I think that I am still on a high after yesterday’s game. On the ride down to Purdue I kept thinking how important this game was for this season. Another loss, and the two trips left to West Lafayette would be hard to make. The stands were already sparse, and most of those fans were wearing red. So much for the ‘Gold Out’ that the University was hoping for. Part of me expected to see the team in Gold. They came out in all black once again, and gave the 50,000 fans that came something to cheer for. As the kickoff was in the air I kept yelling ‘shock the world’ over and over. This team was due for some good luck. When I saw some of the students across the way I knew that I had to take a picture. For some reason half of them put their signs down so that it just said DUE!. I kept thinking yes we are. Luckily we ran into a team that was more turnover prone then we have been.
The game started out with Purdue getting a quick turnover, but having to settle for a field goal. We had great field position, but Aaron Valentin dropped a Keith Smith pass on a trick play. That catch would have meant an early seven point lead. Already the fans were yelling to fire the coach, and bench Valentin. Ohio State then took the ball and quickly made the score 7-3. Jaycen Taylor fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but picked up the ball to save us from going down the familiar road. A picture of the play is shown to the right. The feeling in the stands was not very good. More calling for the coaches head. Purdue settled for another field goal to make it 7-6 and keep our slim hopes of an upset alive. Carson Wiggs then put the Boilers up 9-7 at the half when he kicked a 55 yard field goal into the wind as time expired. That was a big lift after Dan Dierking was intercepted in the end zone on a crazy trick play on the previous drive.
Purdue wasted no time scoring to start the second half when Aaron Valentin grabbed the first of his two touchdown catches on the day. The catch is shown to the left. He is really a gamebreaker when he can hang on to the football. Maybe with the monkey off of his back we can see what he can really do. The second touchdown by Valentin on a quick screen put the Boilers up 23-7. The fans started to believe. You could sense it. The defense was playing great, and the freshman linebackers Higgs and Beckford really were playing well. For some reason Carlino and Werner were placed back into the game, and the Buckeyes drove right down the field, but the defense put on the brakes and held the Buckeyes to a field goal. Purdue answered when Wiggs hit his fourth field goal of the day, this one from 49 yards. The scoring was capped on the day when Ohio State scored a touchdown and converted on the two point conversion with just over seven minutes to go. Both teams then traded possessions leading up to the final Ohio State drive with time winding down. Ryan Kerrigan had a huge sack on the Pryor to set up a 4th and 14 for the Buckeyes. David Pender knocked down the prayer by Pryor to give the Boilers the ball. He could have picked it off, but that would have cost us valuable field position. Purdue looked to give up, and Ohio State would have gotten the ball back with about 1:20 left after a punt when an Ohio State player grabbed Valentin’s facemask to give us a first down, and seal the game. The Boilers took a knee a couple of times, then the madness began.
I stormed the field with my brother just to celebrate. I might have gone a little crazy, but how often does this happen. This reminds me of 2005 when the Boiler basketball team was on hard times. They stunned #10 Michigan to send the crowd into a frenzy. This was a similar type situation. We sang Hail Purdue on the field with the players, and just had a blast. We also went around trying to soak as much of it up as we could. By the time we were done I had made a complete fool of myself on the Big Ten Network. The picture to the right shows my view of the Brandon King interview after the game. King had a great game including two interceptions. One of those picks was unbelievable. We really missed him when he was out this season. We milled around on the field for a while before deciding to go and watch the post game concert at the fountain. On a day like this you want to keep the party going. This was one of the best games that I have ever been to.
This win snapped a 19 game losing streak to teams in the top 25 for the Boilers. It also snapped the five game losing streak that the team was on. More importantly it gave the Boiler faithful a little hope as the season rolls on. It showed that this team can finish a game. That we can force turnovers as well as we had previously turned the ball over. That these young kids can play, and seem to be getting better. This next week will be yet another test for this team. I am sure that they will be favored over the Illini by at least a score. Can this team keep the momentum going? Can we get it together in time to get to a bowl? They have five games left with four wins still needed to be bowl eligible. It is a stretch, but so was a 1-5 team beating the #7 team in the country. Boiler Up! I am sure I will have more pics from the game up over the next couple of days.