posted on Sep, 6 2004 @ 12:11 PM
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
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.