Purdue’s first road trip in the Ryan Walters era was an adventure in Blacksburg to say the least. Initially scheduled for noon, kickoff was pushed back by 23 minutes due to severe weather entering the area. A near six hour pause in the matchup followed after each team had one possession.
Despite the long delay and grinding game, Purdue got the first win of the Ryan Walters era under its belt, defeating Virginia Tech 24-17 in Lane Stadium.
Despite the delay to begin the game, the Boilermakers came out hot, marching their way down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game. After struggling on third down in week one, Purdue converted its first pair of third downs as Hudson Card found TJ Sheffield to move the sticks both times.
Following the second conversion, Card hit tight end Max Klare for 27 yard reception on the next play, putting the Boilermakers in the red zone. Devin Mockobee capped off the drive as he rumbled to the end zone from 15 yards out, giving Purdue an early 7-0 lead. It was a 9-play, 75-yard drive that Purdue completed in less than four minutes.
Virginia Tech wasted no time attacking the suspect Purdue secondary. On the first play, Cam Allen was called on a defensive pass interference call, followed by Hokies quarterback Grant Wells hitting Jaylin Lane in stride for a 21 yard gain.
After moving into Boilermaker territory in two plays, the Hokies’ drive stalled with run plays being stuffed by OC Brothers and Malik Langham on consecutive plays. An errant throw forced Virginia Tech to punt near midfield. Punter Peter Moore delivered a beauty, pinning Purdue inside its own five yard line.
Graham Harrell’s unit picked up where it left off on the second drive of the game. Card found new go-to target, Klare, on third down to extend the drive and hit Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen on the next play for a 16 yard gain.
Mother nature must have decided she didn’t want to see Hudson Card and the Boilers march down the field again, as the game was temporarily suspended due to severe weather. That “temporary” delay turned into a five hour and 27 minute pause in the action.
Coming out of the break, Purdue had the ball at midfield and was faced with a third down. Mahamane Moussa got called for a false start penalty making it third and extra long. Purdue the. gave up its first sack of the year and was forced to punt.
The Hokies quickly jumped into Purdue territory with a 13 yard catch and run. Purdue”s defense stood stout again, however. Sanoussi Kane came up big on the possession, tackling wide receiver Jaylin Lane by the ankles to save what could have been six points for Virginia Tech. The team captain safety then laid the boom on Bhayshul Tuten with the Hokies facing a third and one, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Virginia Tech.
Hudson Card and the offense capitalized on the big time plays by their counterparts. Purdue had a 10-play, 42-yard drive in 4:11, including a 10 yard scamper by Mockobee and a 14 yard grab by Yasseen, to set up a field goal attempt by Ben Freehill. Freehill connected on a 43 yarder and gave the Boilermakers a 10-0 lead at the 13:03 mark of the second quarter.
On the following possession, playing his first collegiate game in his home state of Virginia, Cam Allen got Purdue’s offense the ball right back. The senior safety jumped a route and came up with the 11th interception of his career, which moved him into a tie for third place with Rod Woodson, in Purdue history.
Purdue wasted no time once again capitalizing on the defense’s success, with Tyrone Tracy Jr. taking a hand off 21 yards for the second Boilermaker score in less than a minute. The 12 second drive handed Purdue a 17-point advantage with 12:39 to play until halftime.
The two teams then exchanged three and outs before it was the Hokies’ turn to get in on the action. Purdue’s struggles in pass coverage showed itself again in the subsequent drive.
Grant Wells found Stephen Gosnell for a 20 yard pass and catch to take Virginia Tech inside the Purdue 36, then a blown assignment allowed running back Bhayshul Tuten to score on a swing pass from 30 yards out to cap off the drive. The touchdown gave the Hokies their first score of the night and made it a 17-7 ballgame.
On the following possession, with Purdue facing a 4th and one from its own 34 yard line, the Boilermakers left their offense on the field. Hudson Card kept the ball on a read option, but got stuffed. A now confident Hokies offense then took over with their best field position of the half.
