Final Score: LSU 63, Purdue 7

Purdue headed into Monday’s Cheez-It Citrus Bowl with big goals but a tall task. The matchup between the Boilermakers and LSU featured two programs currently moving in different directions.

For LSU, Brian Kelly is trying to build momentum for his second season with the Tigers. Entering the Citrus Bowl, the Tigers held a 9-4 record after capturing the SEC West title in Kelly’s first year with the program.

For Purdue, the Boilermakers are still in a time of transition with Jeff Brohm leaving to take the Louisville job and a number of key players opting out of the bowl game. Most notably, Purdue played without starting quarterback Aidan O’Connell and star wide receiver Charlie Jones.

From the opening kickoff, it was quickly apparent Purdue was going to have its hands full under interim head coach Brian Brohm. LSU scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and went on to build a 35-0 heading into halftime.

The Tigers scored in a variety of ways against Purdue, including former Penn State running back Noah Cain scoring twice on the ground before the break. John Emery Jr. also scored a first-half rushing touchdown for LSU.

The majority of LSU’s damage came through the air, and that performance included multiple quarterbacks putting in work. Jayden Daniels and Garrett Nussmeier both threw touchdowns in the first half in what was an efficient game all afternoon long for the Tigers.

In the third quarter, Nussmeier threw a second touchdown and Malik Nabers added one of his own to give LSU a trio of QBs with a touchdown pass in the bowl game. When it was all said and done, Purdue gave up 49 straight points to open the game before getting to the fourth quarter.

Finally, Purdue was able to break through early in the fourth quarter. The Boilermakers mounted a 9-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a TJ Sheffield touchdown. Michael Alaimo — a former 4-star prospect via the 2020 recruiting class — saw action at QB for Purdue was credited with the passing touchdown in the game.

Unfortunately, the touchdown to Sheffield was just about the only highlight of the afternoon for the Boilermakers. Starting QB Austin Burton, Alaimo and Jack Albers were all tagged with an interception against the Tigers.

While the blowout loss certainly stings, some of the bowl game performance was to be expected. With so many pieces either heading to the NFL or opting for the transfer portal, Purdue was left shorthanded and outmanned against an LSU team looking to build momentum for 2023.

Now, the Ryan Walters era can officially begin for Purdue. With Drew Brees pitching the Boilermakers to players in the transfer portal ahead of the game, we’ll see if Walters can quickly revamp the roster for his first season in West Lafayette.