Purdue had two golden opportunities to score from the Indiana State 1-yard line in the second quarter, but got only three points out of the two drives in Saturday’s 20-14 victory over the Sycamores.
“We just have to execute like we do in practice and stay focused,” running back Akeem Hunt said, who ran for 82 yards on 22 carries. “No excuses.”
The Boilermakers had 1st & Goal at the Indiana State 1-yard line after a 7-yard run from running back Dalyn Dawkins. On the ensuing two plays, Dawkins was stopped for no gain. Henry’s third-down pass intended for tight end Justin Sinz fell incomplete with heavy pressure coming from the perimeter. The Boilers settled for an 18-yard field goal from Paul Griggs.
Purdue once against had four plays to go one yard after Hunt caught a screen pass and it took 25 yards to the 1-yard line. The Boilermakers were stopped on three consecutive plays, and the first half clock ran out before Purdue’s field goal unit could take the field.
“That was very disappointing that we weren’t able to punch it in, especially with our offensive line you have some veterans up there,” head coach Darrell Hazell said. We have to do a much better job inside the red zone, period, especially inside the 5-yard line … They’re going to go away there if we punch it in a couple times. We didn’t. h
Purdue’s only touchdown in the first half came from a trick play on the opening kickoff. B.J. Knauf caught the kickoff near the right hash and ran for 10 yards before lateralling the ball to Hunt, who took it 99 yards down the left sideline for his second career kickoff return for a touchdown.
Hazell said that he saw on film the widest player on Indiana State’s kickoff unit folded over, and the second player from the end would squeeze to the inside.
“We felt if we could get the ball rolling to our right, we could get back around to the left side and there wouldn’t be anybody there,” Hazell said. “It was set up pretty nicely.”
Hunt said the play was executed just like it was in practice all week.
“We had a drawn script for the scout guys and they ran it just like Indiana State ran it,” Hunt said. “It worked out right. I came off the edge and there was nobody there.”
Another big interception
Ricardo Allen’s eighth career interception derailed Indiana State’s attempt to upset Purdue with 19 seconds remaining. Facing a 2nd & 5 at the Purdue 36-yard line, Sycamore quarterback Mike Perish attempted to connect on a short pass to pick up the first down. Allen jumped the route and made the diving grab to halt the Sycamore drive.
“Every time we would blitz from the boundary, they would go to a hot check,” Allen said. “We set up the blitz, we gave them a blitz from the field the first play, and he threw it there and our coaches called it out. He told me to make the play.”
Run defense improvements
A week after allowing 221 yards on the ground to Cincinnati, Purdue limited Indiana State to 39 yards on 22 carries Saturday afternoon.
“We just did our job,” middle linebacker Joe Gilliam said, who had five tackles and two pass breakups. “Coaches tell us to go out there every week and do our job. You don’t have to worry about anybody else, just do your part. Be one of 11 on the defense. “
The Sycamores played without Preseason FCS All-American Shakir Bell, who suffered a shoulder injury last Thursday against Indiana.
Safety Landon Feichter was carted off the field Saturday after suffering a leg injury in the first quarter. Feichter returned to the sideline wearing a boot. Last season, he led Purdue in tackles (80) and interceptions (4).
Anthony Brown replaced Feichter and finished with four tackles, including one for a loss.
Hazell said he had not yet talked to the training staff about the extent of Feichter’s injuy. Hazell mentioned Feichter’s younger brother, Evan Feichter, as another player who could see increased playing.
“You get thin with your depth,” Hazell said. “We’ll figure it out. That’s part of the game. You have to learn to keep going forward when you lose guys.”