Grade card after Purdue absolutely throttles UConn
Purdue hammered UConn.
It was ugly, with the Boilermakers racking up 562 yards and 49 points while holding the Huskies to 223 yards and zero.
With the 49-0 win, Purdue improves to 2-0 on the season.
Following are grades:
Saturday was a masterclass in passing offense.
Purdue employed 4 quarterbacks and had 13 players make at least one reception — an almost unheard number of contributors. After complete dominance by the first team in the first half, the Boilermakers barely missed a beat when they went to the second unit at the start of the third quarter.
Jack Plummer passed for 245 yards in the first half, hitting on 16 of 20 throws — he hit on 15 of his first 17 — with 4 touchdowns, 3 of which went to All-Universe receiver David Bell. Aidan O’Connell, the backup QB, missed on only 2 of his 11 attempts, tossing for 86 more yards and 2 scores. And even No. 3 Austin Burton was 5-of-5 for 44 yards.
The only demerit for the Boilermakers, again, was the offensive line, which got off to a slow start for the second consecutive week. The O-line allowed 3 sacks, 2 of them in the first 3 offensive snaps, as the Boilermakers were forced to punt on their first possession. And Plummer was under duress a couple more times, escaping only because of his elusiveness. But that might be nitpicky on an otherwise excellent day.
Bell might be the best pure receiver in the history of Purdue football. He’s just so darn smooth. His first touchdown was a beauty — he caught a little swing pass, then darted through traffic before cutting across the field to find the end zone — but it was bested only minutes later. On his second TD, Bell grabbed the ball in the open field, bounced off at least a couple of Huskies and eventually dove for the end zone.
Bell had 6 receptions for 121 yards and 3 touchdowns in the first half, then didn’t play in the second after Purdue took a 35-0 lead into the locker room.
Mershawn Rice took Bell’s spot in the second half and made his own highlight package. The 3rd-year Boilermaker hasn’t played a lot during his career due to injuries, but he was highly thought of when he first arrived at Purdue. And he showed flashes Saturday, making a great grab on the sideline, when he tapped a toe inbounds, and then hauling in a fastball from O’Connell on a slant.
Payne Durham followed up his big season debut with another touchdown and 54 yards on 4 receptions. T.J. Sheffield, who debuted this week, had the other score.
Purdue did get bad news in the running game when Zander Horvath was lost to a left leg injury in the first quarter.
It left the Boilermakers to go with backups King Doerue and Dylan Downing, but they fared well. Doerue had 74 yards on 12 carries, while Downing had 72 yards on 14. In all, Purdue gained 187 yards on 42 attempts, a 4.5 average. And 12 players had at least 1 carry.
(By the way, there can be very few games in which a team uses 4 quarterbacks, 12 rushers and 13 pass-catchers.)
Bell was one of the rushers, taking an end-around 26 yards.
Purdue was excellent on third downs and in the red zone, where it was 5-of-5 in scoring touchdowns, usually two signs of a healthy running game.
Purdue punted on its first drive.
Then, it scored touchdowns on 7 consecutive drives. It hit on big plays, like the long touchdowns to Bell, and got difficult yardage on the ground, including Doerue’s 1-yard run for the score.
Considering the variety of personnel Purdue used, it wasn’t burned too badly by penalties, suffering a handful of misdemeanors but nothing egregious.
And Purdue did all of this damage while being fairly vanilla, at least by Jeff Brohm standards. There were no trick plays, because Purdue was plenty successful playing the game straight.
The Boilermakers racked up 49 points, scoring on 7 straight possessions, and had 562 yards. They averaged 7.2 yards per snap. And Purdue was relatively balanced, going for 208 yards on the ground and 375 through the air.
Purdue might not be picking up the sacks, but its pressures are up significantly from last season.
The Boilermakers had heat on the QB on nearly every passing third down, many with George Karlaftis getting into the backfield. He did on a third-down PBU in the second quarter, which forced a UConn punt. Minutes later on the Huskies’ next drive, he had a pressure on second down, then another on third down, when he got the arm of Steven Krajewski and forced the QB to fumble. Tackle Branson Deen forced a third-down fumble on the next possession. Although neither resulted in a turnover, UConn was forced into punts on the next downs.
Later in the second half, Jack Sullivan and Damarje Lewis had pressures, forcing third-down and fourth-down misses. And Purdue ended the day with an interception from reserve safety Zane Greene.
UConn passed for only 99 yards.
UConn had 124 yards on a 3.6 average, but it had only 2 carries of double-digit yardage.
On a couple occasions, Purdue’s cornerbacks could stand to get off blocks on the perimeter better, but still, the Boilermakers were never seriously threatened in the run game.
The Boilermakers earned the shutout, especially impressive given how deep Purdue went into its bench in the second half.
A credit to Purdue’s new defensive staff, the Boilermakers’ reserves played fundamentally sound football.
UConn had only 223 total yards and 11 first downs. It converted only 6 of 16 third downs and missed on both its fourth-down tries. Purdue forced the Huskies to put the ball on the ground several times, although it could not convert those into turnovers. It did have the one pick.
In a game that Purdue dominated, the special teams amounted to nothing.
Purdue punted 4 times, but only once when it mattered.
T.J. Sheffield had a couple decent punt returns in his debut this season, totaling 18 yards.
Brohm was at least minimally concerned about Purdue’s focus headed into the game at UConn, considering the Huskies had been horrible in their first 2 weeks.
But the 5th-year coach got his team’s attention by pointing out upsets across the country. And Purdue, after the opening drive, was outstanding, putting its foot down and not letting up. And it’s impressive that the Boilermakers did so despite playing deep into their personnel. The defense kept after it in the fourth quarter, wanting to keep the shutout intact.
It was a great effort from top to bottom.
Purdue was great against an overmatched opponent.
The Boilermakers dominated in every facet, particularly when it had its first and second units on the field. Even Purdue’s 2s, had they played from the start, likely would have won by 3 scores.
Things will get real for Purdue next week, but for now the Boilermakers can be happy with a near flawless victory.