Purdue scored a huge Week 1 victory against Oregon State on Saturday, holding off the Beavers in the fourth quarter for a 30-21 final.

The game was a thriller, with OSU twice closing to within 2 in the fourth quarter. The Boilermakers got contributions from all over the field — offense, defense and special teams — including from several breakout players. Let’s take a look at 5 who played well in Game 1 and will have a big say in whether the Boilermakers can keep up momentum.

Jalen Graham

In the 2020 short season, Jalen Graham displayed a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Never more so than against Illinois in the second weekend, when he recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in what turned into a closer-than-expected victory.

But then, Graham was still transitioning from safety, where he’d been recruited to play, to linebacker. Now, he can safely say the transition is complete, especially after the junior’s performance in the opener.

The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder was all over the place vs. the Beavers, frequently the linebacker that Purdue called as an extra blitzer. He picked up the Boilermakers’ only sack of the day — they did have numerous other pressures — when he flew around the edge and forced the OSU QB to fumble. But Graham isn’t a one-tool player either; he was great in coverage, too, breaking up a team-high 3 passes.

In all, Graham finished with team-highs in tackles (6), sacks (1), TFL (1), forced fumbles (1) and PBUs (3).

Payne Durham

Payne Durham was a lacrosse star.

He’s turning into a football one.

When he arrived on Purdue’s campus in 2018, he did so with limited football experience, having played only a couple seasons at Peachtree Ridge in Suwanee, Ga., where he primarily starred on the lacrosse field. But the physicality needed to excel in lacrosse has served Durham well in his transition, and now he’s more than ready to find success in football.

The 6-5, 255-pounder had a career day vs. the Beavers, finishing with 7 receptions for 120 yards and 2 fourth-quarter touchdowns. His second score, a 50-yarder, iced the game for the Boilermakers in the last few minutes.

The usually sure-handed tight end — his bobble off of a fake field goal, which led to an interception, was atypical — was a nice safety-value targetin 2020. But now, he has a chance to be more than a dump-off man. Purdue has proven weapons on the perimeter, with David Bell and Milton Wright, but wants to develop a between-the-hashes playmaker.

Durham might be a prime option.

Cam Allen

Some have tabbed him Purdue’s best big-hitting, play-making, game-changing safety in 15 seasons, since Bernard Pollard roamed West Lafayette.

Cam Allen might not live up to that standard — Pollard was an All-Big Ten safety who played nearly a decade in the NFL — but he’s already showing up as one who has a nose for the football. Saturday, he picked off a pass near midfield late in the second half, all but guaranteeing that Purdue would enter halftime with a lead. Had he not jumped into the passing lane, perhaps Oregon State marches another 25 yards into field goal range or gets even closer to tie or take the lead.

Allen, a junior, finished the game with the pick and 5 tackles.

Broc Thompson

Wide receiver Broc Thompson moved back closer to home for a good reason.

The Indianapolis native’s younger brother is battling cancer, so Thompson wanted to be around as often as possible. He transferred from Marshall, where he had 33 receptions in 2 seasons, to Purdue, not knowing exactly where he’d fit in among a deep Boilermakers receiving corps.

Injuries limited Thompson to only 4 games last season, but he’s been healthy at Purdue, first making a move during training camp to put himself in contention in the wide receiver rotation. Against the Beavers, he backed up veteran Milton Wright and had a reception for 17 yards. A second completion, of 37 yards, was called back because of an offensive pass interference that had little effect on the play itself.

But Thompson added a veteran, steady presence to the Boilermakers’ receiver room, and he’s shown value in only one game.

Mitchell Fineran

Purdue went through the spring without a place-kicker.

Sure, it had options, but they were unproven walk-ons who didn’t step up to fill the void once JD Dellinger graduated, then opted not to return for an extra season because of lingering back issues.

But for as much consternation as there was in the spring, it might be all worth it now, because it sent Purdue on an exhaustive search for a new PK during the offseason. And Jeff Brohm and Co. landed on Mitchell Fineran, an All-America FCS kicker from Samford.

Through one game, it’s looking like an excellent pickup. The Boilermakers would rather not be kicking red zone (or near red zone) field goals, but they twice had to vs. the Beavers. And Fineran knocked through 39- and 22-yarders to help keep Purdue ahead. His first attempt was a picture-perfect right-to-left hook that split the uprights from 48. Fineran accounted for 9 points on field goals in a 9-point win.