10:00 PM ET, September 17, 2005
Arizona Stadium, TUCSON, AZ
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Purdue football has always lived on the pass. So far this year, it's the power -- including a few option plays that keep the defense guessing.
Jerod Void carried 18 times for 107 yards, scored three touchdowns and recovered a muffed punt return, helping the 12th-ranked Boilermakers hold off Arizona 31-24 on Saturday night.
Purdue gained 239 yards on the ground and failed to throw a touchdown pass for the first time in 16 games. Coach Joe Tiller scoffs at the idea of a change in the team's personality and style.
"We still play sissy ball at Purdue," he insisted.
Not on this night.
Brandon Kirsch, who passed for 140 yards and ran for 54 for the Boilermakers (2-0), agreed that Purdue will show power more than finesse this season.
"I think you can kind of see everything changing from the old Purdue `basketball on grass' style to a style where we're going to pound it, pound it and run some play option things off that," he said.
The Boilermakers took advantage of the muffed punt and a failed fake punt by Arizona to score 10 decisive points in the third quarter.
Richard Kovalcheck completed 23 of 40 passes for 287 yards and three touchdowns for the Wildcats (1-2).
After the Boilermakers took a 31-17 lead, Arizona went 80 yards in 10 plays in a 5½-minute drive. Kovalcheck threw 9 yards to Anthony Johnson for the touchdown that made it 31-24 with 10:50 to play. The Wildcats' got a break when, on third-and-9 from the 24, Kovalcheck's pass bounced off Johnson and into the hands of Brad Wood for a first down at the 10.
Arizona went nowhere on its next possession, though, and Brian Hickman's interception with 33 seconds left preserved the victory.
Tiller praised his defensive line, which helped hold Arizona to 23 yards rushing. He also noted that the Wildcats had pointed to this game as one to start to make a reputation under second-year coach Mike Stoops.
"I think this was a big game for Arizona," Tiller said, "and when the other team sees it as a big game, you're always in for a big test.'
Void topped 100 yards for the second time this season and, with 30 rushing touchdowns, tied Perry Williams for second on Purdue's career list. Mike Alstott had 39 from 1992-95.
"That's what he's going to do," Kirsch said of his senior running back. "I think you might as well get used to that for the rest of the season. I think right now he's coming out of his shell a little bit. We've kind of had him holstered with the type of running game we've had in the past."
Purdue, leading 21-17, was forced to punt from its end zone in the third quarter. But Arizona's Syndric Steptoe muffed the catch of the short punt and Void recovered at the Boilermakers 37.
"It was the only big error we made besides the penalties," Stoops said. "The one fumble was costly. We had the fans into the game. We were going to have great field position at the 40. We just mishandled the punt."
Kirsch's 46-yard pass to Kyle Ingraham put the ball on the 3, and Void bulled in from there to give Purdue a 28-17 lead with 3:14 to go in the third.
Arizona's coaches had noticed that the ends were rushing on the Wildcats' punts. So after the kickoff, the Wildcats tried a fake. But the ends stayed back and the play lost three yards, giving Purdue the ball at the Wildcats 35. Ben Jones' 47-yard field goal boosted the lead to 31-17 with 1:26 left in the quarter.
Purdue took a 7-0 lead when Void burst up the middle for a career-long 55-yard touchdown run with 10:09 left in the first quarter.
But Arizona took the Boilermakers' kickoff and went 80 yards in six plays to tie it at 7-7. Kovalcheck was 4-for-4 on the drive. On fourth-and-2 from the Purdue 34, no defenders covered Wood, and Kovalcheck threw to the wide-open tight end for a touchdown.
The Boilermakers needed just five plays to go 83 yards and regain the lead. Kirsch connected with Dorien Bryant on a 44-yard play to the Arizona 28, then ran nine yards on the option to the 19. Sheets took Kirsch's pitch on the option left and four Wildcats missed tackles on a 19-yard scoring play that put Purdue up 14-7 with 2:16 left in the first quarter.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Brian Hickman's interception with 33 seconds left ended the Wildcats' comeback bid.
Gameball goes to... Jerod Void, who gained 107 yards and scored three TDs for the Boilermakers.
Stat of the game... 52-11: The Boilermakers improved to 52-11 vs. unranked teams under Joe Tiller.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-12||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||2-3|
|TD||10:09||JEROD VOID 55 YD RUN (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||7:19||BRAD WOOD 34 YD PASS FROM RICHARD KOVALCHECK (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||2:16||KORY SHEETS 19 YD RUN (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 83 yards.
|FG||12:20||NICHOLAS FOLK 51 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 27 yards.
|TD||7:46||JEROD VOID 1 YD RUN (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||0:37||BRAD WOOD 8 YD PASS FROM RICHARD KOVALCHECK (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 55 yards.
|TD||3:41||JEROD VOID 3 YD RUN (BEN JONES KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 62 yards.
|FG||1:26||BEN JONES 47 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 2 yards.
|TD||10:50||ANTHONY JOHNSON 9 YD PASS FROM RICHARD KOVALCHECK (NICHOLAS FOLK KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 80 yards.