Purdue 37 ... WMU 32
- Purdue, the Big Ten team, came up with seven turnovers, recovered two onside kicks, and got a kickoff return for a touchdown. Even with all of that, Purdue, the Big Ten team, still needed everything in the bag to beat a team from the MAC.
- Uh, Purdue, you might want to try covering No. 83.
- Jordan White: 13 catches, 265 yards, and one touchdown. To all those nimrods out there who refused to put him on any of their All-America teams, this is why we're waiting this year to do our AA teams until after the bowls.
- Yeah, Alex Carder might have given up four picks and was stripped, but he kept on pushing. The 439 passing yards didn't all go to White.
- If the opposing team comes up with one onside kick, that's a surprise. You tip your hat and go on about your day. If you give up a second onside kick a few minutes later, an assistant of some sort needs to catch a beating.
- Speaking of a bad day from Western Michigan's Bill Cubit, what are you doing kicking the ball to Raheem Mostert? Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Bronco kickoff coverage team has been solid all season long, but there's a reason Purdue came into the game second in the nation in kickoff returns.
- The Purdue offensive line blasted away from the start. Left tackle Dennis Kelly and left guard James Shepherd dominated.
- Western Michigan always had an answer and wouldn't go away. The Mostert kickoff return for a score ended up turning the game around for good midway through the second quarter, but the Boilermakers had to sweat.
- Give Purdue credit. Yes, it was a game against a MAC team, and yes, there were way too many problems putting the game away, but there were injury issues, suspensions, and enough excuses to come out and struggle. Still, with seven takeaways, this should've been a blowout.
Nice start to the bowl season for the Big Ten, which is always going to take a motivational backseat to a MAC opponent when the two meet in September or December.
With all due respect to the Purdue defense, which played very well up front, Western Michigan QB Alex Carder had a forgettable game in Detroit. The junior with the gaudy numbers turned the ball over six times, including four picks. The final one on a fumble with the Broncos trailing by five points showed a general lack of pocket presence and ball security.
No. 99 in black, Purdue DE Ryan Russell, is just a redshirt freshman out of Carrollton, Tex. The tackle he schooled for four quarters, Anthony Parker, was a fifth-year senior. Russell looks as if he has a very exciting future in West Lafayette.
The opportunistic Boilermakers D deserves a ton of credit for this first postseason win since 2007. So, too, does the O-line, which manhandled the Western Michigan front four, and paved the way for junior Akeem Shavers to deliver a career night on the ground.
I get that Western Michigan WR Jordan White doesn't employ game-breaking speed. I don't care. The guy just makes plays, over and over again, despite the fact that everyone knows Carder is looking for No. 83. Regardless what the stopwatch says over the next few months, there's a place in the NFL for players who can find the soft spots in a defense and make his battery mate look good. White is one of those not-so-flashy security blankets in the passing game.
Purdue collected a slew of turnovers, converted a pair of on-side kicks and got a 99-yard kickoff return for six from Raheem Mostert … yet still almost blew the game to Western Michigan? How in the world does that happen? The Boilermakers were nearly as careless with the ball as the Broncos, including twice fumbling the ball back on the same play that a takeaway occurred.
By Matt Zemek
By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee
- For the second straight season, the Little Caesars Bowl has been thoroughly entertaining. Last year, it was FIU and Toledo. This year, it was Purdue and Western Michigan. A lot of people knock lower-tier bowl games, but there was nothing wrong with this one. Onside kicks (plural), kickoff returns, fake extra points and offense galore - it had it all.
- If you don't think that bowl games matter, you didn't see the reaction the Western Michigan players had after losing the Little Caesars Bowl to Purdue. Those players put their hearts and souls into getting Western Michigan its first ever bowl win, and nearly did it via a ferocious comeback.
- Jordan White, have a day. The Purdue wide receiver had 265 receiving yards, and nearly broke the all-time record for receiving yards in a bowl game. He literally was the Bronco offense. If you didn't know him before - and most people didn't - you do know.
