On a crisp autumn night 60,000 freezing college football fans piled into Ross-Ade Stadium.
Some were expecting a blowout.
A hopeful few wanted at least a shootout.
And on a brisk night, the shock of the temperature getting as low as 38 degrees (with a wind chill registering even lower thanks to 18 mile per hour winds) was little compared to the shock of the Purdue Boilermakers coming up with a 49-20 victory over one of the best teams in the nation.
And yet, the calendar would suggest there’s something about mid-October that turns the Purdue football team from Boilermakers into Spoilermakers.
It had been nearly seven years to the day since Purdue had beaten a ranked opponent (an October 22, 2011 win over then-#21 Illinois). You’d have to go back two more years, to October 17, 2009, to find the last time the Boilers had beaten a team ranked in the top ten — also a victory over Ohio State (ranked seventh in the nation at the time), 26-18.
Number two-ranked Ohio State came into this game undefeated at 7-0 (4-0 in the Big Ten Conference). With Heisman hopeful Dwayne Haskins at quarterback, the visitors came to West Lafayette as two touchdown favorites. However, the Buckeyes’ high-powered offense never really got started until the fourth quarter. And by that time it was simply too late.
Haskins did have quite a performance, completing 49 passes on 73 attempts (both school records), for 470 yds and 2 TDs.
Purdue QB David Blough didn’t have to throw as much, but had a solid night, going 25-43 for 378 yards and 3 TDs. Freshman phenom Rondale Moore caught another 12 passes for 170 yards and 2 TDs of his own.
But perhaps the greatest surprise was RB DJ Knox. He dashed for 128 yards and 3 TDs, two of which came late in the fourth on runs of 42 and 40 yards, respectively.
The Boiler defense, which looked like a potentially season-crippling liability as the team started the season with three straight losses, also continued to show signs of improvement. They kept the Buckeyes out of the endzone for the whole first half, limiting the visitors to just two trips to the red zone — one ending in a field goal, the other in a kick that went wide left off the foot of backup kicker Blake Haubeiul. And when linebacker Markus Bailey picked off a Haskins pass and returned it 41 yards for a score with about two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the game was sealed.
Purdue Head Coach Jeff Brohm applauded his team’s effort, noting the team has now won four straight games after starting the season losing three games which were all within reach.
"We have to remember that every week presents new challenges and that nothing is guaranteed for him or his players because of this big win,” Brohm says. “So tonight we will celebrate, but tomorrow it's back to work."
The Boilermakers return to action next week against Michigan State in East Lansing.