— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) December 12, 2017
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Trying to snap a three-game losing streak, the Boilermakers welcomed Illinois to Ross-Ade Stadium. After the defense forced a three-and-out on the Illini’s first possession, Purdue took over on its own 32. The Boilermakers appeared to be driving, only to see it stall out on the Illinois 33. Faced with either a long field goal attempt or going for it on fourth-and-three, head coach Jeff Brohm rolled the dice with offense. Quarterback David Blough took the snap, pitched the ball to running back D.J. Knox …
… Knox took the pitch and barreled his way to the first down marker. Colliding with would-be tackles along the way, Knox spun his way out of no less than four Illini player’s hands while racing down the sidelines for a for not only the first down but a 33-yard touchdown to boot.
So Says D.J.
“It was a fourth-and-three play, so i had no doubt in my mind that i was going to get the first down! I just had to find a way to get it. As the play developed, I saw that there was a small bit of daylight, so I hit the hole full speed. I hit it so fast that i was able to break an arm tackle that turned me around and i was able to absorb a shot to the back. As my feet kept driving, I could feel an open area to my right where I raced for the touchdown. After the touchdown, I was just glad that I could give the defense some room to work with so now they could roll the dice and get tricky.”
What it Meant
Purdue retained possession of the Cannon trophy for a second straight year and ended its three-game slide with a 29-10 win. Having failed to move the ball offensively much during the three previous games, Knox’s early rushing score helped provide some much-needed momentum for the Boilermakers. Purdue finished with 435 yards of total offense against the Ilini, including 209 yards on the ground.