Purdue stifled, routed by Virginia Tech
Final: Virginia Tech 51, Purdue 24
Telling stat: Austin Appleby’s three first-half completions
My goodness, it was a rough go for the Purdue quarterback. We knew that the Virginia Tech secondary was going to test him more than Marshall or Indiana State. But the Hokies made life miserable for Appleby. It’s somewhat amazing that Purdue was even down a score at the break. We can chalk that up to Danny Ezechukwu’s 90-yard punt return for a score. Otherwise this one would’ve been over way earlier than it was.
Key play: Trey Edmunds 16-yard third-down conversion
There was a time when this was actually a 17-17 game and it appeared both teams were going to trade scores. But on their own 24-yard-line, Trey Edmunds converted a 3rd-and-11 to keep the drive alive. That led to the Hokies taking the lead for good. Without that score, Purdue’s offense gets the ball back with decent field position and a chance to take the lead at the end of the first half. Instead, the Boilermakers failed to make an open field tackle and spent the rest of the day looking up.
-Markell Jones is still a stud
When the true freshman stops making highlight reel plays, I’ll stop talking about him. Until then, brace yourself. Jones broke free for a 60-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter, which didn’t have a say in the final score, but it showed what he was capable against an actual defense. Jones racked up twice as many yards on one play than any Purdue player had all day. Game flow limited he and D.J. Knox from getting more work, but it was a small silver lining to Saturday’s setback.
-David Blough came in late
When you can’t complete a third of your passes, you get pulled. If that’s not an official rule, it should be. Naturally, Appleby was replaced by David Blough in the fourth quarter. The freshman only threw for 11 yards with the game already decided, but it was a needed move by Darrell Hazell. He either gave himself a look at his replacement options or he saved his starter from getting beat up even more. Either way, Appleby’s job will be a hot topic in West Lafayette this week.
What it means: Purdue takes a step back
I had been talking up the Boilers a lot. This team showed positive strides in each of its first two games, and Saturday was a chance for Purdue to show it can hang with a competitive Power Five program. They were squaring off with a quarterback making his first road start and coming off their best offensive showing of the Hazell era. But Saturday’s lopsided finish was troubling for the Boilermakers. They weren’t getting the push up front that fueled their high tackles for loss rate. They couldn’t get the big third down stop. Most of all, they couldn’t complete passes. This team might be a little further away from competitiveness than we thought.