Dec. 14, 2012
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - After a 3-1 start to the 2012 season, Purdue endured some rough sledding - to the tune of a five-game losing streak - and found its collective backs against the wall. The Boilermakers had to win their final three games - against Iowa, Illinois and Indiana - in order to make their second straight bowl appearance and 12th in the last 16 years.
Led by a group of 20 seniors, who wanted to go out winners, and a strong-willed coaching staff, Purdue pulled off the trifecta and was invited to the Heart of Dallas Bowl. Here's how the Boilermakers did it:
Purdue 27, Iowa 24
Paul Griggs drilled a career-long 46-yard field goal as time expired to give Purdue a 27-24 victory over Iowa at Kinnick Stadium. The Boilermakers' game-winning drive started at their own 34-yard line with 16 seconds left after they stopped Iowa on fourth-and-3 from the 35. Robert Marve raced up the middle for 17 yards on the first play and then connected with Antavian Edison for 20 yards. Purdue called time out with five seconds remaining, and Griggs calmly drilled his fourth field goal of the season to set off a frenzied celebration. The walkoff kick was Purdue's first since Chris Summers' 40-yarder to win the 2007 Motor City Bowl over Central Michigan.
Purdue 20, Illinois 17
The Boilermakers won their second straight game and kept their bowl hopes alive with a 20-17 victory over Illinois at Memorial Stadium. Purdue led 6-3 at halftime on a pair of Sam McCartney field goals (31 and 29 yards) and with the help of three takeaways. Josh Johnson forced a pair of fumbles to tie the school record, while Bruce Gaston forced one. The first of two big offensive plays came midway through the third quarter when Robert Marve hooked up with Akeem Hunt on a 63-yard touchdown to put the Boilermakers in front 13-3. It was 13-10 when Ralph Bolden broke loose on a 63-yard run late in the third, and Akeem Shavers scored two plays later from six yards out. The pesky Fighting Illini would not go away - scoring a touchdown with 3:29 to play in the game - but Antavian Edison recovered their onside kick attempt, and Purdue ran out the clock.
Purdue 56, Indiana 35
Bucket and Bowl. The Boilermakers kept possession of the Old Oaken Bucket and became bowl eligible by defeating Indiana 56-35 on Senior Day at Ross-Ade Stadium. Trailing 21-14 at halftime, Purdue erupted for 42 second-half points, 28 of them following four takeaways and the final 21 by Akeem Shavers in a four-and-a-half minute span in the fourth quarter. Will Lucas forced and recovered a fumble, while Max Charlot, Antoine Lewis and Frankie Williams each had interceptions to set the table for the offense, which amassed 558 total yards and scored eight touchdowns (five passing and three rushing). With the score tied at 21, Rob Henry scored on a 1-yard sneak to put Purdue ahead midway through the third quarter. Less than three minutes later, Henry connected with Gary Bush on a 25-yard scoring play for a 35-21 advantage. But the Hoosiers bounced back to tie the score at 35 before Shavers took over, scoring on 73- and 26-yard passes from Robert Marve and on a 1-yard plunge.