Purdue pulled out a thrilling and brilliant Foster Farms Bowl win over Arizona. Here are five things that matter.
2017 Foster Farms Bowl 5 Things That Matter: Purdue 38, Arizona 35
5. Everyone came to see a quarterback …
And the other one took over the game.
This is supposed to be David Blough’s Purdue quarterbacking job – or at least split it – but he was knocked out for the year, and Elijah Sindelar took over.
Blough will be back to battle for the starting gig, but in the Foster Farms, with everyone waiting to see Khalil Tate, it was Sindelar who won the bowl.
He hit 33-of-53 passes for 396 yards with four touchdowns and a pick, including the game-winner to Anthony Mahoungou to finish it off.
It was the biggest shootout of the Purdue season, and the offense was able to come through when it absolutely had to after a rough second half. It was Sindelar who pulled it off, but …
4. Khaili Tate was awesome
He might have thrown a pick to close things out, and he was held in check when he tried to take off, but he also completed 17-of-26 passes for 302 yards and five scores.
Tate led the team with 58 rushing yards – doing what he could – and he was outstanding in the second half to get Arizona the lead late, but this wasn’t the guy who exploded on the scene in the second half of the season. This wasn’t the Arizona offense that was supposed to show up, because …
3. The Purdue linebackers were terrific
T.J. McCollum, Ja’Whaun Bentley, and Marcus Bailey led the outstanding group of Boilermaker linebackers that held the high-powered Arizona running game to just 128 yards and no scores.
The biggest run by the Wildcat ground game? 15 yards.
The Boilermaker defense might have struggled in the second half, but it held firm when it needed to late. Give the credit to the defensive front for making Tate throw.
2. It’s grouchy time for Rich Rodriguez
Spicy pregame speeches aside – not job, FOX – Rodriguez and Arizona closed out the season losing four of their last five games including the last three, getting blown out by Oregon, losing to Arizona State by 12, and now this.
And for all the talk about the excitement around Arizona football going into the near future, this is still a division with USC, and now, Chip Kelly.
The Wildcats finished 7-6 with a loss to an okay Purdue team. That’s not okay.
1. The Purdue/Jeff Brohm love is about to kick in big time
It’s not time to close up shop if you’re Wisconsin in the West, or the rest of the Big Ten big boys, but Purdue won a bowl game.
That’s pretty good.
The program was a speed bump for years, but in steps Brohm and the program instantly changes around, going 7-6 in his first season with a bowl victory.
Combine that with wins over Iowa and Indiana just to get bowl eligible, and this was an amazing season for the long-suffering Purdue fans who finally, finally, got something to be excited about.
The team was fun, there were a whole slew of brilliant trick plays, and it was exactly what Purdue football was supposed to be in a bowl game against a team with a mediocre D.
And now, for good and for bad, Brohm will be a hotter name on the open coaching circuit the next time there’s an opening. But for now, Purdue won a bowl game. Purdue came up with a winning record. Brohm did everything the fans could’ve hoped for in his first year.