9/4/21 Oregon State, Zander Horvath

Fifth-year running back Zander Horvath scores Purdue's first touchdown of the season Saturday night in Ross-Ade Stadium. 

The energy at Ross-Ade Stadium ran high as eager Purdue fans filled the stands for the football season opener against the Oregon State Beavers. 

One hour before kickoff, the student section and the Ross-Ade Brigade packed the stands for the first game open to fans since the Old Oaken Bucket matchup in 2019. Thousands of fans were spotted lining up outside the gates minutes before kickoff, their game experiences delayed by an updated mask policy and a new digital ticketing system.

A Lafayette police officer staffing the game said the athletics department had oversold student section tickets by about 5,000. He was refusing re-entry to students returning to the Ross-Ade Brigade seating from concessions or bathroom breaks, and sending students to less-populated sections of the stadium.

A Purdue spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation on the officer's report.

At the half, the energy had been heightened by a 13-7 Boilermaker lead, built on solid defensive play and a grinding offensive push.

Both sides started off stagnant, failing to find an early rhythm and exiting their first drives with a 3-and-out. OSU found a way to break past Purdue’s experienced secondary in their second drive, leading to a 9-yard touchdown from running back B.J. Baylor with 10 minutes left in the first quarter.

Purdue countered as junior quarterback Jack Plummer completed a 42-yard pass to junior wide receiver David Bell. Though the drive ended with back-to-back penalty calls in the end zone, freshman punter Jack Ansell and Purdue’s special teams sent the Ross-Ade crowd into an uproar with a punt pinned at the 1-yard line.

The smoke of Ross-Ade’s fireworks mixed with the foggy weather provided a cloudy environment as the floodlights shone down on Rohrman Field. Fifth year senior Zander Horvath rushed straight up the middle to score the Boilermaker’s first touchdown of the season with three minutes remaining in the first quarter to tie the game.

The second quarter was defined by defense, as both sides found ways to lock down opposing passing attacks. Just two drives, highlighted by a Purdue 47-yard grinding march capped off by a field goal, went for more than 29 yards and six plays.

Graduate student Mitchell Fineran completed the 48-yard field goal to push the score to 10-7.

An overturned play resulted in an incomplete pass by Plummer to fifth-year wide receiver Jackson Anthrop as he dove into the end zone. Fineran rounded out the half with a 39-yard field goal with six seconds left on the clock.

This marks the 98th season and the 500th game played in Ross-Ade since it opened in 1924. The Boilermakers open the 2021 season with a record of 289-197-13, according to Purdue Athletics.

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