- Purdue's offense was a bit disjointed, but thanks to a solid rushing attack behind Akeem Shavers, the Boilermakers were able to hold on. If this game was five minutes longer, I don't think that they'd have held on.
- Sometimes the games you least expect are the most entertaining. Remember that next bowl season and plan accordingly.
By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball
- Someone forgot to tell Purdue that 6-6 teams do not belong on bowl games. The Boilermakers played like a team on a mission today.
- Danny Hope's contract extension raised a few eyebrows last week. Hope immediately rewarded Purdue fans by playing more aggressively today. After grabbing a 17-15 on a kickoff return for a TD midway through the second quarter, Hope called for an onside kick. The Boilermakers recovered the onside kick, and took a nine-point lead that they would never relinquish. More importantly, it kept the Purdue defense on the sideline to get some much-needed rest.
- WMU's Bill Cubit was also playing to win, and made a few bold calls on back-to-back plays to take the lead. After forcing a fumble at midfield, Cubit used a flea-flicker pass to score the team's first TD. On the ensuing PAT, he called a fake in which Bronco K John Potter ran into the end zone untouched.
- Ironically, defense decided this contest. Even though both teams recorded well over 400 yards of offense, the teams combined for 10 turnovers. How hard was it hold on to the football? In the third, quarter each team turned the ball over on the same play. Gerald Gooden picked off Alex Carder, only to have Western's Josh Schaffer strip the ball from him.
- The game ball goes to Western Michigan's Jordan White. White showed everyone why he led the nation in receiving this year by catching 13 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown. Even though some draft experts do not project White as a high round draft pick, he will end up on a NFL roster next season, because he always manages to get open.
- If not for White's monster game, RB Akeem Shavers would have had the top offensive performance today. The Broncos had no answer for Shavers, who ran for a career-high 148 yards on 22 carries.
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
- So the Big Ten starts it off right and begins 1-0. It shouldn't be any surprise that Western Michigan put up a fight. The combination of Carder to White is as good as a QB to WR combo you'll see in any league.
- And what about turnovers? Both teams had plenty of them and it was the difference in the game. It's amazing that the Broncos had a shot at all in this one with seven total charitable contributions. It again speaks volumes for the under-appreciated talent that straps it up in the MAC.
- Speaking of the MAC --going into the game, the league that lives off of the scraps from the big table of the Big Ten had a real shot at coming out of bowl season with the best winning percentage. This game was winnable, and so are the last two that it plays. The loss hurts the MAC for those bragging rights, but the possibility is still there for the league to puff out its chest.
- Apparently a new contract has made Danny Hope a gambling maverick. Two onside kicks in the first half? Really? Those are moves that either work or backfire big time, and being locked up until 2016 for being mediocre has made the awww shucks coach brimming with gusto. So far so good...but don't look for that attitude to continue into 2012.
- The Robert Mavre experiment is officially over in West Lafayette--and there are more unfilled promises than a divorce court. Highly touted at Miami, he got shuffled in the deck with Jacory Harris, transferred to be big man on campus at Purdue and got de-railed largely because of multiple injuries. That's too bad because the kid has a killer arm. Sometimes you just end up in the wrong place at the wrong time.
- I'll be interesting to see whether Alex Carder can continue to grow-at least in the stats category with the graduation of Jordan White. White was option No. 1, 2, and 3 in the passing game, and others will have to emerge big time for the Broncos next year.
- Where did that performance from for Akeem Shavers. Yes he is a D-1 FBS running back, but to expect the back up tailback to run as wild as he did would be beyond predictions. 22 carries for 149 yards (6.8 avg.) earns the 5'11" junior MVP honors. Now, what will the coaches do next year between Bolden and Shavers? Hmm..
- I'm guessing that the Boilermakers are consuming a whole lot of crazy bread on the bus ride home after winning the bowl with Little Caesar's as the sponsor. I would be...