Football Game Notes - vs. Northern Illinois

Sept. 14, 2009

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Purdue vs. Northern Illinois Series Information
Series record: First Meeting
Purdue points: First Meeting
NIU points: First Meeting
Series record in West Lafayette: First Meeting
In Ross-Ade Stadium: First Meeting
Series record at NIU: N/A
In Huskie Stadium: N/A
Games decided by 3 points or less: First Meeting
Games decided by 7 points or less: First Meeting
Longest Purdue win streak: First Meeting
Longest NIU win streak: First Meeting
Current streak: First Meeting
Largest Purdue victory: First Meeting
Largest NIU victory: First Meeting
Last Purdue home victory: First Meeting
Last Purdue road victory: N/A
Last NIU home victory: N/A
Last NIU road win: First Meeting

The Boilermakers return home after narrowly missing out on a victory at Oregon ... Purdue and Northern Illinois, two schools which have resided just 181 miles away from each other for over 110 years, meet up for the first time on the gridiron ... Ralph Bolden looks to continue his hold on the top spot for rushing yards in the FBS ... The Boilers enter the third week of the season leading the Big Ten in total offense and scoring, and are second in rushing.

The Boilermakers are an even-Steven 2-2-1 on Sept. 19 in program history ... In 1998, Purdue hosted Daunte Culpepper and Central Florida for a non-conference tilt in Ross-Ade Stadium ... In addition to J. Crabtree rushing for 118 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries and Drew Brees throwing for 223 yards and two scores, Michael Hawthorne and Billy Gustin teamed up for the longest interception return in school history in the 35-7 win over the Knights. Hawthorne picked off a second quarter Culpepper pass at the Purdue goal line and returned it 65 yards before lateraling it to Gustin, who took it the final 35 yards for a score.

Sophomore Ralph Bolden's 357 yards rushing on 50 carries this season not only leads the Football Bowl Subdivision, it also marks the best start to a year by any Boiler running back in school history. Purdue's all-time leading rusher, Mike Alstott, best two-game effort to start a season came in his junior year of 1994 when he put together 255 yards on 35 carries against Toledo (16-99 yards) and Ball State (19-156, 4 TD). Kory Sheets, who finished his Purdue career in 2008 as the program's second-best rusher all-time, had 261 yards on 45 carries against Northern Colorado (16-81, 2 TD) and Oregon (29-180, 2 TD) to open last year. Finally, Otis Armstrong, who falls just behind Alstott and Sheets on the all-time Purdue rushing record list, had 205 yards rushing in the first two games of the 1971 campaign (also his junior year) against Washington (19-121, TD) and Notre Dame (29-84).
Otis Armstrong
1970 - 22-100 vs. TCU; 11-68 at Notre Dame (Two-game total - 33-168)
1971 - 19-121, TD at Washington; 29-84 vs. Notre Dame (48-205, TD)
1972 - 19-105, TD vs. Bowling Green; 12-35 vs. Washington (31-140)
Mike Alstott
1992 - 0-0 vs. Cal; 3-6 vs. Toledo (3-6)
1993 - 13-55 at NC State; 12-100 vs. Western Michigan (25-155)
1994 - 16-99 vs. Toledo; 19-156, 4 TDs vs. Ball State (35-255, 4 TDs)
1995 - 17-109 at West Virginia; 21-115 vs. Notre Dame (38-224)
Kory Sheets
2005 - 11-42, TD vs. Akron; 11-29 vs. Arizona (22-71, TD)
2006 - 17-128, 3 TDs vs. Indiana State; 14-60 , 4 TDs vs. Miami (Ohio) (31-188, 7 TDs)
2007 - 11-90, TD at Toledo; 9-29 vs. Eastern Illinois (20-119, TD)
2008 - 16-81, 2 TDs vs. N. Colorado, 29-180, 2 TDs vs. Oregon (45-261, 4 TDs)
Ralph Bolden
2009 - 21-234, 2 TDs vs. Toledo; 29-123, 2 TDs at Oregon (50-357, 4 TDs)

