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Purdue cruises to first shutout in 4 years

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- No. 25 Purdue came up with big plays
and long touchdowns on offense, which was no surprise.

The dominating defense even caught the Boilermakers off guard.

Kyle Orton passed for 287 yards and a career-high four
touchdowns to lead the Boilermakers to a 51-0 victory over Syracuse
on Sunday, their first shutout in four years.

"The defense obviously played great. Nobody expected this,"
Orton said. "I knew they were going to be a good defense, but I
didn't think they would be this good this early. We've got a lot of
great athletes."

Orton, a senior, and the experienced Purdue offense produced 571
yards and seven touchdowns. The defense has eight new starters and
was expected to take a while to develop. Instead, it held Syracuse
to 197 yards, forced four fumbles and added three sacks and two
interceptions.

"We did a good job flying to the ball and keeping up our
pursuit," Purdue linebacker Stanford Keglar said. "We were very
successful with our penetration. We also stayed in our alignment
and tried not to overpursue."

The last Purdue shutout came in the 2000 season opener against
Central Michigan.

Orton hit Brian Hare for a 75-yard score in the first quarter,
Taylor Stubblefield for TDs of 33 yards in the second quarter and
67 yards in the third period, and Brandon Jones for 32 yards late
in the third. Ben Jones' 34-yard field goal gave Purdue a 37-0 lead
going into the final period, when Brandon Kirsch replaced Orton in
the opener for both teams.

The Boilermakers got their final touchdowns on a 44-yard run by
Jerome Brooks and a 47-yard pass from Kirsch to freshman Dustin
Keller with just over two minutes to go.

"We gave up too many big plays on defense," Syracuse coach
Paul Pasqualoni said. "We were hoping to play through our
inexperience, especially at the quarterback position, but just
didn't do enough offensively. Purdue's an awful good team. We
thought we'd run the ball better, but they kept coming with the
blitz and we never adapted."

For Syracuse, it was the worst shutout loss since a 59-0 beating
at Miami in 2001.

"Our defense did what we hoped it would. We were able to get
the heat up front," said Purdue coach Joe Tiller, remembering last
year's 27-26 upset by Bowling Green, his only loss in a home opener
in eight years with the Boilermakers.

"When you end up winning the game the way this game was won,
you're pleased by many things," he said. "We did a lot of
positive things."

Of the seven Purdue touchdowns, only the first -- a 1-yard run by
Jerod Void in the first quarter -- covered fewer than 32 yards. Two
of the TDs -- the 75-yarder by Hare and the 67-yarder to
Stubblefield -- came on the first plays of the series.

"Orton knows the game, and he knows the system he's in. He
played a spectacular game," Pasqualoni said. "He's a great
thrower, and that got us back on our heels."

The Orange started a freshman at quarterback for the first time
since Todd Norley in 1982. Joe Fields was 8-for-15 for 93 yards,
and he was sacked twice, intercepted once and constantly pressured.

The Orange didn't drive past their own 36 until late in the
second quarter, when Purdue already was ahead 20-0.

The Orange reached the Purdue 2 late in the second quarter, but
Fields lost five yards and on fourth down the Orange botched a
field goal attempt with a bad snap with 15 seconds left.

The Boilermakers had to punt on their first series of the third
quarter, but Orton's 67-yard touchdown to Stubblefield came on the
first play of their next possession. After the TD pass to Brandon
Jones, Walter Reyes fumbled the kickoff, setting up the field goal
by Ben Jones.

Reyes, coming off two 1,000-yard seasons rushing, was held to 31
yards on 12 carries. Perry Patterson, who replaced Fields at
quarterback late in the third quarter, was 7-for-10 for 64 yards.

Void rushed for 83 yards, while Stubblefield finished with five
catches for 121 yards.