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September 15, 2012
For the second consecutive game, starting QB Caleb TerBush had his ups and downs.
In Purdue's 54-16 win over Eastern Michigan, he Boilermaker quarterback, now clearly Purdue's primary signal-caller following Robert Marve's knee injury, was "out of sorts" early in the game, in Coach Danny Hope's words.
TerBush threw an interception for a touchdown for Eastern Michigan's only TD and was asked to pass on six straight snaps to open the game. Purdue went three-and-out twice.
The senior was ill in the days leading up to the game, Hope said, putting his status in question, the coach said.
TerBush said he experienced migraines but repeatedly dismissed it as "nothing major."
"I feel good now," TerBush said. "We got a W. When you score 54 points and win, it's hard to feel bad after that one."
In less than three quarters of work, TerBush completed 16-of-24 passes for 158 yards and two scores, one of them, it should be noted, being a shovel-pass-like pitch to Akeem Hunt for a 50-yard score, a play that was far more run than it was pass, for whatever it's worth.
TerBush was playing in his second game of the season following his Week 1 suspension.
"You're never supposed to think you did too good or too bad," TerBush said of his play. It's the second game back for me, so I have to learn from my mistakes and move forward."
No. 2 QB Rob Henry took over in the third quarter. Austin Parker played in the fourth.
Henry, for the first time this season, joined TerBush (or another QB, for that matter) in the huddle, taking snaps at quarterback while TerBush lined up as a receiver.
Early this season, Purdue's defensive front has garnered many publicity, for seemingly to play like one of the better units in the Big Ten, if not the country.
And that kept up Saturday. As did the play of Purdue's secondary, which used the pressure up front to help it generate three turnovers, all off interceptions.
"We love how much pressure they get to the quarterback," said cornerback Josh Johnson, who had one of the three picks. "He doesn't have enough time to think about what he wants to do. By the time he thinks about it, he has only one or two seconds then ends up throwing the ball wild and we can get a pick.
"Every time, we congratulate our D-line."
Johnson and Frankie Williams had their interceptions in the first half, while Landon Feichter got one, his second of the season, in the third quarter. Although the Boilermakers converted the interceptions into only three points, Johnson says the turnovers are critical to helping Purdue's offense.
"We work for the offense and they work for us," Johnson said. "We try to get them in the best field position that we can, so they can turn it into a touchdown."
Defensive end Ryan Russell left the game in the third quarter after tweaking his right knee, but early indications are that the sophomore will be just fine.
Hope says Russell had injured the knee in practice today, and participated only in Purdue's walk-through on Friday. But after warm-ups Saturday, he was cleared to play. He had two tackles, both for loss, and a sack before spending the latter part of the game on the bench. Afterward, he was seen leaving the locker room with an ice bag on his knee, saying that he'd be fine.
"He tweaked it," Hope said. "It's just a little sore, but he'll be fine."
Purdue's been looking for solutions to its offensive line, specifically at left guard, where Peters Drey is coming back from a back injury last season.
Purdue would like to limit the senior lineman's repetitions.
Redshirt freshman Robert Kugler, a center, got an opportunity to get snaps at left guard, and seemingly played well.
"Kugler is a very good football player, even though he's a little younger than some of our other offensive linemen," Hope said. "He has a real knack for the center position, and when we go into pass (protection), whether he's a center or a guard, against some of our best defensive lineman, he does a good job of holding up."
"I like him on the field and I think he can help us win. ? We wanted to take a look at him at the left guard spot, just to see how he would do."
Earlier in the week, Hope had mentioned the possibility of mixing left tackle Kevin Pamphile in at left guard; instead, however, Pamphile and Justin Kitchens continued to rotate at tackle. Kitchens also played a series at right tackle.
Although it came when the game was well out of reach, running back/receiver Danny Anthrop looked good on his five carries.
The true freshman, from Lafayette's Central Catholic High School, gained 47 yards and had his first touchdown. Anthrop showed speed, quickness and great field awareness in his limited opportunities.
"I remember my first high school touchdown," he said. "It was pretty similar to that. I had a lot of good blocks that whole drive and am glad I got in for a couple carries."
Anthrop, who's seen far different competition than the small-class football he experienced at CC, says he's seen his nerves lessen in the last few weeks.
"Definitely on kickoff (coverage), it's just business as usual," Anthrop said. "But on offense, it's a little different, but every time I get an opportunity, I get more and more comfortable."
Hope says he'd like to get Anthrop more opportunities, whether than be on special teams, or as part of the offense.
"He's a very good player potentially," the fourth-year coach said. "He has very good speed and a little bit bigger frame than what people would imagine. I think he's put on 10 or 11 pounds already since he enrolled at Purdue. He's a very good football player. He has good vision.
"We like everything about him."
Hope says Purdue's bye - it next plays Sept. 29 vs. Marshall - comes at a good time, because the Boilermakers, specifically the offense, has shown some fatigue of late.
He thinks it contributed to the offense's slow start Saturday. Purdue had three-and-outs on its first two possessions.
"We're a tired football team and the open week comes at a good time for us," he said. "It was good to go out there in win today, remain undefeated and beat a team we're supposed to beat. And even though we didn't play our best, we beat a team we're supposed to.
"Two years ago, if we would have gone out there against that team or any football team and been out of sorts like we were on the offensive side early in the ballgame, we might have only eeked out a win. So I was pleased that we could still come away with a large margin of victory."
Purdue's first-team defense didn't get up a touchdown against Eastern Michigan, and only allowed three points total.
EMU scored on an interception, and had a late, meaningless TD, against Purdue's reserves.
"Our first team defense was dominant through the course of the football game," Hope said. "We potentially, and we've mentioned it before, we could be very, very good on defense this year, and if that's the case we have a chance to do very well as a football team."
Place-kicker Sam McCartney, a redshirt freshman walk-on from West Lafayette High School, missed two extra-points, giving him three missed from short in three games this season.
He hit three other extra points in the first half, but the misses contributed to Paul Griggs getting a chance in the second half. Griggs, a true freshman, made all three of his extra point attempts in the second.
Purdue will have a couple weeks to figure out its depth chart, but however it shakes, Hope just wants to see makes.
"We have freshman that are kicking for us," he said, "brand new guys to college football. They have an outstanding position coach and he'll continue working with them. They have talent, so it will come together. I'd like to be a little more polished right now with our rookie kickers but they are rookie kickers and playing in big games."
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