A Great End To A New Beginning

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Jason Werner had an interception and six tackles in the Black & Gold Game on Saturday.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Jason Werner had an interception and six tackles in the Black & Gold Game on Saturday.
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

April 18, 2009

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue football fans could not have asked for a better day: Plenty of sunshine, an entertaining Black & Gold Game and lots of interaction with the Boilermaker players and coaches.

Purdue wrapped up spring practice with a controlled scrimmage and modified scoring Saturday before an estimated crowd of 5,000 at Ross-Ade Stadium. The offense won a physical battle 36-29.

"One of our priorities this spring was to develop as a physical, hard-hitting football team, and today was no different," first-year head coach Danny Hope said. "I liked a lot of what I saw the last four weeks. The players have bought into our plan and have worked extremely hard. We had a get a lot accomplished this spring, and we did that.

"I thought today was great. It was nice to see so many loyal Boilermaker fans in attendance, and I hope the enjoyed the contact with our team before and after the game. I also am excited about all the former players we had back. That's very important to our football program, bridging the past with the present as we build for the future."

Buoyed by 421 yards passing and 299 on the ground, the offense scored five touchdowns - two apiece rushing by Ralph Bolden (both from 1 yard out) and Dan Dierking (7 and 4 yards) and one through the air from Joey Elliott to Keith Smith (6 yards).

Carson Wiggs kicked a pair of field goals from 52 and 35 yards.

The defense tallied 15 points on five turnovers - interceptions by linebacker Jason Werner and safety Logan Link and fumble recoveries by tackle Kawann Short and ends Gerald Gooden and Nickcaro Golding. The other 14 points came on three-and-outs worth one point each.

Bolden rushed for 153 yards on 26 carries, while Dierking had 95 yards on 19 attempts. Elliott completed 20 of 33 passes for 193 yards, and Caleb TerBush was 16 of 34 passing for 185 yards. Both quarterbacks were intercepted once.

Keith Smith led all receivers with eight catches for 99 yards, followed by Aaron Valentin with six catches for 84 yards and tight end Jeff Lindsay (5 for 50).

"We have progressed and gotten a lot better from the first practice of the spring to today," Elliott said. "We played pretty well today. There were some mistakes, but I was happy with how it went. It's always good when you get the win.

"Keith and Aaron played great, ran good routes and caught the ball really well. A lot of different young guys showed promise over the course of the spring and will be better players in the fall."

The offense led 9-7 after one quarter and 30-20 after three quarters. The score was tied 15-apiece at halftime.

Six players had six tackles each to lead the defense: safety Albert Evans, linebacker Joe Holland, linebacker John Humphrey, safety Josh McKinley, Short and Werner. Holland had three pass breakups, while Short came up with two pass breakups and a tackle for loss. Gooden recorded the game's only sack.

"I think we played really well today despite the scoring," Werner said. "I was proud of the effort we gave. We have come a long way since the beginning of spring practice."