Western Michigan loses to Purdue 37-32 in bowl

Western Michigan started strong and closed with a shot to earns

its first bowl win in school history.

Letting Purdue recover two onside kicks in the first half doomed

the Broncos’ chances.

The Boilermakers made two gambles on special teams pay off in a

37-32 win over Western Michigan on Tuesday night in the Little

Caesars Pizza Bowl.

”Two onside kicks really hurt us,” Western Michigan coach Bill

Cubit said. ”We never got a break on defense in the first

half.”

Purdue’s Raheem Mostert returned a kickoff 99 yards for a

touchdown, third-string running back Reggie Pegram scored the first

two TDs of his career and Carson Wiggs made two field goals to give

the Boilermakers a 27-15 lead at halftime.

Purdue (7-6) had another 12-point lead early in the fourth

quarter, but the Big Ten team had to hold on for the win against

the Mid-American Conference program.

The Broncos (7-6) got the ball with a chance to go ahead, but

their comeback hopes ended when quarterback Alex Carder fumbled for

his fifth turnover with just under 2 minutes left.

”I took too many chances with the ball,” Carder said.

Ryan Russell forced the final fumble and Bruce Gaston recovered

to seal the win in a game that entertained 46,177 fans inside the

home of the Detroit Lions.

The Boilermakers played in a bowl for the first time since 2007,

when they beat Central Michigan – also in Detroit.

Western Michigan, which had leads of 8-0 and 15-10 in the first

half along with an opportunity to drive for a go-ahead score at the

end, fell to 0-5 in postseason play.

”I thought we’d win and walk out of here happy,” Cubit

said.

Western Michigan’s star receiver, Jordan White, who drew at

least one NFL scout to watch him, caught 13 passes – including a

one-handed grab – for 249 yards and a score. He was given a sixth

season of eligibility this year because of injuries.

”It hurts, the reality is I won’t get a seventh year,” White

said. ”The games are over now and we didn’t win a MAC championship

or a big bowl game. I feel like there was a lot left undone on my

part. I’m disappointed right now.”

Carder was 31 of 57 for 413 yards with three TDs – also

connecting with Josh Schaffer and Chleb Ravenell for scores. But

the junior matched a career high with four interceptions and gave

up the ball a fifth time to end the Broncos’ chances to rally for

the victory in their homestate in front of many of their fans.

”We’re about 10 points from being 10-3,” said White, who set

MAC marks for yards receiving in a season and career. ”I think we

had all the pieces to the puzzle, but we didn’t make it happen on

the field.”