After last week's unexpected road loss to Nevada, the Boilermakers returned home to Ross-Ade Stadium looking to capture their first victory of the season against the Vanderbilt Commodores, winning 42-24.
The dominant defense that Purdue (1-1) showed for the first three-quarters of Week 1 returned even stronger. The Boilers were quick to the ball and were able to consistently put pressure on the quarterback, forcing a quick three-and-out from Vanderbilt on its first two drives.
Early on, Purdue's high-octane offense was unable to enjoy the same success as the defense. After two possessions, the Boilers had yet to gain a single first down and struggled to move the chains.
Seeing its opponent score seemed to light a fire under the Purdue offense, and the Boilers quickly marched down the field in seven plays to tie up the game. Freshman receiver Amad Anderson got things started with a 24-yard reception.
After that pass, Purdue's fifth-year quarterback, Elijah Sindelar, seemed to find his rhythm. He targeted four different receivers en route to his first touchdown of the game on a pass to senior tight end Brycen Hopkins.
Sindelar became the 18th Purdue quarterback to throw for 3,000 career yards. He continued to spread the wealth on his next drive, finding redshirt freshman Payne Durham for his first career reception.
After Durham's reception, the Purdue offense once again began to stall. The team was able to move the ball from the 2-yard line, but the offense just seemed to be out of sync. Due to injury, the Boilers' run game was nearly nonexistent, and combined with a few dropped passes, it became hard for Purdue gain yards. Almost half of the yardage of possession came from penalty.
Purdue lost its edge but quickly bounced back.
This is how we win 😤. pic.twitter.com/RoL1Kx1Kjf— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) September 7, 2019
The defense continued to battle, and the offense was able to improve midway through the second quarter. Highly touted freshman receiver David Bell made a big play, bringing down a ball while being double covered, which pumped fresh life into the Boilers. They finished that drive with a touchdown catch from Durham, the first of his career.
With that score, Purdue eclipsed its first lead of the game and put itself in position to enter the halftime break with a lead. Vanderbilt was able to cut the lead with a field goal, but the Boilermakers ended the half with a 14-10 lead.
Purdue continued its aerial attack to start the second half as Sindelar and junior receiver Jared Sparks connected on a 50-yard touchdown pass.
The defense got the ball right back, coming away with their first takeaway of the season thanks to sophomore cornerback Dedrick Mackey.
The offense began to get into a flow that hadn't been seen from them all game. Purdue is at its best when it plays with pace, and once the offense gets going, it's hard to slow down.
"It makes it a little hard on us, but as a defense, they got to get all their calls in from the sideline. That really puts them at a disadvantage," Hopkins said. "Coach (Jeff) Brohm utilizes (pace) as head coach very well."
Even after a redzone interception, the very next time Purdue gained possession, Sindelar led the team down the field and threw another dart to Hopkins for a touchdown.
"Its been an emphasis this year to get our tight ends the ball, especially Brycen Hopkins," Brohm said.
Once the Boilers got a head of steam, they never looked back as the defense took care of business and so did the offense. The Commodores were able to score again after a bad punt gave them phenomenal field position, but Purdue once again responded with a touchdown, this time on a 35-yard pass to sophomore receiver Rondale Moore.
Purdue remained the front-runner, but after the fourth-quarter collapse against Nevada, each time Vanderbilt made a big play, a hint of deja-vu seemed to sweep through the stadium. The Boilermaker offense continued to flow. After a near safety, Sindelar was able to find Moore and connect on a 65-yard dime that led to a touchdown the very next play.
That catch set Moore's new career-high for receptions in a game. He had 13 on the day with 220 yards and a touchdown.
"We're fortunate and lucky to have him on our team," Brohm said.
Sindelar also set a career record of his own for passing yards in a game, with 509. He threw five touchdowns to four different receivers. The last time a Boilermaker threw for 500 yards in a single game was David Blough's Big Ten record-setting performance against Missouri last year.
LETS 👏GO 👏See you next weekend vs. TCU. pic.twitter.com/UZRM0dS7mp— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) September 7, 2019
The Boilermakers return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 14, hosting TCU.
HEAD COACH JEFF BROHM
• is now 44-24 in his sixth year as a head coach.
• is now 14-14 in his third year at Purdue.
