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The Journal Gazette

  • Associated Press Purdue quarterback David Blough suffered a leg injury late in Saturday's game when he was hit by Illinois free safety Stanley Green. Blough was carted off the field and left the stadium by ambulance.

Sunday, November 05, 2017 1:00 am

Purdue 29 Illinois 10

Boilers end skid but lose Blough

Junior QB has severe leg injury early in 4th

JEFF WASHBURN | Associated Press

WEST LAFAYETTE – Sometimes, college football victories have a bittersweet angle.

Such is the case for Purdue after snapping a three-game losing streak Saturday with a 29-10 victory against Illinois in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Junior quarterback David Blough, who led the Big Ten in passing in 2016 and was 16 of 24 for 194 yards against the Illini, suffered a severe and likely season-ending leg injury with 12:27 remaining when tackled by free safety Stanley Green inside the Illinois 5-yard line.

Blough was carted off the field while sitting upright and pumping his fist to exhort the crowd. He left the stadium by ambulance.

The Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3) outscored Illinois 16-0 during the final 30 minutes.

“I don't know for sure, but I know it's a lower-leg injury,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “I think the leg was dislocated, but I don't know for sure. It's a fairly severe injury that hopefully he can come back from.”

Meanwhile, Purdue's aggressive defense registered nine tackles for loss, including five sacks.

“I thought our defense did a good job,” said Purdue linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley, who had 12 tackles including 21/2 sacks. “Of course, it wasn't perfect. We still have some things to clean up. The second half, we're just trying to finish games. That has been our focus the past several weeks.

“Seeing us do that against what I think is an underrated football team, I feel good about that. All year, our red zone defense has been our strongest – kind of bend but don't break,” Bentley said

Illinois (2-7, 0-6) lost its seventh consecutive game, six in a row in the Big Ten.

The Purdue victory snapped a streak of five consecutive games in this series in which the visiting team came away with a victory, including the Boilermakers' 34-31 overtime victory last season in Champaign, Illinois.

The Boilermakers, who rushed for 209 yards on 44 carries, put this one away with 6:12 to play on Richie Worship's 2-yard run after strong safety Jacob Thieneman's interception of Jeff George at the Purdue 47.

“Our defense really got better as the game went on,” said Brohm, whose defense limited Illinois to 91 yards of offense in the second half. “Earlier, we were not as sharp, and they were able to hit some big plays on us.”

Purdue outgained Illinois 435 yards to 250, even though the Boilermakers were only 5 of 13 on third-down conversions.

“Throughout the course of the season, we've played good halves,” Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. “Being able to put two halves together is what we're lacking right now. We haven't been able to figure that out. We have a couple of injuries and are a beat up team right now.”

Backup quarterback Elijah Sindelar threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cole Herdman with 11:37 to play 50 seconds after the Blough injury, capping a 12-play, 91-yard drive that extended the Purdue lead to 22-10 when a two-point conversion run failed.

“Really, David's injury fueled the fire for us,” Herdman said. “We got jacked up. We wanted to punch it in; ... didn't want to throw the ball. We just wanted to run it down their throat. It really gave us energy because we wanted that touchdown for David.”

Note: Brohm improved to 17-1 in games played on Oct. 29 or later in the season.