3. Aidan O’Connell’s big day
The Boilermakers were missing star receiver David Bell – he caught 93 passes for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns – and it didn’t matter.
The Purdue passing game worked exactly like it was supposed to.
Senior QB Aidan O’Connell was on fire to close the season. He hit 74% or more of his passes in each of the last seven games with 19 touchdowns and three interceptions – all in the loss to Wisconsin – with wins over Iowa and Michigan State along the way, and then he did this.
26-of-47 for 534 yards and five touchdowns.
He gave up three interceptions, but he had to press and keep the offense moving with Tennessee exploding early on.
Broc Thompson stepped up with seven catches for 217 yards and two touchdowns. The junior caught just 23 passes for 240 yards all year before this.
Junior TE Payne Durham was terrific all season long, and he stepped up with five catches for 85 yards and two scores.
O’Connell kept on cranking up big shots down the field, he made up for the mediocre day from the running game, and he close out the great bowl with a huge win for a Purdue program that came up with a terrific season.