Despite intense rain, spectators donned ponchos and rain jackets to support the football team during its matchup with the University of Illinois.
Approximately 58,735 fans attended the game, according to ESPN, which just exceeds stadium capacity at 57,282. In spite of the strong turnout, Purdue ultimately lost to Illinois 24-6.
The Boilermakers (2-6, 1-4 Big Ten) could not score until late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Aidan O’Connell found redshirt freshman Payne Durham on an 11-yard pass. Instead of kicking a field goal for an extra point, Purdue gambled and lost a 2-point conversion.
“It’s good we got in the end zone and we did some good things on the drive, but at the end of the day, we didn’t win,” O’Connell said.
With both teams unable to pass the ball effectively due to the rain, the Boilermakers and the Fighting Illini (4-4, 2-3) were limited to running the ball in order to gain yards. Purdue trailed behind in rushing with only 135 net yards.
“The conditions made it a little tougher to throw, without question. And when we did, we dropped it at receiver, we dropped it at running back,” head coach Jeff Brohm said.
Out of 27 drives, 17 ended in a punt. Purdue had an average of 36.1 yards per punt. Unfortunately for Purdue, the rain made the field and the ball far more slippery, causing difficulties for the special teams.
While the Boilermakers struggled, freshman defensive end George Karlaftis shined through the rain. The West Lafayette native earned his sixth sack of the season and logged the only sack for Purdue for the game.
“(Karlaftis) has been outstanding all year. He gives everything he has and we need to get better around him,” Brohm said.
After this game, the Boilermakers can only afford one more loss before becoming ineligible for a bowl game. With Nebraska and Wisconsin looming on the horizon, it seems the Boilermakers may have a hard time advancing this season.