WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Ralph Bolden ran for 234 yards and two touchdowns as Purdue beat Toledo 52-31 Saturday in Danny Hope's head coaching debut for the Boilermakers.
Bolden, a sophomore, put up the third-best rushing total in school history in his first start. He broke loose for a 78-yard touchdown run on his first carry.
Joe Tiller lost his Purdue coaching debut to Toledo in 1997, and Hope was an assistant under him that day. This time, instead of using the pass-first offense the Boilermakers employed under Tiller, the Boilermakers overpowered the Rockets. Hope's Boilermakers ran for 315 yards, a total Tiller's teams surpassed just twice in 12 years.
Joey Elliott passed for 220 yards and three touchdowns in his first start for Purdue (1-0), but he threw three interceptions.
Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs set a school record with a 59-yard field goal that gave the Boilermakers a 31-14 lead at halftime.
Purdue established the ground game quickly. Two possessions after Bolden's long score, Jaycen Taylor followed with a 43-yard touchdown run. Taylor finished with 81 yards rushing and two touchdowns.
By the end of the first quarter, Purdue had 153 yards rushing, and the Boilermakers had a 14-0 lead.
Bolden surpassed 100 yards in the first minute of the second quarter. That drive ended when Elliott threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to Keith Smith to make it 21-0. Smith caught eight passes for 117 yards and a score.
Purdue led 21-7 before failing on a fourth-and-2. Toledo took advantage when Opelt threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Eric Page to cut Purdue's lead to 21-14. Page finished with 12 catches for 128 yards.
A pass by Elliott intended for Kyle Adams was tipped around before being intercepted by Douglas Westbrook. On the next play, Purdue's Torri Williams tipped a pass by Opelt, and Joe Holland pulled down the interception to give Purdue the ball again. On Purdue's first play after that turnover, Elliott threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Keith Carlos to make it 28-14 with 1:25 left in the first half.
A diving interception by Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short early in the third quarter led to a 1-yard touchdown run by Taylor to make it 38-14. A 15-yard touchdown pass from Elliott to Antavian Edison made it 45-14 midway through the third quarter.
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