LIVE! Purdue

LIVE! Purdue

Purdue 46, Illinois 7 — Final

Coming off a Big Ten victory last week at Rutgers didn't prove to be enough momentum for the Illini on either side of the ball, as Purdue marched into Memorial Stadium and spoiled homecoming.

While things started out well for A.J. Bush Jr. with a successful drive capped by his 5-yard scoring run, the fifth-year quarterback managed to complete just 12 of 25 passes for 170 yards with an interception. He also rushed for just 24 yards on 20 carries.

Matt Robinson came in late for several snaps, completing 3 of 4 passes for 11 yards.

What had been a formidable Illinois rushing attack was stopped mostly in its tracks, with seven rushers — including Reggie Corbin and Mike Epstein — getting just 69 total yards on the ground.

As a whole, Illinois' offense gained just 250 yards on offense compared with 611 from Purdue, which stayed fairly balanced between its passing (384 yards) and rushing (227) attacks. The Illini did produce a turnover — an interception by Sydney Brown — but otherwise managed to do very little to stop the Boilermakers.

Of Illinois' 13 drives today, 10 ended with punts, while another ended when Chase McLaughlin missed a 38-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter.

Purdue 46, Illinois 7 — 4:10 left in 4th

Illinois wasn't able to keep Purdue out of the end zone this drive, as the Boilermakers' tallied their second rushing touchdown of the day on a 3-yard run from Alexander Horvath. That makes 46 unanswered points since Illinois struck first in the first quarter.

****

Purdue 39, Illinois 7 — 13:57 left in 4th

Make that 39 unanswered points for the Boilermakers. Illinois kept Purdue out of the end zone at least, but a 32-yard field goal by Spencer Evans just pads the Boilermakers' lead. 

Here's a stat that illustrates exactly how a game like this happens. Purdue has 565 yards of total offense. Illinois has just 213.

****

Purdue 36, Illinois 7 — 10:06 left in 3rd

I lost my last update completely. In short, Purdue scored again. Two offsides penalties on Illinois made it happen.

****

Purdue 29, Illinois 7 — Halftime

A 42-yard touchdown pass from David Blough to Isaac Zico wrapped up a rather productive first half for Purdue. Productive like 10 chunk plays (six receptions of 15 yards or more and four rushes for 10 yards or more). The Boilermakers put up 404 yards of total offense in the first half — putting them on pace, of course, for 808 yards today.

Let's see how Illinois Twitter is handling this (hint: not well) ...

****

Purdue 23, Illinois 7 — 6:15 left in 2nd

Now seems as good a time as any to mention Illinois ranks 114th nationally in total defense giving up 483.4 yards per game. That number is on pace to get worse by the end of today considering Purdue already has 281 yards of offense and we're not yet to halftime here at Memorial Stadium.

Illinois did keep the Boilermakers out of the end zone, but a 37-yard field goal by Spencer Evans — after Illinois had a 1st and goal situation on its last drive and didn't even score — just adds to the growing Illini deficit. 

****

Purdue 20, Illinois 7 — 14:56 left in 2nd

Let's get some good news for Illinois fans out first. Calvin Avery just blocked a kick. But here's the bad news. That kick was a PAT. Purdue just scored again, and it was a WIDE OPEN wide receiver that set up Markell Jones' 1-yard touchdown run. The Boilermakers got into scoring position with a 41-yard completion from David Blough to Isaac Zico.

Simply put, Blough is torching the Illini secondary. The Purdue quarterback is 11 of 13 for 199 yards so far today. Just as a reminder ... the second quarter just started. 

****

Purdue 14, Illinois 7 — 4:06 left in 1st

As quick as Purdue's first touchdown happened, the second was even faster. Of course, it helps when you pick up yardage 60 yards at a time. Purdue's first play of the drive was a simple crossing route by Rondale Moore. He was wide open. WIDE OPEN. And a guy with as much footspeed as Moore possesses means being wide open is going to yield a lot of yards after catch.

The capper on Purdue's three-play, 65-yard drive was the Philly Special. A double reverse got the ball in wide receiver Jared Sparks' hands, and he delivered a 7-yard touchdown pass to Boilermakers' quarterback David Blough.

****

Illinois 7, Purdue 7 — 6:25 left in 1st

Speaking of wide open wide receivers. Purdue answers the Illinois touchdown with one of its own — a 3-yard pass from David Blough to Isaac Zico. That score was set up by two big passing plays, though.

Blough hit a wide open Zico for a 39-yard gain on Purdue's first play of the drive. Then he hit an equally as open Rondale Moore for a 24-yard pass to put the Boilermakers in the red zone. The final drive? Five plays for 75 yards in 1 minute, 42 seconds.

****

Illinois 7, Purdue 0 — 8:07 left in 1st

AJ Bush Jr. back at quarterback has meant more of a willingness to stretch the field vertically in the passing game. It didn't really work last week at Rutgers, with Bush's timing off and his receivers not doing him any favors either with some drops.

Today? It's working so far. Bush connected on a 52-yard pass with Reggie Corbin to put the Illini in scoring position, and the fifth-year quarterback finished the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run.

The crazy thing is Sam Mays was probably even more open than Corbin on the same play. Purdue has played exclusively man coverage thus far to try and make Bush beat them. It's a sound strategy given a not terrific passing game last weekend for the Illini, but even good ideas have holes. Like letting Corbin use his speed to get open 52 yards downfield.