Kevin Kane’s secondary bounced back on the next dive, forcing three straight incompletions, with the Hokies being forced to a field goal attempt. Kicker John Love knocked down a career-long 41 yarder, cutting the Boilermaker lead to 10 with less than three minutes left in the first half.
The Boilermakers were unable to get a first down for the third straight possession and punted it back to the Hokies less than two minutes after the score. After taking a 17-point lead in the second quarter, Purdue was only able to muster 20 yards over its next three possessions of the half. The Boilermakers were also 0-5 on third downs after the break.
Virginia Tech was not done, however. The Hokies sprinted down the field, going on an 8-play, 70 yard drive in less than 70 seconds. Purdue had the Virginia Tech attack stopped inside the five yard line, but freshman Dillon Thieneman was flagged for a questionable roughing the passer call on third down. Grant Wells found Jaylin Lane for a touchdown to complete a 17 point comeback heading into halftime.
Coming out of halftime, it felt like Purdue had to make something happen defensively and stop the Virginia Tech wave. Dillon Thieneman did just that, coming up with his second interception in as many games, to give Purdue the ball back early in the third quarter.
Unfortunately for Purdue, Graham Harrell’s unit was unable to take advantage of the prime field position. Purdue went three and out for the fourth time in five possessions. Both teams punted on each on their next drives as the offense went cold on both sides in the third quarter.
Virginia Tech looked primed to kickstart the scoring in the second half after a 39 yard gain on a pass to Gosnell, but the Purdue defense stood its ground with a pair of stops at the line of scrimmage by Kydran Jenkins and Mo Omonode to forced another Hokie punt.
The Boilermakers were backed up inside their own five yard line for the second time. Hudson Card began to put a drive together, finding Max Klare for 10 yards and TJ Sheffield for 36 yards on consecutive plays. A sack halted the slight momentum the Purdue offense held. After the drive stalled, Ben Freehill missed a 50 yard field goal wide right as the Boilermakers’ possession came up empty handed to close the third quarter.
Grant Wells and the Hokies went three and out on the next drive, having an unnecessary roughness penalty hinder the possession.
After over 20 minutes of game time without any points, Purdue finally got on the board in the second half. The Boilermakers featured a run heavy approached during their first drive of the fourth quarter, leaning on Devin Mockobee and Tyrone Tracy to move the ball down the field. Tracy had the second of two 20+ yard runs on the day to set up Purdue in the red zone and finished with 51 yards in total.
The 13 play, 74 yard drive was capped off by Hudson Card’s first rushing touchdown in a Purdue uniform to give the Boilermakers a 24-17 lead with 8 minutes to play.
On the following possession, the Purdue defense continued its stellar play in the second half, as the Hokies had to punt on 4th and 25 following a sack by sophomore standout outside linebacker Nic Scourton. Scourton wrapped up the best game of his career with the aforementioned sack, along with 3.5 tackles for loss.
Now up seven, Purdue got the ball back with just over six minutes left and looked primed to add more insurance, especially after a 26 yard grab by Yaseen. Purdue was stifled on third down for the first time in the fourth quarter and were set to go for it on fourth down before a Marcus Mbow false start forced the Boilermakers to send out the punt unit. Jack Ansell pinned the Hokies inside the ten yard line with 2:30 remaining for them to drive down and tie up the game.
Brent Pry put backup quarterback Kyron Drones into the game to start the drive and give the offense a spark. Drones connected with Dae’Quan Wright for a 26 yard gain on his first passing attempt of the game. Purdue’s defense was close to a stop directly after the long catch, but Sanoussi Kane was flagged for pass interference on third down, giving Virginia Tech a fresh set of downs.
The Hokies then had four straight incompletions on the Purdue side of the field, including cornerback Marquis Wilson swatting down Virginia Tech’s fourth down heave. Devin Mockobee rumbled for a first down with just over a minute left to seal the victory for Purdue.