022 season and saw limited playing time, completing 1 of 3 pass attempts for 8 yards.

He will have four years of eligibility remaining.

“It’s been an awesome experience wearing the black and gold,” Allen posted to Twitter. “I am thankful for the relationships and memories I’ve made over the last year. I made a decision to attend Purdue University, and represent our home state over three years ago. It was a decision that I put a lot of time and effort into. A decision that I never swayed from. However, sometimes the best plans don’t work out, and you have to deviate from them to do what’s best for your future. After many thoughts and prayers I’ve decided to enter my name in the transfer portal.”

New head coach Ryan Walters and offensive coordinator Graham Harrell are expected to turn to the transfer portal to find a quarterback.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly reacts towards the fans after being defeated by the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC Championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Without best players, No. 17 LSU, Purdue look to adjust in Citrus Bowl

Brian Kelly understands Ryan Walters’ situation.

It was just over a year ago that Kelly had just been hired as LSU head coach and watched a depleted team that he was about to take over lose to Kansas State in the Texas Bowl.

Now Kelly’s No. 17 Tigers are the opponent for the recently hired Walters and a depleted Purdue team in the Citrus Bowl on Monday in Orlando, Fla.

Kelly watched offensive line coach Brad Davis serve as interim head coach and coach a team with just 38 scholarship players and a wide receiver playing quarterback in the 42-20 loss to the Wildcats.

Purdue (8-5) has seen several key players opt out as Walters ascends from Illinois defensive coordinator to succeed Jeff Brohm, who left to become head coach at Louisville.

“They’re playing LSU and they’re going to play hard,” Kelly said of the Boilermakers. “They’re going to play for four quarters. They’re a Big Ten team. They’ve got scholarship players.”

Kelly hasn’t avoided key departures this season either. LSU (9-4) will be without starting defensive linemen BJ Ojulari, Ali Gaye and Jaquelin Roy, who have opted out to focus on the NFL Draft, as well as a handful of players who have entered the transfer portal.

“Our focus has been much more on what we do and how we do it, and our preparation, more so than really concerning ourselves with what Purdue’s situation is,” Kelly said.

Purdue’s situation has Walters mostly watching bowl preparations just as Kelly did last January. The Boilermakers will be coached by Brohm’s younger brother Brian before he leaves to become offensive coordinator at Louisville. Three other assistants already have moved on to Louisville.

“It provides opportunities for other guys to show up and show everybody what they’ve got,” Brian Brohm said. “This is the Citrus Bowl, ranked opponent, SEC, played in SEC championship game.

“The ones that have been playing are excited to have this opportunity. The guys that might get a bigger role because somebody else stepped away, they’re chomping at the bit to show what they can do.”

Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell, record-setting receiver Charlie Jones, tight end Payne Durham and defensive leaders in cornerback Cory Trice and linebacker Jalen Graham opted out of the game to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Jones and Durham were First-Team All-Big Ten selections, and O’Connell was a second-team selection.

Austin Burton will make his second start of the season at quarterback. He completed 21 of 29 passes for 166 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in a 28-26 win over FAU on Sept. 24. Michael Alaimo will be the backup quarterback.

Former New Orleans Saints star quarterback Drew Brees has temporarily returned to his alma mater to prepare the quarterbacks for the bowl game.

“He’s (Burton) chomping at the bit to get out there and lead these guys,” Brian Brohm said of Burton. “I anticipate trying to get (Alaimo) in the game in some form or fashion.”

This is the first time LSU and Purdue have played each other in a football game.

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees on the sidelines in the first quarter of the game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams at the Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Drew Brees hired by Purdue as interim assistant coach

Former NFL and Purdue quarterback Drew Brees will serve as an interim assistant coach for his alma mater’s Citrus Bowl game against LSU.

Brees will aid the Boilermakers (8-5) in preparation for the Jan. 2 game and also participate in recruiting activities, per Purdue’s news release on Thursday.

“Purdue University is fortunate to have alumni who are impactful leaders in industries and careers across a wide spectrum, including professional football,” said Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski.

“For more than two decades, Drew Brees has shown the world what makes the Boilermakers special. He was an elite football player, but most of all, Drew is an extraordinary leader. Gaining his insights on the football field and in our coaching offices during this time of transition will be of great value to our student-athletes and staff.”

Purdue hired Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters as its new head coach on Tuesday.

This is the first head coaching job for Walters, 36, who was named college football’s top assistant coach in 2022. He has been with the Illini for two seasons following a six-year tenure on the Missouri coaching staff, the last two as the Tigers’ defensive coordinator.

“I am extremely excited to work with our team over the next few weeks as we prepare for the Citrus Bowl,” Brees said in a statement. “I see it not only as an opportunity to coach and mentor this group of young men, but represent all the former Purdue players that care so much about our program.

“This is also preparation for the future of Purdue Football with new head coach Ryan Walters. I had a great conversation with Coach Walters last night, and love the energy, passion and detail he will bring to our program. The future is bright, and there is no better time to be a Boilermaker!”

Brees and Walters may have their work cut out for them. ESPN reported that Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will announce Thursday that he is skipping the Citrus Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.

The 6-foot-3 senior completed 64.1 percent of his passes for 3,490 yards with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in 12 games this season, leading the Boilermakers to the Big Ten West division title.

“When I first heard about Drew coming back to help coach our guys for the bowl game, I was hoping the rumors were true,” Walters said. “Our players have the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest leaders in football history, a valuable experience that they will never forget. Drew taking time out of his busy schedule to coach the bowl game is a perfect example of Purdue Football being one big family, and I cannot wait to see him on the sidelines in Orlando.”

Walters received a five-year contract and replaces Jeff Brohm, who left last week to become the head coach after six seasons and a 70-36 record in West Lafayette, Ind.

Brees, 43, retired following the 2020 season — his 20th in the NFL. He threw for 80,358 yards and 571 touchdowns — second only to Tom Brady in both categories — for the San Diego Chargers and New Orleans Saints. A 13-time Pro Bowl selection, he led the Saints to a win in Super Bowl XLIV.

Brees played quarterback at Purdue from 1997 to 2000, winning the Maxwell Award.

–Field Level Media