Friday, January 16, 2009

Fake Boilers update

Editor's note: Depression over the Colts loss severely affected my output on TFT. To make matters worse, Purdue lost to IU in the bucket game the day after the Colts lost. I didn't exactly feel like writing a whole lot after those two blows. Below you'll find capsule reviews of the Boilers' final two regular season games and a larger write up on the fake Boilers' Sugar Bowl matchup against Southern Miss.

Indiana 24, Purdue 20

With 11 seconds remaining, Kellen Lewis provided the decisive score with a quarterback draw to lead the Indiana Hoosiers over hated rival Purdue, 24-20. The touchdown gave the host Hoosiers the Big Ten Championship and the coveted Old Oaken Bucket. Just a season ago, Purdue dominated the Hoosiers at Ross-Aide Stadium en route to a national title.

Purdue had scored the go-ahead field goal with a minute left in the game. Armed with three timeouts and splendid play from Lewis, the Hoosiers marched downfield for the dramatic finish. He ran up the middle relatively untouched.

"What an amazing game," IU Coach Jason Sims said after being carried off the field by his players. "Purdue always plays tough, but the home crowd was great and Kellen was amazing on that last drive."

"All the credit in the world to Indiana," a frustrated Matt Adams told reporters in his post-game press conference. "They outplayed us in almost every facet today."

Lewis finished 16-25 with 196 yards, two passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown.

For Purdue, Justin Siller was 25-33 for 280 yards and two touchdowns. He threw two costly interceptions. Tight end Kyle Adams had nine catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

Purdue 42, Alabama 28

Charlton Williams returned a fourth-quarter interception 104 yards with 20 seconds left to give Purdue a hard-fought win over one-win Arkansas. The Razorbacks had threatened to tie the game late before Williams stepped in front of a pass four yards deep in the end zone and ran it all the way back.

Purdue overcame four turnovers and a relentless Arkansas offense to clinch its tenth win of the year.

Justin Siller finished 26-35 for 372 yards and five touchdowns. However, his four interceptions disrupted several Boilermaker drives. Anthony Kellner caught eight passes for 174 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown. The freshman eclipsed the 1,000 yard mark for the season. Senior tight end Kyle Adams continued his late season surge, reeling in 11 balls for 108 yards and three scores.

BOILERS WIN NAIL-BITER IN SUGAR BOWL

To be perfectly honest, no one expected much out of seventh-ranked Purdue. The Boilermakers hit some rough spots during the end of their season, losing to rival Indiana and barely defeating one-win Arkansas.So it surprised the football world when Purdue took down undefeated Southern Miss in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

"We're a Big Ten team and we're supposed to win games like this," Coach Matt Adams said. "But just about everybody picked us to lose. I can't really blame them, considering the way we sputtered at the end of the year."

Much like the end of the Boilermakers' season, this one wasn't easy, with Purdue needing overtime to take down the fourth-ranked Golden Eagles, who dominated Conference USA on their way to a pristine 13-0 record. They became the darlings of the media, the non-BCS school ready to make it big with a victory over a power conference team.

The Golden Eagles got on the scoreboard first, getting a 33-yard field goal from Justin Estes to take a 3-0 lead. Purdue answered by driving down to Southern Mississippi's 33-yard line. Sophomore quarterback Justin Siller threw an interception that derailed the drive. Purdue's defense held, but with one quarter down, Southern Miss led 3-0.

"Looking at the scoreboard was kind of depressing," Siller admitted. "We'd executed all right, we'd played good defense, but we had nothing to show for it."

Siller went back to work, leading an impressive drive that gave Purdue its first lead. He found his favorite target, tight end Kyle Adams, for a four-yard score that made it 7-3 after the extra point with 2:30 left in the half.Purdue's defense failed to provide another stop, allowing the Eagles to convert on three third downs. Quarterback Martevious Young found Deandre Brown for a 32-yard score that gave Southern Miss a 10-7 lead. Cornerback David Pender gambled for the interception, but Brown came down with the ball. He sidestepped Pender for the easy score with 38 to play in the half.