All three games in the series between Purdue and Oregon have been decided by six points or less (13-7 Purdue in 1979, 32-26 Oregon in 2 OT in 2008 and 38-36 Oregon in 2009) ... The Keith Smith to Aaron Valentin pass with 1:01 in the fourth quarter was the longest TD drive in terms on time of possession (5:41) and number of plays (14) ... Brandon King (thigh) did not suit up for the game in Eugene and had his team-best string of 26 consecutive starts snapped ... Bolden (28 carries for 123 yards on Saturday) became the first Boilermaker since Kory Sheets in 2007 to rush for 100 or more yards in back-to-back games. Sheets rushed for 100 or more yards in three consecutive games against Central Michigan (21-144, 2 TD), at Minnesota (21-111, 1 TD) and Notre Dame (27-141, 1 TD) ... Bolden became the first Boilermaker running back to rush for over 100 yards in the first two games of the season since Jerod Void did so against Akron (10-101, 1 TD) and Arizona (18-107, 3 TDs) to open 2005 ... Bolden's 29 carries were a career-high for the sophomore and the most for a Purdue running back since Kory Sheets rushed 30 times for 118 yards against Michigan last season ... Bolden also hauled in a career-high three receptions for 52-yards including a career-log 22-yarder for a touchdown in the fourth quarter ... Aaron Valentin (8 catches) and Kyle Adams (4 catches) recorded career-highs for receptions ... Quarterback Joey Elliott had career-highs in completions (24), attempts (41) and passing yards (266) ... Quarterback-turned-safety-turned-wide receiver Keith Smith completed his first career pass on a 15-yard scoring strike to Aaron Valentin with 1:01 left in the game. He also finished the game with four receptions for 68 yards ... Defensively, Purdue's nine tackles for loss against Oregon were the most since the Boilers finished with nine stops behind the line against Central Michigan in the 2007 Motor City Bowl. Purdue had 13 TFLs against Indiana in the final game of the regular season in 2007 ... Gerald Gooden's sack in the first quarter was the first of the season by a Boilermaker player and the third of his career. ... Jason Werner and Joe Holland also posted their first sacks of the season, the second career sack for both players ... Werner's three TFLs marked a career high for the senior linebacker.

Head coach Danny Hope, offensive coordinator Gary Nord and quarterback Joey Elliott showed a little bit of trickeration at Oregon on Sept. 12. On the advice of Elliott, the Boilers called on former quarterback Keith Smith to take a hand off and pull up to pass. With just 1:01 left on the clock in the game, Smith fired a 15-yard scoring strike to fellow receiver Aaron Valentin to nearly rally the Boilermakers to a victory over the Ducks. A narrowly missed two-point conversion is all that kept Purdue from tying the game late and possibly forcing overtime. The last time Purdue had a non-quarterback throw a touchdown pass in a contest came in 2006 when wide receiver Desmond Tardy found tight end Kyle Adams on a 25-yard throw-and-catch for a score at Hawaii on Nov. 25. Tardy and quarterback Curtis Painter hooked up for a 18-yard non-scoring play last season against Indiana.

Largely unnoticed by the masses in Purdue's 38-36 loss at Oregon last Saturday were the strides made in the passing defense. After allowing 423 yards passing (albeit just 6.1 yards per attempt) to Toledo, Purdue limited the high-flying Oregon offense to just 163 passing yards last weekend. Additionally, the Purdue defensive held a Duck offense that finished seventh nationally last season with an average of 484.85 yards per game (including 503 against the Boilermakers) to just 356 total markers last Saturday.

Even under the direction of new management, the Boilers have done of fine job keeping it clean. Through the first two games of the season, Purdue has committed just eight penalties for 49 yards (24.5 yards per game), while Toledo and Oregon, also under first-year head coaches, have been flagged 14 times for 106 yards (53.0 yards per game). The 9-to-4 penalty discrepancy in the Boilers' favor last Saturday at Autzen Stadium was the largest in a Purdue game since Minnesota was flagged 14 times to Purdue's five last season.

Purdue has faced 10 of the 13 schools that currently call the Mid-American Conference home ... The Boilers are 37-7-1 all-time against MAC schools ... Purdue will erase one of the three MAC members it has never faced when it hosts Northern Illinois this weekend - Buffalo and Temple are the other two ... Miami (Ohio) is the most-played opponent out of the MAC for the Boilermakers - 13 games since 1945 ... The most recent meeting with a school from the conference came in the opener this season when the Boilermakers defeated Toledo 52-31 in Ross-Ade Stadium.

Purdue vs. The Mid-American Conference
Teams 			Record 	Last Meeting
Akron 			2-0 	2005 in West Lafayette
Ball State 		7-0 	2006 in West Lafayette
Bowling Green 		0-2 	2003 in West Lafayette
Buffalo 			0-0 	Never played
Central Michigan 		5-0 	2008 in West Lafayette
Eastern Michigan		1-0 	1991 in West Lafayette
Kent State 		1-0 	2000 in West Lafayette
Miami (Ohio) 		9-3-1 	2006 in West Lafayette
Northern Illinois 		0-0 	Never played
Ohio 			7-0 	1988 in West Lafayette
Temple 			0-0 	Never played
Toledo 			3-2 	2009 in West Lafayette
Western Michigan   	2-0 	2002 in West Lafayette 

When the Boilermakers host Northern Illinois on Sept. 19 it will mark the first-ever meeting between the two schools. Purdue has been pretty unkind to others when playing for the first time, posting a 79-28-3 record (.732) in the initial meeting against 110 different opponents.

