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Purdue leads Western Illinois at halftime

Purdue showed signs of life in the final 3:30 of the half, scoring a touchdown and getting a field goal after a turnover, and leads 17-7 over Western Illinois.

The Leathernecks, a Football Championship Subdivision team, matched the Boilermakers for most of the half.

They still finished only 34 yards behind Purdue in total offense in the half. Western had two drives of 11-plus plays that didn't lead to points and has a nearly five-minute advantage in time of possession.

Purdue has used mostly its base, 4-3 defense -- as expected -- and still gotten burned for some long runs and passes.

WIU's Caulton Ray has 44 yards on 12 carries, and quarterback Matt Barr has completed 11 of 16 passes for 158 yards.

Twice, Purdue defenders had chances at interceptions but couldn't hold onto the ball.

Offensively, Robert Marve has completed 20 of 28 passes for 163 yards, a touchdown and an interception running mostly a no-huddle, hurry-up offense.

Dan Dierking has rushed for 56 yards, including a 33-yarder, on nine carries.

Marve's interception was on a tipped pass on Purdue's first drive. On the second drive, Marve connected on a screen pass that Justin Siller took 25 yards for a touchdown. But then Purdue's offense stalled, falling victim to some penalties and dropped passes, until late in the half.

Dierking's 1-yard TD run capped a 14-play, 71-yard drive that lasted 3:04.

  • Marve missed three plays in the first quarter after he was hit hard near the head. He appeared to be getting his left shoulder looked at on the sideline, raising that arm above his head. But he looked OK after re-entering the game.
  • Cody Webster has been handling punts after kicker Carson Wiggs punted in the opener last week.
  • Logan Link started in the secondary alongside Week 1 starters Ricardo Allen, Albert Evans and Mike Eargle.
  • The team may have found its answer on kickoff returns. Freshman speedster O.J. Ross had a 45-yard return in the first half.

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