Jack Plummer

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

It's been a while since any non-freshman scored a touchdown for Purdue. Not since week four in a loss to Minnesota, in fact. Since then, some 30 redshirt and true freshmen have suited up for the Boilermakers. Saturday, that crew was largely responsible for keeping the team's slim bowl game hopes alive in a 31-27 win over Nebraska.

Casey Abbett / WBAA

When it rains, it pours. It rained from start to finish on the Boilermaker football team Saturday, and it was the Illinois Fighting Illini that poured it on from beginning to end.

With the storm grounding the Boilermaker offense and the defense ill-equipped to stop an Illinois team picking up momentum, Purdue fell to Illinois for the first time in three tries, 24-6 -- even though the Illini gained just 26 yards through the air.

It's common on a crisp afternoon in early fall for the gusts blowing across Ross-Ade Stadium to travel as fast as 30 mph.

But it had been a foul wind blowing against the Purdue football team in the weeks leading up to its breezy homecoming game against the Maryland Terrapins Saturday.

The Purdue team that took the field -- still with many freshmen seeing significant minutes -- looked more experienced than the group that was overmatched in last week's loss to Penn State. When the final horn blew on this day, Purdue emerged victorious 40-14.

Casey Abbett / WBAA

Saturday began with literal dark clouds hanging over Ross-Ade Stadium. By the time night fell, the Purdue Boilermakers football season was under a dark cloud of its own after a loss to Minnesota.

Injuries to two offensive starters, the resulting exploitation of a lack of depth and experience and a comeback that came up short all factored into a 38-31 defeat. 

Casey Abbett / WBAA

Purdue's leading tackler and defensive captain was lost to a season-ending knee injuree in practice earlier this week.

The team's senior starting quartertback -- a question mark all week -- was kept out of the game due to a consussion.

So perhaps it was little surprise that, playing another team from a Power Five conference, the Boilermakers proved not to have nearly enough to keep pace with TCU Saturday night, losing to the Horned Frogs 34-13.