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Boilers lose on senior day, won't play in bowl

Joey Elliott had career highs with 39 completions, 55 attempts and 373 yards passing.

And it didn't matter at all to him.

Purdue couldn't continue its surprising run toward becoming bowl eligible Saturday, losing 40-37 to Michigan State on senior day at Ross-Ade Stadium.

Elliott tried not to show much emotion while speaking with reporters after the game, avoiding pointed questions about how he felt walking off the field for the final time at home, but he was clearly disappointed with ending his career with a loss at home.

He wasn't negative, but he wasn't his usual up-beat self either. His voice was hoarse, and he had to pause before answering a question about fellow senior Jaycen Taylor. ("Love that kid," he said.)

But Elliott still was proud of the effort by the seniors.

"I think we showed the Boilermaker fans it was fun to watch us," Elliott said. "I thought the seniors came out and battled and fought for us all through four quarters.

"It was a heck of an experience in Ross-Ade Stadium."

  • Senior David Pender took the blame for Michigan State's 73-yard touchdown pass that pulled the Spartans within 34-30 early in the fourth quarter. Pender was in single coverage on B.J. Cunningham on a post route. Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins heaved the ball and both players leaped to get it. Cunningham came down with it and headed to the end zone.

    "I just got beat," Pender said. "He had good position. I mis-timed my jump, and he made a great play."

  • Taylor rushed for 60 yards on nine carries, his most since getting 14 in the season opener. That was largely because starting running back Ralph Bolden tweaked his right hamstring. Bolden, who rushed for 76 yards and two TDs, said he'll be fine to play next week.

    "Our running game results from our offensive line getting upfield and making blocks," Taylor said. "The rest is easy for me and Ralph, just to run through the holes."

  • Keith Smith set career highs with 15 catches and 152 yards and moved over 1,000 yards for the season. He's the 11th Purdue player to gain that many receiving yards in a single season.
  • Coach Danny Hope said he wasn't sure if the blocked field goal was a result of a low kick or just a good push up the middle by Michigan State.
  • Hope deemed the team's kickoff coverage "very poor." For multiple reasons.

    "They've got a great return guy. No. 82 is very special," said Hope, referencing Keshawn Martin. "He does a great job making people miss. We weren't very physical. I don't know if all the kicks were placed in just the right spot. ... We have a lot of guys on our kick coverage team that aren't starters because I try to keep our starters fresh. They have a lot of starters on their special teams. Maybe we were mismatched some. We'll look at the film and see."

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