12:00 PM ET, November 1, 2003
Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Four years ago John Standeford was a little known recruit out of Monrovia, Ind.
Now he has more receiving yards than any player in Big Ten history.
Standeford had four catches for 88 yards to break the league record for career receiving yards as Purdue (No. 17 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) beat Northwestern 34-14 on Saturday.
"I'm overwhelmed right now and can't really say too much," Standeford said. "I can't even begin to describe how I feel. There have been so many successful receivers in the Big Ten. I'm just glad I can be at the top right now."
Jerod Void ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns and Purdue (7-2, 4-1 Big Ten) took advantage of four Northwestern fumbles.
Standeford's performance and the opportunistic defense helped Purdue bounce back from a 31-3 loss last week at Michigan and stay in the hunt for the Big Ten title.
"I don't think we lost any confidence, but this was a must-win for us," quarterback Kyle Orton said. "We played big today and stayed in the Big Ten race."
Standeford broke the record with a 31-yard catch in the fourth quarter. He has 3,418 yards for his career, surpassing Illinois' David Williams, who had 3,392 yards from 1983-85.
Not bad for a guy who weighed only 165 pounds when he came to Purdue and was more known for his basketball skills.
"There was not many people expecting me to do it," Standeford said. "I knew that I could do it though."
Purdue took advantage of some uncharacteristic miscues by Northwestern (4-5, 2-3) to take a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.
Coming into Saturday's game, the Wildcats led the nation in fewest fumbles lost with two. They fumbled five times against Purdue, losing four of them.
"That's something we were known for, we were pretty good at," Northwestern coach Randy Walker said of turnovers. "Obviously it hurt us today. You can't turn the ball over deep in your territory. That isn't how we play and that doesn't reflect our style of play."
Quarterback Brett Basanez fumbled on consecutive possessions in the first quarter, leading to two Purdue touchdowns.
Gilbert Gardner recovered Basanez's first fumble at the Northwestern 45. That set up quarterback Kyle Orton's 3-yard keeper seven plays later.
On the next possession, Basanez fumbled while being sacked by Shaun Phillips. Ray Edwards recovered the ball for Purdue at the Northwestern 12.
Ray Williams scored on a reverse on the next play to give the Boilermakers a 14-0 lead, and the route was on.
"That's our goal every week, to cause turnovers," linebacker Niko Koutouvides said.
Tiller extended his sympathies to Basanez, who was sacked four times and fumbled three times on the day.
"That poor guy, sometimes when you're back there fighting for your life, you're faced with what's more important, your neck or the ball?" Tiller said. "Usually they're going to pick their neck."
Even when the Wildcats did get something going, Purdue was quick to regain the momentum.
But Northwestern allowed Purdue to get into scoring position, thanks largely to a 41-yard kickoff return by Jerome Brooks. Ben Jones' 28-yard field goal gave Purdue a 20-7 lead at halftime.
It was more of the same in the second half.
In the third quarter, the Wildcats drove to the Purdue 2. But the Boilermakers stuffed Herron on fourth-and-1 to get the get the ball back.
Purdue responded with a 12-play, 98-yard drive capped by Void's first TD of the day from 6 yards out for a 27-7 lead.
"It's tough to put yourself behind the eight ball like we did today," Walker said. "I hope we got this out of our system. We're better than this."
Void added a 1-yard TD run in the fourth.
Orton was 14-of-24 for 212 yards for Purdue. Basanez completed 12 of 20 passes for 142 yards.
Jason Wright, playing on an injured ankle, was held to 28 yards on seven carries. He also lost a fumble, ending a string of 383 consecutive touches without a fumble.