Early takeaways spring Purdue over Eastern Kentucky 45-24

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Leroy Clark and Gelen Robinson's first-quarter interceptions helped Purdue build an early 21-0 lead, and the Boilermakers outlasted Football Championship Subdivision opponent Eastern Kentucky 45-24 in the season opener for both teams Saturday.
 
Clark's interception of Maty Mauk, the fifth-year graduate transfer quarterback from Missouri, set up Purdue's second touchdown and a 14-0 lead, and Robinson's 78-yard interception return for a score pushed the Boilermakers' advantage to 21-0 with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.
 
Markell Jones scored on a 3-yard run to cap an efficient opening drive for Purdue.
 
While Eastern Kentucky out gained the Boilermakers 284-243 during the first 30 minutes, Purdue built a led 28-18 at halftime, thanks to the 14 points as a result of interceptions.
 
Boilermaker redshirt sophomore quarterback David Blough ran for two touchdowns and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, giving Purdue a 28-8 lead late in the second quarter.
 
Jones carried 24 times for 143 yards for a Purdue team that now has won 13 consecutive home openers, including 4-0 for fourth-year head coach Darrell Hazell, now 7-30 with the Boilermakers. Hazell is 4-0 against FCS opponents.
 
Each team struggled to generate any third-quarter offense, especially after Colonels quarterback Bennie Coney, who replaced Mauk in the first quarter, took a hard hit while scrambling and was helped to the sideline, prompting Mauk's return.
 
Purdue finally broke the second-half scoring drought on Blough's second TD run, a 1-yard plunge with 12:48 remaining in the game to extend the lead to 35-18.
 
J.D. Dellinger's 30-yard field goal with 4:56 to play capped a 13-play, 66-yard drive and gave the Boilermakers a 38-18 lead.
 
Blough finished 25 of 43 for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Domonique Young caught eight passes for 74 yards.
 
Purdue capped its scoring with a 48-yard touchdown run from freshman Brian Lankford-Johnson with 4:23 left. The Colonels got a TD with 1:34 remaining to complete the scoring.
 
TAKEAWAY
 
Purdue: While the Boilermakers pulled away during the final 12:48, they led their FCS opponent by just 10 points heading into the final quarter in front of only 32,074 fans on a gorgeous September afternoon. Purdue finished with 512 yards of offense and snapped a four-game losing streak to end the 2015 season.
 
Eastern Kentucky: If Coney is able to play next week after taking a hard hit in the second half, the Colonels' coaching staff will have a difficult decision to make at quarterback. Mauk struggled at Purdue, but he was 17-5 as a starter at Missouri. It was clear Saturday that the Eastern Kentucky offense had a better rhythm with Coney under center.
 
UP NEXT
 
Purdue: The Boilermakers are home again on Sept. 10, hosting Cincinnati at noon. The Bearcats defeated Purdue in September of 2013 in Hazell's first game with the Boilermakers, 42-7 in Cincinnati. The Bearcats opened the season Thursday night with a 28-7 victory against Tennessee-Martin.
 
Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels will attempt to give coach Mark Elder his first victory at EKU on Thursday when they play Pikeville.
 

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment