WEST LAFAYETTE – Purdue passed its final non-conference test of the regular season with a big passing day by Caleb TerBush.
The quarterback threw for a career-high 294 yards and four touchdowns as the Boilermakers defeated Marshall 51-41 in front of 45,481 fans Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.
We had a lot of momentum coming in off the bye week. The whole offense felt good, TerBush said. We came out and scored on the first drive and kept the ball moving all day.
Wide receiver Gary Bush had 83 receiving yards and three touchdowns. The defense also had some big moments. Ricardo Allen and Josh Johnson returned interceptions for scores during a 28-point second quarter.
The interceptions are a great thing for us, but the end of the day, coming out with the win is more important, Johnson said.
Purdue led 42-14 at halftime. The Thundering Herd got within 10 points late, but the Boilermakers made enough plays at the end to improve to 3-1.
It was a great team effort, a great collective effort, Purdue coach Danny Hope said.
Purdue finished with 443 yards of total offense. Marshall (2-3) had 534 total yards of offense. Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato completed 45 of 68 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns. He also had three crucial interceptions.
The game had all the makings of a shootout from the kickoff, and it was tied at 14 early in the second quarter.
And then the Boilermakers scored 28 consecutive points.
Akeem Shavers scored on a 2-yard run to cap a 75-yard drive and give Purdue a 21-14 lead.
Four plays from scrimmage later, Purdue safety Antoine Lewis intercepted a pass.
Purdue capitalized on the turnover when TerBush threw a 35-yard touchdown to Bush. The wide receiver became the first Boilermaker to have three touchdown catches in a game since Taylor Stubblefield on Nov. 20, 2004.
Fellow wide receiver Antavian Edison caught six passes for 99 yards and one touchdown.
Marshalls Tommy Shuler caught 19 passes for 200 yards.
But the Herd couldnt overcome mistakes.
Allen intercepted a Cato pass and returned it 39 yards for a touchdown to extend the lead to 35-14. It was Allens school-record fourth interception return for a score. He had shared the record with Mike Rose and Rod Woodson.
Its an unbelievable honor, but it all goes to my team, he said. It all starts with pressure from the defensive line and the linebackers, and they did a great job of that today.
Four plays from scrimmage later, Johnson read a pass perfectly, picked it off and returned it 74 yards for a touchdown. It was the first time Purdue ever returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the same game.
I jumped (the route) and got a pick, Johnson said.
The Herd cut the deficit to 10 on a couple of occasions in the second half, but Purdue linebacker Will Lucas recovered a fumble in the final minute to help the Boilermakers continue their best start since 2007, when the team won its first five games.
We are 3-1 and more important than that, were 3-0 at Ross-Ade, Hope said. We really feel if we can go undefeated at Ross-Ade, well be in good position to compete for the Leaders Division.