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Big Play Offense Pushes Purdue Past Indiana State In 38-14 Win

Charlotte Tuggle

Purdue's football team put itself in a lot of holes last year -- both on the scoreboard and at the bank -- in part because the offense was rarely flashy or exciting to watch. Saturday offered a glimmer of hope that's changing.

The Boilermakers jumped ahead early with a 75-yard scoring drive in the first two minutes, ending with a 57-yard touchdown pass from Austin Appleby to Cameron Posey. Later, Purdue would drive another quick 70 yards in six plays.

And as the final seconds of the first half ticked away, Appleby arced a 51-yard pass into the end zone, which wound up in the hands of little-used junior wide receiver Dan Monteroso. Purdue led 24-7 at the break and never looked back on the way to a 38-14 win over Indiana State.

Senior cornerback Anthony Brown provided much of the Boilers' second-half sizzle, running 39 yards on a fake punt play and recovering a fumbled punt deep in Indiana State territory.

Appleby accounted for 289 of Purdue's 540 total yards of offense through the air. Appleby threw three touchdown of at least 50 yards, something that hasn't happened for a Purdue quarterback since Billy Dicken did it in 1997. And, after throwing four interceptions in last week's game (two of which were returned for touchdowns), Appleby threw none against the Sycamores.

However, starting running back D.J. Knox did struggle to hold onto the ball. Knox coughed up a kick return in the first half and put the ball on the ground on a run near midfield in the second half. The Boilermakers also struggled on third down, converting just five of 15 chances.

Kicker Paul Griggs, considered an early-season candidate for the Lou Groza Award (given each year to the nation's best kicker), also had a difficult day, making just one of his three field goal attempts on a 19-yard chip shot in the second quarter.

But the Purdue defense kept Indiana State quarterback Matt Adam under pressure, sacking him five times. Adam was forced to use his legs as much as his arm, leading the Sycamores in rushing after starter LeMonte Booker left the game with an apparent injury.

The Boilermakers face a tough non-conference test at home next week against Virginia Tech, which played well in a loss to defending national champion Ohio State in its first game.