Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Siller, Purdue spank Spartans

After earning a tough road victory against Ohio State in relief of injured starter Joey Elliott, Justin Siller seemed more than comfortable at home.

When the dust settled, Siller and his Purdue Boilermakers had demoralized the visiting Michigan State Spartans. The super sophomore finished 20-24 for 321 yards and four touchdowns.

"Wow, I don't know what to say," Siller admitted while toweling himself off in the locker room. "We worked really hard this week to prepare for this game and it paid off. Got a lot of guidance from Joey (Elliott)."

The Spartans kept it close, scoring a field goal with 16 seconds left in the first half. But back-to-back plays from Purdue zapped the spirit right from them.

With 16 seconds left to go, Siller found freshman Anthony Kellner for an astounding 65-yard touchdown play that put the Boilers up 14-3 at the half.

"Kellner, you know, boy's got some wheels. He just blew past his man. All I had to do was float it up there," Siller said.

Things didn't get much better for the Spartans after that. Kick returner Waynelle Gravesande took the second half opening kickoff back to the house for a 96-yard return.

"That broke their backs," Coach Matt Adams said. "They were hanging tough, but after those two big plays, there just wasn't any fight left in those guys. 'Spartans, prepare for glory,' my ass."

Big plays fueled the Purdue offense. The Boilers had six plays that went 30 yards or more.

Of course, the game didn't start off all that well. Michigan State marched the ball all the way down to the one-yard line on its first possession. After two runs and two incomplete passes, the Boilers had an amazing stand at the goal line.

"I was proud of the effort there," Adams said. "They had momentum, and we stole it right from them. Too bad we fumbled it right back."

Siller guided the offense all the way down to the Michigan State five-yard line. On third and one, he ran a quarterback sneak, but forgot to hold onto the ball.

"Really, that was the only mistake we made all day," Adams said. That's two fumbles in two games inside the redzone. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to start calling them 'Siller specials.'"

The Boilermakers forced a punt from Michigan State on the ensuing possession, and took the lead midway through the second quarter, when Siller found Aaron Reid for a seven-yard touchdown to give Purdue a 7-0 advantage.

Time and time again, the Boilers came up with big plays, like a 36-yard pass to Dan Dierking on third down and a 36-yard pass to Aaron Valentine on second down.

"Justin was in the zone," Adams said. "If this football team wants to win, we're going to need play like this from him for the rest of the season."

Even if Joey Elliott is due to return next week?

"I don't know if Joey's going to be back. I hear he's having complications with his elbow injury."

"Problems? What problems? Where did you hear that? Joey's progressing fine," team trainer Dr. Peter Rosenrosen said.

"Joey told me he was still experiencing some pain," Adams countered. "I just don't want to put him in. I mean, you know, unless he's 100%."

"You know, let's talk about the game. What was with Michigan State's game plan? I mean, we're knocking the snot out of them and they're still trying to run the ball. When it's 28-3, you shouldn't run a counter play."


Anthony Kellner had another great game with five catches for 100 yards and a addition to his game-changing 96-yard kickoff return touchdown, Waynelle Gravesande also pulled in a 44-yard TD catch...Dan Dierking carried 13 times for just 37 yards; he also caught four passes for 53 yards...the 300-yard performance from Justin Siller is the first of his career; the four TD passes are a career high as well...Luke Campbell had another solid effort, catching four balls for 49 yards...linebackers Ryan Tyson, Kevin Green, and Michael Davis each had seven tackles apiece...Purdue outgained MSU in offense 372 yards to 182

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