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Steadfast Boilers Defeat Beavers

Casey Abbett

In the 500th game played in Ross-Ade Stadium, on a chilly and misty Saturday night, the Purdue football team celebrated its milestone at the venerable stadium with a 30-21 victory against Oregon State to open the 2021 campaign.

The Boilermakers took the lead for good in the second quarter, 10-7, when senior kicker Mitchell Fineran, in his second year at Purdue after transferring from Mercer University (Macon, Georgia), booted a 48- yard field goal. Fineran finished the night 3-for-3 on field goal attempts.

Purdue’s defense struggled last season, but made a better impression to open this season.

The Boilers held on three fourth-down attempts by the Beavers in the second half, and it turned the tide of the game. Purdue’s offense then turned two of those three stops into ten points.

“I thought it was a great start for our defense,” said coach Jeff Brohm after Purdue’s first game against OSU since 1967. “Any time your defense stops people on fourth down, that means your defense is going for the win.”

Junior tight end Payne Durham filled up the stat sheet with seven receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns.  Durham caught the ball each time he was targeted by quarterback Jack Plummer.  Durham’s final reception with the Boilermakers nursing a narrow lead, 23-21, went for 50 yards to seal the game at the 2:19 mark of the fourth quarter.

“(Payne) is a tremendous leader, he’s probably the leader of our team,” said Brohm. “He does everything the way you want. He’s a competitor.”

Plummer, a junior, finished the night with 313 passing yards, including two touchdowns. Running back Zander Horvath, also a junior, shouldered the load of Purdue’s ground game with 81 rushing yards and a touchdown. 

It had been almost two years since the turnstiles worked again at Ross-Ade. Before Saturday night, the last game played there was against cross-state rival Indiana on Nov. 30, 2019. 

“I think everyone felt that having fans, especially a packed house like it was, was awesome to see,” Said Brohm.


The Boilers’ next game will be at Connecticut on September 11.

Casey Abbett is a senior at Purdue from LaCrosse, Indiana, and has been been interning as a sports reporter for WBAA since his freshman year.