Rapid Reaction: Illinois gets back-to-back B1G wins with road victory at Purdue
Final score: Illinois 24 Purdue 6
Brief recap: A cold, rainy afternoon in West Lafayette worked against Purdue and worked well for Illinois. The strong Illini running game bowled over the Boilermaker defense, acquiring 242 yards on the ground. But that wasn’t the story early on in the contest. A pick-six by Tony Adams, who registered the clutch interception last week against Wisconsin, gave Illinois an early 10-0 lead, and had Purdue throwing the ball all over the field attempting to play catch-up. It didn’t work. The Boilermakers completed just 15-of-32 pass attempts for 136 yards and had two turnovers. Dre Brown, Ra’Von Bonner and Reggie Corbin did more than enough to secure Illinois’ second straight win in B1G play.
Key moment: Just before the end of the first half, Illinois forced Purdue into a three-and-out and followed it u with a six-play, 63-yard touchdown drive, capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Brandon Peters. That touchdown gave Illinois a 17-0 advantage heading into the locker room. With the downpour in West Lafayette, it was awfully tough for Purdue to come back from that deficit.
Key stat: Usually, these stats tend to be the reason a team wins a game. However, we’re going the other way with this one. Illinois defeated Purdue while throwing for just 26 yards in the game. TWENTY-SIX! That’s insane. It just shows how effective Illinois was on the ground, and how well the defense played.
Key player: Dre Brown totaled 131 yards on 18 carries, averaging 7.3 yards per carry for the contest. The only thing he didn’t do in the game was reach the end zone. But he set up a few scoring opportunities.
What it means for Purdue: Purdue’s air attack was no match for the weather. And as much as we should give credit to Illinois’ defense, there’s no denying that this was a pretty poor plan of attack for the Boilermakers offensively. Even though the Boilermakers’ run game has been abysmal this season, throwing the football was incredibly difficult for this offense. Purdue is now one loss away from being eliminated from bowl eligibility.
What it means for Illinois: A few weeks ago, things looked pretty hopeless for the Illini. Now, after an upset win over Wisconsin and a road victory over Purdue, Illinois sits at 4-4 and needs just two victories to get to bowl eligibility in 2019. With games against Northwestern and Rutgers still on the schedule, it is very much within reach. The Illini are playing with a lot of confidence and momentum right now, just at the right time.