Northern Illinois heads to West Lafayette for the first time in school history toting a 1-1 overall record with a loss to Wisconsin to open the season and a win over Western Illinois last weekend ... The Huskies have run a pretty balanced offense, statistically speaking, averaging 172 yards rushing and 162.5 yards passing per game ... Individually, running back Me'co Brown leads the way with 181 yards on 25 carries (7.2 YPC) and one touchdown ... Quarterback Chandler Harnish has completed 65.5 percent of his passes (25 for 38) and thrown for 317 yards and two scores with no interceptions ... Defensively, the Huskies are allowing only 328 yards of total offense per game to the opposition thus far ... Something will have to give in the running game, as Purdue is averaging 5.8 yards per carry while the Huskies are allowing only 3.5 ... Head coach Jerry Kill is in his second season at NIU and has posted a 7-8 overall record in DeKalb.

Linebacker Jason Werner leads the Boilermakers with 19 total tackles this season, 16 of which are solo stops. Werner's tackles for loss average (2.0) places him in a tie for 18th nationally among FBS players ... Werner's not the only one tackling in space - Of Purdue's 55 tackles at Oregon, 45 were unassisted. For the season 95 of Purdue's 129 tackles are solo stops (74 percent).

Not the mythical creature from the Pacific Northwest, but rather the right foot of Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs. The sophomore booted the longest field goal in school history (59 yards) as time expired in the first half of the Boilermakers' season opener against Toledo. Wiggs' kick tied the Ross-Ade Stadium record and tied for the seventh-longest in Big Ten history.
Longest Field Goals in Big Ten History
63 Yards - Morten Anderson, Michigan State at Ohio State 9/19/1981
62 Yards - Pat O'Dea, Wisconsin vs. Northwestern 10/14/1899 (drop kick)
62 Yards - Chip Lohmiller, Minnesota vs. Iowa 11/22/1986
61 Yards - Ralf Mojsiejenko, Michigan State at Illinois 9/11/1982
60 Yards - Pat O'Dea, Wisconsin at Minnesota 11/18/1899 (drop kick)
60 Yards - John Hall, Wisconsin vs. Minnesota 10/1/1983
59 Yards - Tom Skladany, Ohio State at Illinois 11/8/1975 (place kick)
59 Yards - Ralf Mojsiejenko, Michigan State at Purdue 10/1/1983
59 Yards - Carson Wiggs, Purdue vs. Toledo 9/5/2009

Slow starts have not been a trademark of Purdue of late. The Boilers have emerged from September with a winning record 10 times in the last 12 years, including four times with an unblemished mark, and have gone 2-2 in the other two years.
Successful Septembers (* Denotes game played in August)

1997 3-1 - @Toledo, L/Notre Dame, W/Ball State, W/Northwestern, W
1998 2-2 - @ USC*, L/Rice, W/C. Florida, W/@Notre Dame, L
1999 4-0 - @ C. Florida, W/Notre Dame, W/C. Michigan, W/Northwestern, W
2000 3-2 - C. Michigan, W/Kent St., W/@ Notre Dame, L/Minnesota, W/@ Penn St., L
2001 3-0 - @ Cincinnati, W/Akron, W/@ Minnesota, W
2002 3-2 - Illinois St.*, W/@ Notre Dame, L/W. Michigan, W/Wake Forest, L/Minnesota, W
2003 3-1 - Bowling Green, L/@ Wake Forest, W/Arizona, W/Notre Dame, W
2004 3-0 - Syracuse, W/Ball St., W/@ Illinois, W
2005 2-1 - Akron, W/@ Arizona, W/@ Minnesota, L
2006 4-1 - Indiana St., W/Miami (O), W/Ball St., W/Minnesota, W/@ Notre Dame, L
2007 5-0 - @ Toledo, W/E. Illinois, W/C. Michigan, W/@Minnesota, W/Notre Dame, W
2008 2-2 - N. Colorado, W/Oregon, L/C. Michigan, W/@ Notre Dame, L
2009 1-1 - Toledo, W,/@ Oregon, L/Northern Illinois/Notre Dame

On Sept. 5 Danny Hope became the 34th person to lead the Boilermakers on to the field as the head coach. Dating back to the first season in 1887, and including Hope's 52-31 win over Toledo, first-time Purdue coaches have gone 18-16 in their initial game.

