One week after posting one of college football’s biggest upsets, Illinois showed it could win on the road and handle the elements Saturday at Purdue.
Dre Brown rushed for career-high 131 yards on 18 carries and Reggie Corbin added 47 yards rushing and a touchdown, lifting the Fighting Illini to a 24-6 win at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.
Illinois (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten), which knocked off unbeaten Wisconsin last week as 30.5-point underdogs, forced two turnovers and held the Boilermakers scoreless into the fourth quarter. Purdue (2-6, 1-4) scored its lone touchdown on an 11-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback Aidan O’Connell to tight end Payne Durham with 5:49 left.
Through a driving rainstorm, Purdue struggled to find any consistency on offense, while Illinois was able to move the ball on the ground. The Illini finished the game with 242 yards rushing on 4.6 yards per carry.
A 44-yard run by Brown highlighted an eight-play, 67-yard Illinois scoring drive that ended with James McCourt’s 37-yard field goal with 2:47 left in the first quarter.
A defensive touchdown extended Illinois’ lead to 10-0 in the second quarter, when junior cornerback Tony Adams intercepted Plummer’s pass and returned it 13 yards for a touchdown.
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm benched Plummer following the pick-six, but brought his starter back into the game after O’Connell went just 1 of 5 for 0 yards in two offensive series. O’Connell finished the game after Plummer’s second turnover.
Later in the second quarter, Illinois drove 63 plays on six plays, five of which were runs, capped by a 1-yard TD run by quarterback Brandon Peters that put Illinois up 17-0 with 1:41 left in the half.
Illinois went up 24-0 late in the third quarter on a 20-yard touchdown run from Corbin after a Purdue turnover, when Plummer fumbled and Illinois safety Stanley Green returned the fumble down to Purdue’s 22-yard line.
Brown rushed for 112 yards in the first half.
Illinois played without injured junior defensive end Oluwe Betiku Jr., a transfer from USC who leads the team with eight sacks.
—Field Level Media