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Boilers steam roll EMU, 54-16

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It took awhile, but Purdue finally got going and coasted to a 54-16 win over Eastern Michigan, Saturday, at Ross-Ade Stadium.

“Even though we didn’t play our best, we beat them like we were supposed to,” said Boilermakers head coach Danny Hope.  “I was pleased that we could get up to some rough sledding early, but still come away with a large margin of victory.”

The Eagles drew within four, 13-9, halfway through the second quarter, but the Boilers put together scoring drives on four of its next five possessions to take command.

Caleb TerBush (16-25, 159, 2TD, INT) threw a shovel pass to Akeem Hunt that went for a 50-yard touchdown and capped off a 99-yard drive.

On the ensuing drive, after EMU elected to punt on fourth and one at midfield, the Boilers went 95 yards for a score.  Brandon Cottom (2 carries, 95 yards) broke several tackles on an 87-yard touchdown, the first of his career and fourth longest scoring run in Boilermakers history.

“I was running as fast as I could. I was looking back to make sure nobody was there, but I was running as fast as I could,” said Cottom, who tore his ACL last season.  “I was actually looking for corners, but I didn’t know where anybody was at.  I just ran.”

Purdue put the finishing touches on ensuring the blowout with a two-yard touchdown run by TerBush with nine seconds left in quarter to take a 33-9 into halftime.  The score was set up by Josh Johnson intercepting Eagles’ quarterback Alex Gillette at the EMU 33 yard line.

“I was guarding my guy and I saw the guy coming across the field and saw the quarterback staring him down, so I just kind of sat on it and I was like ‘yea, I’m about to get this pick’,” said Johnson.

On its second possession of the 3rd quarter, Hunt scored his second touchdown of the day on 56-yard run.  Hunt finished the day with 106 yards rushing on four carries.

“I felt like if I get the open field, then I’m a free man and I see a whole bunch of green,” said Hunt.  “The offense is just a real explosive offense.”

Raheem Mostert and Danny Anthrop each added fourth quarter touchdowns.

Once the train got rolling, so to speak, Purdue showed how explosive it can be. As a team, the Boilers ran for 392 yards and racked up 576 total.  They also were efficient on third down going 10-15.  

“We have a lot of team speed and we got the ball in our fastest playmakers hands at certain times throughout the ballgame and that allowed us to manufacture some big plays and score a lot of points,” said Hope. 

The Boilers did what they were supposed to do, win against an inferior opponent, but Saturday proved Purdue still has some maintenance to do during its upcoming bye week.

TerBush, who took the bulk of the snaps under center with Robert Marve out due to an ACL injury, was inconsistent to start.  He made terrific plays including on the game’s first score when he scrambled to keep the play alive and threw across the field to connect with Antavian Edison (5 rec, 74 yards) on an 18-yard touchdown. But, he also threw some head scratchers like an interception that Eastern Michigan’s Pudge Cotton returned 28-yards for the Eagles only touchdown of the first half.

“I feel like I could’ve played a little better,” said TerBush. 

“There were a couple communication things here and there that kind of threw everything off.  It’s a team sport and eleven people have to be doing the right thing at the right time and if one person is doing something wrong it can mess up the entire play.  So, those were just a couple bumps in the road that we were dealing with early and we kind of ironed them out and got some points on the board later.”

Also, special teams continue to be a point of concern.  Sam McCartney missed two extra points and Raheem Mostert fumbled a kickoff out of bounds at the one-yard line (Purdue turned that into a 99-yard scoring drive).

“I’d like to be a little more polished now with our rookie kickers,” said Hope.  “It’ll come together.”

Two areas Purdue has shown consistency is on defense and in the red zone.

Saturday, inside the red zone, Purdue went 4-4.  The Boilers have converted on  12-13 trips inside their opponent’s 20-yard line through the first three games.

Defensively, Tim Tibesar’s first string unit kept the Eagles offense out of the end zone.   Eastern Michigan scored a late touchdown against some of Purdue’s reserves.

The Boilermakers held EMU to 169 yards rushing and 144 passing, while forcing three interceptions, and allowing the Eagles to convert on just two of 14 third down opportunities.

“I feel like we’ve been doing a great job of getting three and outs,” said Johnson.  “Our goal is to hold our opponent under 20-percent, 30-percent, so I feel like we’ve done a good job of doing that.”

Purdue starts the season 2-1 for the third consecutive year, but getting to 3-1 has been a problem.  The Boilers haven’t hit that mark since 2007.  They have a chance to reverse the trend when they wrap up the non-conference schedule against Marshall in two weeks.

“These non-conference games are very important.  We need them,” said Kawann Short.  “It’ll be good to go in conference with a lot of confidence knowing that we have a couple wins before conference play.”

The Boilers open Big Ten play against Michigan, October 6th.