Well, it wasn’t pretty. But the Boilermakers forced 7 turnovers while committing 4 of their own and made the plays necessary to keep the Western Michigan potent passing attack off the field long enough to win the ball game 37-32. Purdue finished the season 7-6 for Danny Hope’s first winning season in West Lafayette.
The story of the game, besides the turnovers, was Purdue’s time of possession advantage. The Boilers hogged the ball for nearly 36 minutes using 56 rushing attempts for 265 yards.
In the first half, Purdue took away two of Western Michigan’s chances of having the ball by converting two onside kick attempts. These ballsy attempts matched the Western Michigan trickery of faking a PAT after their first touchdown and converting the 2 point conversion to take an 8-0 lead.
The game was sloppy for more reasons than just special teams trickery, though. Purdue had two takeaways that were promptly given back to Western Michigan. Gerald Gooden intercepted a pass only to fumble it moments later while running down the sideline. And Ryan Russell recovered a fumble to fumble it after running 50 yards down the field with it.
Despite committing 9 penalties for 54 yards, Purdue kept the Broncos off the field by forcing 7 turnovers and making third and fourth down conversions difficult. Western Michigan finished just 1 for 4 in 4th down attempts and 5/12 for 3rd down attempts.
Western Michigan racked up 439 passing yards (485 total) behind 31/57 passing from Alex Carder. The nation’s leading receiver didn’t disappoint: Jordan White caught 13 passes for 265 yards and one touchdown.
Purdue was led by Akeem Shavers 149 rushing yards and used 8 total ball carriers to total 265 yards on the ground. The Boilers were efficient passing the ball with 15/21 completions for 177 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve split duty under center once again.
The bowl game caps Purdue’s first winning season since 2007 and first bowl win since the same year (also a win in Detroit in the previously named Motor City Bowl). It will be nice for the Boilermakers to carry this momentum to the 2012 football season.