Today the Boilermakers improved their record to 7-4 with a win over Illinois. That record is important because it means the Boilers are bowl eligible this year with two games remaining. Last year was the first year in the Joe Tiller era that Purdue was not playing around the holidays. Purdue won 42-31 thanks in large part to Illinois turnovers that led to 28 points in an eight minute span in the third and fourth quarters. The offense had its moments today, but still looks to be struggling. The defense had trouble containing the run, but kept the Boilers in the game for the most part. Today was my first chance to see ‘Juice’ Williams and J Leman. Juice looked like a real threat running the ball, but seemed to hold it very loose. His passing is another story. He only completed 8 of 29 passes, and most of them were way off. He is a true freshman though, and it may be a good thing that we will not see him over the next two years. Leman was the real deal at Linebacker. He seemed to be everywhere. His 13 tackles led the team, and he disrupted a lot of plays. He was even downfield breaking up passes. He will be playing on Sunday’s in a couple of years.
The Boilers still did not look fantastic on either side of the ball, but they got the job done. Curtis Painter rolled out of the pocket for two touchdowns. The first of which tricked Illinois so bad that he ran down the sidelines with just his blockers. They will have to step up their game I think next week when Indiana comes to town. IU will be trying to get a win in their final game to make themselves bowl eligible. Should be a classic bucket game.
On a historical note: Today was most likely the last time that Chief Illini will take the field for Illinois. Thanks to the new PC world that we live in he was deemed to be expendable. It was fun to see today, but sad to see go. Apparently Illinois doesn’t have the money or clout that Florida State had to keep their mascot.