With just under a minute remaining, Purdue claimed a three point lead over Middle Tennessee State, its first lead of the day. MTSU had a chance to tie the game with four seconds remaining, but a 47-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Purdue’s Ricardo Allen. In nail-biting fashion, Purdue survived its home opener.
For Boilermaker fans, this game was as frustrating of a win to watch as any. Purdue shot itself in the foot by committing 11 penalties for 95 yards and commit two turnovers. At times, the offense looked unprepared as it was called for offsides penalties or illegal formations. The defense had their gaffes too. The MTSU offense found holes and mismatches in Purdue’s defense and threw for 330 yards. Purdue’s defense did hold the Raiders to a modest 130 rushing yards though. The defense forced one turnover (an interception by LB Dwayne Beckford).
- QB PLAY: As expected, Caleb TerBush’s debut was shaky. TerBush came up with a clutch play though when he found WR Antavian Edison for the winning touchdown pass. Overall, TerBush completed 19 of 33 passes with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. TerBush was sacked several times and caught a break when two of his passes bounced off the hands of MTSU defenders. TerBush’s accuracy was off at times and his ability to read defenses was an issue as he threw into coverage. Still, this game will help him gain confidence going forward. TerBush was not the only quarterback to play today. Sean Robinson played one possession that went no where. Robinson threw two incomplete passes and there appeared to be confusion on a QB keeper. To make things more interesting, Robert Marve was actually warming up on the sideline at times. Marve never went into the game, but Coach Hope stated in his post-game press conference that he considered playing Marve.
- Ralph Bolden: he had a great return from his second ACL tear. He rushed for 120 yards on 17 carries and served as good pass protection. It appears Bolden is 100% healthy and this is very important for Purdue’s success.
- Akeem Shavers: his debut as a Boiler started with a bang, including a burst of a 30-yard touchdown run. Overall, he carried the ball 7 times for 42 yards and one touchdown.
- Gabe Holmes had a nice catch in the beginning, but then it appeared he hurt (actually re-injured) his hamstring. He did not return. Justin Sinz played in his absence and looks to be a decent receiving threat at tight end.
- Justin Siller: he was a big time target for TerBush and will likely be Purdue’s go-to guy. He’s a great physical, possession receiver and has good hands.
- Ricardo Allen: Allen obviously needs to work out some kinks as a punt returner (one fumble and a questionable decision to let a punt fly over his head and be downed inside the 5), but he played great on defense today. He ensured the victory by blocking a last second field goal by MTSU.
- Joe Holland was dragged by ball carriers today. A lot was asked of him: be a rock in run coverage and cover wide receivers over the middle. This is no easy task and Holland played for all but one snap. His position is always good, but he does get pushed around at times. He will continue to struggle with quick slot receivers.
- Purdue played mostly in the nickel today, which means that Normando Harris played a lot. Kaluana Judd played safety along with Albert Evans. As usual, Josh Johnson and Ricardo Allen played well for Purdue, locking down the outside receivers for most of the game.
- The defensive ends did not get a lot of production, although they were able to rush the quarterback. It’s going to be very difficult to replace Ryan Kerrigan — those shoes are just too big to fill.
- The defensive tackles put even more pressure on the quarterback than the defensive ends. Kawaan Short had a nice tack for loss early, but it’s difficult for the defensive linemen to really disrupt a spread offense. MTSU’s no-huddle offense was difficult for Purdue to keep up with and it showed at times.
- Carson Wiggs: nailed a 47 yard FG and a 50 yard FG. This has become routine for him. He also punted twice — two booming kicks. It appears that he will be a punting option when we need a longer punt. Cody Webster also punted well and forced MTSU within their own 5 yard line on one punt.