Purdue defense shuts down Illinois
Richie Worship had 10 carries for 44 yards and a touchdown, and also caught five passes for 43 yards, helping Purdue defeat Illinois 29-10 Saturday to snap a three-game losing streak in a Big Ten game at West Lafayette, Ind.
It is Purdue’s first victory in the month of November since 2012.
David Blough was 16-of-24 passing for 194 yards, and also had three carries for 16 yards, but left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent head injury following a big hit by Illinois defensive end Bobby Roundtree.
Roundtree was initially flagged for targeting, but officials overturned the call upon further review. Elijah Sindelar replaced the injured Blough, finishing 2 of 2 for 32 yards and a touchdown.
The Boilermakers (4-5, 2-4 Big Ten) used a total of nine ball carriers, amassing 209 rushing yards on 44 carries. DJ Knox led the backfield committee, rushing 14 times for 85 yards and a touchdown. Purdue gained a total of 435 yards to Illinois’ 250.
The Illini (2-7, 0-6) started mobile freshman quarterback Cam Thomas for the second game in a row but also utilized traditional pocket passer Jeff George Jr. once they got behind. Thomas completed 10 of 20 passes for 159 yards and also rushed 14 times for 30 yards. George was just 2 of 7 for 11 yards but did account for the only Illinois touchdown, an 8-yard pass to Louis Dorsey with 4:34 remaining in the first quarter. Dorsey finished with two catches for 11 yards in addition to the lone score.
Kendrick Foster led the limited Illini ground attack, rushing 17 times for 73 yards.
Purdue took a 10-7 lead on a 26-yard field goal at the 12:30 mark in the second quarter, before Chase McLaughlin’s 31-yarder tied the game with just over a minute remaining in the first half. On the ensuing possession, Purdue marched 50 yards in under a minute, setting up a 42-yard field goal by Spencer Evans as time expired, giving the Boilermakers a 13-10 halftime lead.
Purdue’s defense turned up the pressure in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter, where it has struggled in previous weeks. The Boilermakers held Illinois to 37 yards in the fourth quarter, allowing only three first downs. Purdue finished with five sacks and nine tackles for losses, as well as an interception, which snapped a two-game turnover drought.