Final Score: Purdue 42 Vanderbilt 24
Brief Recap: Coming off a heartbreaking loss to Nevada, there was some real question as to how Purdue would respond in its home opener against a solid Vanderbilt squad. Those questions got answered. The first half was a back-and-forth battle with Purdue taking a 14-10 advantage in the locker room. But early in the third quarter, Purdue was able to build a two-touchdown lead early thanks to a long pass from Elijah Sindelar to Jared Sparks. Though the Boilers gifted last week’s game away in Reno, they were able to maintain that lead, finishing strong with a three-touchdown victory. A good chunk of that credit goes to Sindelar (509 yards, 5 touchdowns) and Rondale Moore (13 catches, 220 yards).
Key Moment: That 50-yard touchdown pass from Sindelar to Sparks less than two minutes into the 3rd quarter was pretty significant. Purdue was able to build some cushion and it really ignited the offense the rest of the way. Vanderbilt never got closer than two touchdowns after the Boilermakers took a 21-10 lead.
Key Stat: Hard to argue with those 509 passing yards, especially considering Purdue rushed for just 31. After the first few possessions, Sindelar really got into a rhythm and hit nine different receivers throughout the game. It’s no surprise Rondale Moore was the favorite with 13 catches for 220 yards and a touchdown.
Key Player: It’s been all about passing, so why not hand it to Sindelar? After a few late picks last week against Nevada, it would’ve been easy to play conservative against Vanderbilt in the home opener. But the Purdue QB really let it rip, throwing 52 passes and accumulating 509 yards and five touchdowns in the win. What a bounce-back game.
What it Means: Getting a win against a Power Five opponent after a devastating loss is a big confidence builder for Jeff Brohm’s young squad, especially considering their schedule moving forward. Purdue hosts TCU next Saturday, one of the top teams in the Big 12. The Boilers also showed some resiliency after suffering such an ugly loss last weekend. Purdue has a long way to go, but this was a significant step in the right direction.