• is now 5-1 in home openers as a head coach.
• is now 2-1 in home openers at Purdue.
• is now 3-5 against members of the SEC.
• is now 2-1 against Vanderbilt.
... defeated Vanderbilt, 14-12, on Sept. 3, 2015 (at WKU).
... lost to Vanderbilt, 31-30, on Sept. 24, 2016 (at WKU).
• is now 604-564-48 all-time.
• is now 90-37-4 in home openers all-time.
... Purdue has won 15 of its last 16 home openers dating to the 2004 season (lone loss last year vs. Northwestern).
• is now 1-2 vs. Vanderbilt.
• is now 13-9 all-time against current members of the SEC.
• Today's crowd of 50,506 is the largest home-opening crowd since 2008 vs. Northern Colorado (51,476).
• Purdue scored 30 or more points in the first two games of the season for the first time since 2015.
• Purdue's 31 yards rushing were its fewest in a win since having 31 against Ohio State on Oct. 28, 2000 (W, 28-24).
• Since 1997, Purdue is now just 4-29 when having fewer than 40 yards of offense.
• Purdue's 509 yards passing tied for the sixth most in a game in school history. It was the third most in a non-conference game in school history.
• Purdue's 42 points were its most points ever scored against current members of the SEC (22 games).
• Purdue had 11 completions of 20 or more yards.
• Purdue's 24 first downs through the air are the most since having 25 against Central Michigan on Dec. 26, 2006.
• Today's game marked the first since Oct. 2, 2004, against Notre Dame, that both teams threw for over 400 yards (Purdue 509; Notre Dame 420).
... became the 18th player in school history with over 3,000 career yards passing, now ranking 14th (3,479).
... moved into 13th in career completions (295).
... moved into T-10th in career touchdown passes (29).
... became the first Purdue quarterback with five or more touchdown passes and 500 yards in a game since Kyle Orton against Indiana (522 yards, 6 TDs) on Nov. 20, 2004.
... became tied for the sixth most yards passing in Purdue history with 519 yards.
... became the first Purdue quarterback with consecutive games of 4-plus touchdown passes since Curtis Painter in September 2007 (Eastern Illinois & Toledo).
... became the first player with at least 30 completions in consecutive games since Brandon Kirsch in October 2005 (vs. Northwestern and Iowa).
... became the first player since Drew Brees in October 1998 (vs. Minnesota and Wisconsin) to throw for 400 yards in consecutive games.
... became tied for the second most passing touchdowns in the first two games of the season by a Big Ten quarterback since at least 2000 with his 9 touchdowns (Curtis Painter in 2007 - 10; Dwayne Haskins in 2018 - 9; Kyle Orton in 2004 - 9).
... set the Purdue record for the most yards passing in the season's first two games with 942 yards.
... set a career best in receptions (13) and receiving yards (220), becoming the first Purdue player since at least 2000 to reach those marks.
... has the record for the third-most receiving yards in school history with 220 yards (Chris Daniels in Oct. 1999 - 301; Selwyn Lymon in Sept. 2006 - 238).
... having played just 15 games, is now tied for 18th in Purdue history for career receptions (138).
... became the first Purdue player since at least 1997 with double-digit catches in four straight games. He leads the country's active players in games with double-digit receptions (9).
... moved into fourth place in Purdue history for 100-yard receiving games (9).
... now has two games with at least 250 all-purpose yards, the first player since at least 1997 with multiple games of 250 or more all-purpose yards (had 279 today).
... moved into 15th place on the school's career touchdown receptions list (14).
... has 12 career touchdown receptions after TD receptions in the first and third quarters.
... has 12 touchdown catches, the fourth most in school history by a tight end.
... had his second two-touchdown game in his career (vs. Iowa on Oct. 16, 2015).
... moved into 14th place on the school's career sacks list with 13.0.
... moved into 14th place on the school's career tackles list with 326.
... scored his first career touchdown with a 2-yard reception from Sindelar in the second quarter. He became the first freshman tight end to score since Brycen Hopkins in 2016.
... scored his first career touchdown with a 50-yard reception on Purdue's first drive of the second half. It came on his 51st career reception.
... recorded Purdue's first takeaway of the season with a third-quarter interception. It was his first career interception.
– Purdue Athletics Communications contributed to this report.