Early takeaways spring Purdue over Eastern Kentucky 45-24

BY foxsports • September 3, 2016

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Leroy Clark and Gelen Robinson's first-quarter interceptions helped Purdue build an early 21-0 lead, and the Boilermakers outlasted Football Championship Subdivision opponent Eastern Kentucky 45-24 in the season opener for both teams Saturday.

Clark's interception of Maty Mauk, the fifth-year graduate transfer quarterback from Missouri, set up Purdue's second touchdown and a 14-0 lead, and Robinson's 78-yard interception return for a score pushed the Boilermakers' advantage to 21-0 with 3:31 remaining in the first quarter.

Markell Jones scored on a 3-yard run to cap an efficient opening drive for Purdue.

While Eastern Kentucky out gained the Boilermakers 284-243 during the first 30 minutes, Purdue built a led 28-18 at halftime, thanks to the 14 points as a result of interceptions.

Boilermaker redshirt sophomore quarterback David Blough ran for two touchdowns and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver DeAngelo Yancey, giving Purdue a 28-8 lead late in the second quarter.

Jones carried 24 times for 143 yards for a Purdue team that now has won 13 consecutive home openers, including 4-0 for fourth-year head coach Darrell Hazell, now 7-30 with the Boilermakers. Hazell is 4-0 against FCS opponents.

Each team struggled to generate any third-quarter offense, especially after Colonels quarterback Bennie Coney, who replaced Mauk in the first quarter, took a hard hit while scrambling and was helped to the sideline, prompting Mauk's return.

Purdue finally broke the second-half scoring drought on Blough's second TD run, a 1-yard plunge with 12:48 remaining in the game to extend the lead to 35-18.

J.D. Dellinger's 30-yard field goal with 4:56 to play capped a 13-play, 66-yard drive and gave the Boilermakers a 38-18 lead.

Blough finished 25 of 43 for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Domonique Young caught eight passes for 74 yards.

Purdue capped its scoring with a 48-yard touchdown run from freshman Brian Lankford-Johnson with 4:23 left. The Colonels got a TD with 1:34 remaining to complete the scoring.

TAKEAWAY

Purdue: While the Boilermakers pulled away during the final 12:48, they led their FCS opponent by just 10 points heading into the final quarter in front of only 32,074 fans on a gorgeous September afternoon. Purdue finished with 512 yards of offense and snapped a four-game losing streak to end the 2015 season.

Eastern Kentucky: If Coney is able to play next week after taking a hard hit in the second half, the Colonels' coaching staff will have a difficult decision to make at quarterback. Mauk struggled at Purdue, but he was 17-5 as a starter at Missouri. It was clear Saturday that the Eastern Kentucky offense had a better rhythm with Coney under center.

UP NEXT

Purdue: The Boilermakers are home again on Sept. 10, hosting Cincinnati at noon. The Bearcats defeated Purdue in September of 2013 in Hazell's first game with the Boilermakers, 42-7 in Cincinnati. The Bearcats opened the season Thursday night with a 28-7 victory against Tennessee-Martin.

Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels will attempt to give coach Mark Elder his first victory at EKU on Thursday when they play Pikeville.


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