WEST LAFAYETTE – The Big Ten opener turned into a big bust for Purdue.
Very little went right for the Boilermakers in a 44-13 loss to Michigan in front of 50,105 fans Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson had 235 rushing yards and 105 passing yards and one touchdown as the Wolverines spoiled Purdue’s chance for a statement victory.
We’re a better football team than we demonstrated today, Purdue coach Danny Hope said.
Purdue (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) won three of its four nonconference games, building momentum and buzz for the contest against the traditional Big Ten powerhouse.
Michigan (3-2, 1-0) ran right through the Boilermakers’ talented defensive line, with Robinson leading the way. Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint added two rushing touchdowns. Michigan had 304 rushing yards.
Most of it was miscommunication. Some of the calls that we had and that we needed to do, Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short said. It was more execution and communication.
Toussaint’s two touchdowns helped give the Wolverines a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter.
The offensive line did a nice job out there. Offense controlled the ball for 12 minutes (in the first quarter) and set the tempo from the start of the game, Michigan coach Brady Hoke said.
The Boilermakers went three-and-out in their first two drives. Their third drive ended when Raymon Taylor intercepted a pass and returned it 63 yards for a touchdown.
On the play, Caleb TerBush threw a high pass intended for O.J. Ross. The receiver jumped but couldn’t make the catch. Instead, the ball went to Taylor. The corner raced down the right side for the score, giving Michigan a 21-0 lead.
I just tried to work it over the top of one of the linebackers I thought might have been in the way and it was out of the reach of O.J., said TerBush, who went 16 of 25 for 105 yards. He had one touchdown and one interception.
A 23-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Devin Gardner stretched Michigan’s lead to 28-3 with 3:14 to go in the half.
Purdue’s only touchdown came on a 4-yard pass from TerBush to Ross late in the second quarter.
Purdue scored just three points in the second half, with Robert Marve returning from a knee injury to lead the team to the field goal. Marve suffered a knee injury Sept. 8 against Notre Dame. He went 5 for 8 for 43 yards and one interception.
I feel fine, Marve said. I practiced like that all week.
I don’t have any pain in my knee.
The Boilermakers couldn’t come through on third downs, converting on just 1 for 11 chances in the game. Purdue had just 56 rushing yards.
We felt like we didn’t execute like we should have, TerBush said. We felt like we had a pretty good game plan going in. The little things were biting us in the butt.
Purdue has to turn things around quickly with Wisconsin next on the schedule.
We can learn some things from the ballgame, and I think it will be a motivating factor for our football team, Hope said.
It has to be.