Boilermakers Hammer Hoosiers On Senior Night
Purdue collected its eighth win of the football season and with it secured the Old Oaken Bucket trophy with a victory over in-state rival Indiana, 44-7, Saturday night at Ross-Ade Stadium.
It was the Boilermakers’ first eight-win season since 2006 when they finished that campaign 8-5 behind head coach Joe Tiller.
“It's a great day to be a Boilermaker,” said head coach Jeff Brohm after the game, “I try not to count (the wins), but in the back of my head I do. It’s just a really good way to end the regular season and it just gives you a really good feeling inside.”
Purdue (8-4, 6-3 in the Big Ten) took the lead for good over the Hoosiers (2-10, 0-9) more than two minutes into the second quarter on a 24-yard catch by sophomore tight end Paul Piferi for a 14-7 advantage. It was the first score of Piferi’s career.
Fifth-year senior Aidan O’Connell finished with four touchdown passes among his 26 completions to eight different receivers. O'Connell's regular season ended on a hot streak with 16 touchdowns and no interceptions in his last five games.
O’Connell set new school records for completion percentage in a season (73.5 percent) and shattered the previous record held by David Blough (66 percent) since 2018. O’Connell’s career completion percentage (68.5) also set a school record.
“(O’Connell’s) efficiency and the ability to run our offense at that level has been outstanding,” said Brohm. “It’s much harder to do than people think.”
Purdue’s offense as a whole set a record for most completed passes in a season with 379, breaking the previous record of 377 set in the 1998 season when Boilermaker legend Drew Brees held the reins to the offense.
Purdue’s defense lived in the Hoosier’s backfield all day, netting ten tackles for a loss in yardage and registering four sacks. The defense also snagged an interception and limited the Hoosiers to only 205 yards on offense.
A few key Boilermakers who were not seniors suited up for their last game at Ross-Ade. Those players are star wide receiver David Bell and defensive anchor George Karlaftis. Bell finished with six catches for 79 yards and a touchdown. Karlaftis had one of the team’s four sacks to give five for the year.
Both are juniors and expected to forego their senior seasons to enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
“(Bell and Karlaftis) are phenomenal players and outstanding people,” said Brohm, “They represent this university in every way we want (players) to. They have a very bright future.”
After the game Brohm stated that he’ll give his players a couple weeks off before they start preparations for Purdue’s first Bowl game since 2018. A bowl game announcement will be made on Dec. 5.