It's been well documented that Joey Elliott has been very patient in waiting for the reigns as the starting quarterback at Purdue. Now the guy under center, Elliott has already surpassed his previous three-year career numbers in attempts (49/69), completions (27/41), passing yards (300/486) and touchdowns (2/4) in just two games played.

Senior Joey Elliott started his first career game under center against Toledo on Sept. 5. Known as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks", Purdue has had more than its fair share of prolific signal callers. A look at some of the notable first starts for Boilermaker QBs.

First Career Starts
Player, Year       	Opponent, Result   	Comp-Att-Int	Yards	TD	Long
Bob Griese, 1964  *	vs. Ohio, W 17-0   	8-13-0    	119	0	24
Mike Phipps, 1967  	vs. Texas A&M, W 24-20	17-35-2   	254	1	34
Gary Danielson, 1970	Illinois, L 23-21  	13-26-1   	214	1	63
Mark Herrmann, 1977	at Michigan State, L 19-14	20-32-2   	282	2	53
Scott Campbell, 1981	vs. Stanford, W 27-19	14-18-1   	177	1	28
Jim Everett, 1983  	Miami, L 35-0      	16-32-2   	186	0	23
Eric Hunter, 1989  	at Michigan, L 42-27	27-42-2   	344	4	44
Billy Dicken, 1997 	at Toledo, L 36-22 	13-35-2   	207	1	73
Drew Brees, 1998   	at USC, L 27-17    	30-52-2   	248	2	43
Kyle Orton, 2001   	at Indiana, L 13-7 	31-62-0   	263	1	35
Curtis Painter, 2005	at Wisconsin, L 31-20	23-44-3   	212	1	28
Joey Elliott, 2009 	vs. Toledo, W 52-31	17-18-3   	220	3	34
* Griese scored all 17 points for Purdue against Ohio on Sept. 26, 1964. The sophomore scored two rushing touchdowns, kicked both extra points and added a field goal.

Senior cornerback David Pender has a knack for knocking down the opposition's passing attack. With a pair of passes defended against Toledo on Sept. 5, Pender increased his career total 22 PBUs, a figure that ties for 17th all-time in school history. Pender needs four more PBUs to move into the all-time ten and 13 more to tie Steve Jackson (35 from 1987-90) for the top spot in the Purdue record book.

Sophomore kicker Carson Wiggs has been named to the watch list to the Lou Groza Award. The Groza Award is presented annually to the top place kicker in the country. Including his school-record 59-yarder last weekend against Toledo, Wiggs is 9 for 12 on field goal attempts in his career at Purdue.

The Boilermakers voted on their 2009 team captains following the spring practices and elected seniors Joey Elliott (QB), Mike Neal (DT), Jason Werner (LB), Torri Williams (S) and Jared Zwilling (C).

Senior cornerback Brandon King had his team-high 26 consecutive games started streak end last weekend at Oregon to hand the new streak to classmate Zach Jones. Jones has started 26 straight starts at offensive tackle. Sophomore linebacker Joe Holland has started all 14 games of his young Purdue career, while junior defensive end Ryan Kerrigan has started 13 consecutive games after missing the first game last season due to an ankle injury.

Head coach Danny Hope awarded scholarships to four deserving walkons as training camp came to a close. The quartet is quarterback Chris Bennett, long snapper Andy Huffman, fullback Jarrod Shaw and wide receiver Adam Wolf.

Senior Mike Neal is big, athletic and most impressive strong. The defensive tackle describes his team-best bench press as: "510 pounds is my max; I probably could do more if I tried, but once I obtained that goal I just stopped. It feels pretty good to be able to achieve that number." Neal returns for his final year coming off of a 2008 season that saw him post a career-high 33 total tackles, which included 10 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks.

Purdue went 64 or more yards on its five touchdown drives at Oregon (76, 70, 70, 68, 64). The average length of the touchdown drives was 69.6 yards. For the year, seven of Purdue's 12 touchdown drives have cover 60 or more yards ... After failing on its lone fourth-down try against Toledo, Purdue went a perfect 3-for-3 at Oregon, including a 15-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter ... Purdue is 9 of 10 inside the red zone (eight touchdowns, one field goal) and have found the end zone on all four of its first and goal opportunities ... Running back Ralph Bolden and wide receiver Keith Smith have accounted for 57 percent of Purdue's first downs this season (28 of 49) ... Both of Carson Wiggs' field goals this season have come as time expired in the first half (59 and 23 yards).




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