September 19, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Mike Hawthorne and Billy Gustin combined for a 100-yard return of an intercepted pass as Purdue scored twice within three minutes Saturday on the way to a 35-7 victory over Central Florida.
Purdue (2-1) withstood a 368-yard passing effort by Duante Culpepper, who avoided the school's first shutout since 1984 when he threw a 12-yard scoring pass to Siaha Burley with 3:42 left in the game. Central Florida (2-1) moved 76 yards in 12 plays for the score.
The Boilermakers responded on the following kickoff, moving toward a 27-yard touchdown run by J.Crabtree. The score gave him 118 yards on 18 carries.
Hawthorne came up with the first interception of a pass by
Culpepper this season in the end zone on a third-down play and returned it 65 yards. Just as he was being tackled he lateraled to Gustin, who completed the run into the end zone. It was Purdue's longest return of an interception since Rod Woodson's 100-yard return against Iowa in 1986.
The score came with 7:31 left in the first half, when Purdue had the ball for only 10:24. The Knights were stopped twice inside the Purdue 5 and had a field goal blocked.
Purdue scored with 9:54 left in the half on Drew Brees' 8-yard pass to Gabe Cox, who caught the ball in the end zone after it was deflected by cornerback Davis Bush. The score followed Brees' 25-yard pass to Randall Lane.
The Boilermakes put together drives of 80 and 91 yards in the second half to pull away.
Purdue moved 80 yards in five plays following the second-half kickoff, scoring on Brees' 38-yard strike to Cliff Jackson.
The Boilermakers went 91 yads in 12 plays to score on a 4-yard run by Dondre Johnson, who carried eight times for 58 yards on the drive. .
Culpepper, who went into the game second nationally in total offense with
918 yards, was consistently challenged by blitzes. He still managed to complete
30-of-47 passes. He was limited to seven yards on nine rushes.