Coming off of a 9-point victory against Oregon State, the Purdue football team wasn't in need of a get-right game, a term used for an opponent a given team is expected to dominate to recover from a tough loss or generally tough opponent.
But a get-right game is exactly what Purdue (2-0) got when it walked into Hartford, Connecticut to face UConn (0-3) Saturday afternoon. Everyone got in on the fun during the 49-0 affair, Purdue's first shutout victory since Sept. 17, 2011.
Purdue played its fourth-string quarterback for non-injury reasons for the first time in head coach Jeff Brohm's career, and the Boilers just kept scoring. The Boilers threw to 13 different receivers, scored touchdowns with four and averaged 13 yards per catch as a team.
The game saw the debuts of junior quarterback Austin Burton, redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Alaimo and freshman linebacker Yanni Karlaftis during the second half, as well as many other players who hadn't seen the field in a long time.
Old mainstays on the team had banner days in the first half alone, and largely didn't play during the second half. Starting junior quarterback Jack Plummer went 19 for 24 for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Junior wideout David Bell racked up 121 yards and three touchdowns on six receptions. No other receiver got half as many yards over the entire game.
Junior running back King Doerue spearheaded the team's ground game with 12 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown. And junior defensive end George Karlaftis harassed quarterback Steven Krajewski for four solo tackles and a forced fumble in a single half.
The Huskies entered Purdue's red zone once, early in the fourth quarter. After a 12 play, 56-yard drive, the campaign stalled at the Purdue 15-yard line. The Boilermaker defense kept a clean slate after UConn went for the touchdown on fourth down instead of taking the points. Redshirt freshman tackle Damarjhe Lewis hit Krajewski in the middle of his throw to break up the pass and give Purdue its second turnover on downs of the day.
That fourth quarter saw Purdue start to noticeably slow down, as it reached deeper and deeper into the roster for players to test out. The first time Purdue had to punt after an opening-drive three-and-out came after a delay of game penalty backed Purdue up to third and 16 while it was up 49-0 late in the third quarter. It didn't score after that point, not that it mattered.
But Purdue may have paid a high price during its triumph. Fifth year running back Zander Horvath, who had been the engine for the running game last season, left the game on Purdue's second drive with an apparent lower leg injury. He appeared on the bench in a boot in the second quarter, and did not return to the game.
The Boilermakers return to the field Saturday afternoon against No. 8 Notre Dame in South Bend for the revival of the Shillelagh Trophy rivalry game. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and will air on NBC.
• Payne Durham pulled down a touchdown in his second straight game.
• Plummer's four touchdown tosses were the most by a Purdue quarterback since Elijah Sindelar's five against Vanderbilt in 2019.
• Purdue is now 2-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006-07.
• Branson Deen picked up his first career forced fumble.
• Purdue's 49 points were the most since the win against No. 2 Ohio State in 2018.
– Purdue Athletics contributed to this report.