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Dierking has big day

Purdue wanted to focus on improving its running game Saturday.

The result -- with some help from Football Championship Subdivision opponent Western Illinois -- was 227 yards and Dan Dierking's first career 100-yard rushing game.

Dierking had 102 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns, and Al-Terek McBurse added 81 yards on five carries and had a spectacular 40-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

"Our running game really improved," Dierking said. "Hopefully, we can get all cylinders clicking next week."

Dierking, who got his second consecutive start, set his previous career high in rushing last week against Notre Dame. Dierking had 56 yards in that one, the same amount he had in the first half against Western Illinois.

He was hardly touched on either of his touchdown runs, a 1-yarder inside right tackle with a nice block from Nick Mondek late in the first half and then a 5-yarder with a lead block from Jared Crank on the right side in the third quarter.

"It felt good," Dierking said of his performance. "Lot of fun out there. A lot of it had to do with the offensive line, so I have to thank them first.

"Late in the game, I think the offensive line was really meshing well and really making blocks downfield, which makes my job a lot easier."

McBurse may have had the most impressive run of the game. He appeared to be down after a hit and spinning near the ground, but somehow he used his hand to brace himself. Then he got up and zipped down the right sideline for the long touchdown.

"I felt like they did a good job coach-wise of putting him in good situations," quarterback Robert Marve said of McBurse. "He needs to keep turning his legs, man. We need him to run hard. We need him to play fast. I was happy with the touchdown, and I hope he can keep it up."

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