****

Illinois vs. Purdue — 2:30 p.m., FS1

Today's Illini starters ...

Special Teams
K — Chase McLaughlin
LS — Ethan Tabel
P — Blake Hayes

Defense
DE — Bobby Roundtree
DT — Tymir Oliver
DT — Jamal Milan
DE — Owen Carney Jr.
LB — Del'Shawn Phillips
LB — Jake Hansen
NB — Cam Watkins
CB — Nate Hobbs
S — Tony Adams
S — Sydney Brown
CB — Quan Martin

Offense
T — Vederian Lowe
G — Kendrick Green
C — Doug Kramer
G — Nick Allegretti
T — Alex Palczewski
WR — Trenard Davis
WR — Sam Mays
WR — Ricky Smalling
TE — Austin Roberts
RB — Reggie Corbin
QB — AJ Bush Jr.

****

Illinois vs. Purdue — 2:30 p.m., FS1

More basketball ...

****

Illinois vs. Purdue — 2:30 p.m., FS1

The Illinois depth chart only had a few tweaks from last week, but they are fairly notable. The secondary got another change with Nate Hobbs back at one of the No. 1 cornerback spots, while Cam Watkins has moved to nickel back. At defensive end, Owen Carney has passed Isaiah Gay.

Both moves make sense. Hobbs would appear fully out of the dog house, and even when he was suspended and making his way back against Penn State and Rutgers he was one of the top cornerbacks on the team. Carney has also outperformed Gay this season.

****

Illinois vs. Purdue — 2:30 p.m., FS1

Lovie Smith had one of his longer Monday afternoon press conferences of the season this week. Winning can do that. Here's a sampling of the what the Illini coach had to say:

On getting that first Big Ten win

We needed to get a win. It was a big win for us. As I talk about an opportunity to be over .500 in Big Ten Play, that's big for our guys. To find a way to win, each game is going to get bigger and bigger.

On Illinois run game

I like where we are. Not satisfied by any means, but it's giving us a chance. If you can run the ball, you have an opportunity, especially when you go on the road, so, pleased with that. In order for truly explosive plays to happen, wide receivers need to do a great job blocking down field, and that's what we had.

On freshmen playing well

Our freshman are contributing right now. I talked about some of the changes made… Jartavius Martin. I don't know how many freshman cornerbacks have three interceptions right now. As a freshman, we like where we are with him. And each year, freshman are going to play. That's just how I coach. Sydney Brown, aggressive, he made plays the other day. He'll hit, he'll tackle, he has good ball skills. He's got a chance to be a pretty good football player.

On improvements this year

I think we are getting better. We said that before we won the game this past week. We have so much farther to go, and I'm just looking forward to taking more steps this week. If you watch that game, there was so much we left out there, and we are not a finished product by any means, but we have an opportunity, now that we're healthy to take another step this week.

****

Illinois vs. Purdue — 2:30 p.m., FS1

Gameday actually started at Ubben Basketball Complex this morning with an open Illinois men's basketball practice. The Illini didn't go quite the full 3 hours the practice was originally scheduled for, but it was still a good 2 1/2 hours of work.

Some observations:

— Today's practice was about the first 50-50 split between offensive and defensive work. Illinois had been much more focused defensively through the first couple weeks of practice.

— Andres Feliz continues to stand out by not standing out. The junior college transfer guard simply doesn't make many (if any) mistakes.

— Giorgi Bezhanishivili is as advertised. The Illinois coaches prodded the team to talk more, but never had to do that with Bezhanishvili. He's a talker.

— Tevian Jones just seems to float through midair sometimes. Mark him down for a dunk or three that might wind up on the Sportscenter Top 10 this season.

— Ayo Dosunmu and Trent Frazier were on the same team this morning for the first time in about five or six days. That's obviously a look the Illini will use all season, but don't be surprised if it takes a little time for them to find a rhythm together.

— Freshman forward Anthony Higgs didn't practice, but he was at least out of the boot. His "practice" entailed time riding a stationary bike.

— Da'Monte Williams has the head start on "most improved" this season. A big difference can be seen in his three-point shot ... as in he's making threes much more consistently.

****

Good afternoon everybody and welcome back to another LIVE! Report. It's the first off a Big Ten win in quite a while. Illinois snapped its 700-day streak without a conference win last week at Rutgers.

Getting a second straight Big Ten win today against Purdue would break a twice as long streak. The last time the Illini managed that was the final two games of the 2014 season — more than 1,400 days ago.

Actually getting that win against the Boilermakers might lie with the Illinois defense. The Illini have relied on takeaways through five games while giving up nearly 500 yards of total offense to opposing teams. Maintaining the former while diminishing the latter is probably a good idea.

The weather could play in Illinois' favor today. It's 39 degrees right now in Champaign. That works for a running team. Illinois is a running team. Of course, Purdue knows that. Expect the Boilermakers to stack the box and force Illini quarterback AJ Bush Jr. to make things happen in the passing game.

Kickoff at Memorial Stadium is in 90 minutes. The best way to spend that time? Catching up on all of our pregame coverage this week.

— Asmussen: Brohm has no hard feelings toward Illinois

Final Word with Bob Asmussen

Gameday Q&A with Illini safety Tony Adams

Bulletin board material: N-G staff picks

Talking points with Purdue beat writer Mike Carmin

Who's got the edge: Illini-Boilermakers breakdown

Jamal Milan's return stabilizes UI defense

Asmussen: 1-on-1 with Illinois AD Josh Whitman

-