But the game itself was nothing to celebrate for Illinois (3-3) as they lost 38-27 to Purdue (3-3) and gave up 349 rushing yards, the most for the Boilermakers since September 15, 2012 against Eastern Michigan.
"We're not stopping the run. We've got to stop the run. We're not scoring points in the red zone. We were 4-of-8 in the red zone," said Illinois head coach Tim Beckman. "We can dwell on what we're not doing well, but we've got to fix it."
To boot, the star quarterback for the Illini, redshirt sophomore Wes Lunt, went down early in the fourth quarter with an injury to his leg that will leave him out of action four to six weeks. Freshman receiver Mike Dudek was the go to guy of the day for Illinois finishing with 200 receiving yards.
For the Boilermakers, senior running back Akeem Hunt and sophomore quarterback Austin Appleby (6-5 238), who was listed to start at the last minute, were the highlights of an offense that looked like a powerhouse against the Illini.
"We hit some big, long runs by Akeem, and Raheem (Mostert), and Austin had a big run and Danny Anthrop made a big play off the catch," said Purdue head coach Darrell Hazell. "Those are hard to defend if you're getting long runs like that."
The season for the Fighting Illini is now in dire straits and coach Beckman is firmly on the hot seat unless he turns around the season very quickly.
"I think it's crucial. We've got to look at what we've got and see where the problems are and fix them," Beckman said on rebuilding confidence. "That's the mark of this program and we're always in that process of we've got to attack these next 48 hours like we always do and get ourselves better."
Listen to the podcast below as I recap and breakdown the game with Eugene Evans followed with the press conference featuring Austin Appleby. It was initially reported on the podcast that Lunt had a contusion to his ankle, but it wasannounced Sunday that he had fractured his fibula.
Game Statistical Recap
PUR 7 10 14 7 38
ILL 14 0 13 0 27
Illinois Game Stats
1st Downs: 26
3rd Down Efficiency: 11-16
4th Down Efficiency: 0-2
Total Yards: 515
Passing Yards: 450
Completions - Attempts: 36-53
Yards Per Pass: 12.5
Rushing Yards: 65
Rushing Attempts: 25
Yards Per Rush: 2.6
Interceptions Thrown: 1
Time of Possession: 27:20
Leading passer: Wes Lunt
27/39, 332 passing yards, and 2 passing touchdowns.
Leading rusher: Josh Ferguson
60 rushing yards, 15 rushing attempts, 1 rushing touchdown, 10 receptions, and 79 receiving yards.
Leading receiver: Mike Dudek
8 receptions and 200 receiving yards.
Leading tackler: Mason Monheim
11 tackles and 1 tackle for loss.
Purdue Game Stats
1st Downs: 19
3rd Down Efficiency: 7-14
4th Down Efficiency: 1-2
Total Yards: 551
Passing Yards: 202
Completions - Attempts: 15-20
Yards Per Pass: 13.5
Rushing Yards: 349
Rushing Attempts: 45
Yards Per Rush: 7.8
Interceptions Thrown: 0
Time of Possession: 32:40
Leading passer: Austin Appleby
15/20, 202 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 76 rushing yards, 7 rushing attempts, and 2 rushing touchdowns.
Leading rusher: Akeem Hunt
177 rushing yards, 30 rushing attempts, 1 rushing touchdown, 4 receptions, and 22 receiving yards.
Leading receiver: Danny Anthrop
3 receptions, 99 receiving yards, and 1 receiving touchdown.
Leading tackler: Frankie Williams
12 tackles, 1 sack, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1 fumble recovered.