Garrett Shrader hit Oronde Gadsen on a 25-yard touchdown with just seven seconds left to beat Purdue 32-29, spoiling a comeback by Purdue and Aidan O’Connell that brought the Boilermakers to the brink of victory.
After O’Connell hit Payne Durham for the go-ahead score in the final minutes, Purdue was flagged for two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, setting up Syracuse at midfield, essentially.
The outcome spoiled a 415-yard, three-touchdown performance by O’Connell — though he did throw a costly pick-six — and another huge game from Charlie Jones.
Purdue had a PAT blocked early on, failed on a two-point conversion and turned the ball over on downs in the red zone to start the game. Then, it lost by two.
A few points from the game …
• Purdue completely lost Its composure late in the game, a significant factor in the outcome. After Durham’s touchdown, he was flagged for jawing at Syracuse, then a coach was flagged too. Inexcusable after the biggest play Purdue could possibly have made.
• Syracuse’s best offense was Purdue’s penalties on defense. There were some calls that could be debated but some that couldn’t, notably Jack Sullivan’s egregious personal foul that set up Syracuse’s go-ahead touchdown In the third quarter. Purdue had two turnovers wiped off the board by penalties also, one on a good call, one on not such a good call.
• Purdue allowed this game to be way too close after it thoroughly outplayed Syracuse in the first half, but had only a narrow halftime lead to show for it.
For an offensive-minded program with a very good quarterback, Purdue’s coaches have to be able to figure out how to get more points on the board. That sounds like obvious-ness, but It’s very much reality for the Boilermakers, who managed just one touchdown on three red-zone trips before halftime and came away empty altogether after a fourth-down failure on their first drive.
Again, Purdue’s defense faded down the stretch after the offense didn’t take advantage while it was playing well.