"That guy is huge," Pender said, referring to Brown's 6'6", 210-pound frame. "I thought I had that one, but he just out-muscled me for it."

Waynelle Gravesande returned the ensuing kickoff to Purdue's 45-yard line. With 28 seconds to go and three timeouts, Siller guided Purdue to the Eagles' 13-yard line. The big play was a 20-yard pass to Adams, who stepped out of bounds with one second on the clock. Chris Summers converted a 30-yard field goal to tie the game at halftime.

"That was a huge drive all the way around," Coach Adams said. "If we'd had just ten more seconds on the clock, I bet we get into the endzone. Still, it was good to have a tie ballgame."

Purdue's first drive in the second half ended in a turnover, when wide receiver Aaron Valentine was stripped by strong safety Justin Wilson after a 21-yard reception. The turnover derailed a promising drive."It's something that really bit us at the end of the year," Valentine said soberly. "We didn't take care of the ball very well. I don't like contributing to that."

The Boilers' stout defense held again, and Purdue's offense came alive, driving down to the two-yard line. Siller ended it on third-and-two with a quarterback keeper, making the game 17-10.

Pender made up for his earlier gamble, picking off Young at the five-yard line. It looked like a first down or two would cement the game for the Boilermakers. Facing third-and-two, Siller tried to find Adams for a first down. The pass was intercepted, breathing new life into the Golden Eagles.

"My heart almost jumped out of my chest," Coach Adams said, exasperated. "I couldn't believe that. Great play by Southern Miss, but Justin has to make better decisions in crunch time."

Southern Miss drove all the way to the one-yard line. Two runs ended in a net gain of -1 yards. On third down, Young hit George Baptiste for a one-yard score to tie the game at 17 all."That was a frustrating play," Adams explained. "We had pretty good coverage. Just a good throw. No pass rush whatsoever."

At that point, it looked like Purdue would come away a winner as Siller drove down to the field. With 51 seconds remaining, Siller called an inexplicable timeout, preserving some much-needed clock for Southern Miss. Facing fourth-and-one at the 25, Coach Matt Adams made the mind-boggling decision to go for it instead of kicking the field goal. Siller's pass to Anthony Kellner fell incomplete, and Southern Miss got the ball back.

"You know, I complained about Justin's decision-making earlier. I think I should take a good look in the mirror," Adams said, shaking his head. "My thought process was...hell, I don't know what my thought process was. Summers would've made the kick. The defense probably would've held. My stubborn pride...I wanted to put the game away for sure. Terrible, terrible decision."

After gaining eight yards on three plays, the Golden Eagles punted. Freshman Luke Campbell returned the ball to the 50-yard line with eight seconds remaining. Two desperation heaves by Siller fell incomplete, sending the game into overtime.

Southern Miss won the toss and decided to bring out its offense. On third down, tight end Jonathan Massey dropped a crucial pass. It looked for a moment like he would have enough room to pick up the first down. Instead, the Golden Eagles settled for a 34-yard field goal from Estes.

"Just one of those things, man. I thought I had it and I never secured the ball. Pop Warner stuff," a dejected Massey said.

On Purdue's first play, Siller found Luke Campbell for a nine-yard completion. Dan Dierking ran for two yards to pick up the first down. On the next play, Dierking picked his way ahead for a three-yard gain. That set up a second-down pass to Adams, who was stopped two yards shy of the first down.

Purdue came out in its shotgun spread. Siller called an aubible, sidestepped a pair of blitzing defenders, and delivered a perfect strike to freshman Aaron Reid, who put a nasty move on C.J. Bailey before sprinting into the endzone for the game-winning score.
"They were loading up for the run. I didn't think we were going to pick it up. So I called an audible. I knew if I could just buy enough time, one of my guys would beat the coverage," Siller said.

"I give Justin a lot of freedom in this offense," Coach Adams said. "He made a great throw. Aaron's move was even better. He had that Bailey kid twisted up in knots."Just like that, Southern Mississippi's dream season was over, and the Boilermakers had found some semblance of redemption for a disappointing season.