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November 10, 2012
IOWA CITY, Iowa - Paul Griggs hadn't been in a situation quite like this.
His last game-winning kick was an extra point in triple overtime as an eighth-grader.
But he claimed that when he trotted onto the field Saturday in front of 70,585 screaming Iowa fans inside a packed Kinnick Stadium for a 46-yard potential game-winning field goal, it was just any other kick.
For a freshman.
Who had earned Purdue's job as field goal kicker and then had it yanked away after missing two kicks and an extra point at Ohio State.
Who had yet to make a field goal longer than 40 yards this season.
Who was kicking, in essence, with the Boilermakers' season hanging in the balance.
But no pressure, Griggs said.
At least it didn't show.
Griggs' kick sailed through the uprights as time expired, pushing Purdue to a 27-24 victory over the Hawkeyes, snapping its five-game losing streak, making sure it wouldn't go winless in Big Ten play and keeping its postseason hopes alive.
"As soon as I kicked the kick, I knew I hit it pretty well," Griggs said. "I didn't hear anything, so I knew it'd gotten away clean. I looked up and saw where the ball was going and just kind of stood there in disbelief. I didn't know what to do."
His teammates did.
Cody Webster latched onto Griggs in a bear hug, and other teammates streamed to the freshman to offer pats of congratulations. Griggs made his way from what he called a "mob scene" at midfield, getting slaps and hugs along the way, toward the Purdue fans in attendance and got another surprise: Mom Julie "blindsided" him, coming down from the stands to celebrate.
The Griggs clan weren't the only ones excited.
Robert Marve admitted to crying on the field afterward, emotions overflowing because of what needed to happen and how it happened.
"It feels great. It's been awhile," he said. "It was a good win. It was a drama-filled game."
And Marve played a starring role in the drama.
Making his second consecutive start, Marve went from start to finish for the first time in Big Ten play and his performance was pivotal.
He helped Purdue (4-6, 1-5) stake a 24-14 lead late in the third quarter then fumbled a ball away a mere 88 seconds later that Micah Hyde picked up and scored a nine-yard touchdown off to keep Iowa in the game.
But, in the end, Marve was the difference-maker.
With the game tied and only 16 seconds remaining after Purdue's defense got the ball back by turning Iowa away on a fourth-and-three from the 35-yard line, Marve took control.
With the pocket opening up on first down from Purdue's 34, Marve took off up the middle. He gained 17 yards, then got a timeout with 10 seconds left.
"Did I look normal?" Marve said with a smile. "I thought I was moving for a second. Then I was like, 'Get down.' My conscience came back to me."
On the next play from midfield, Purdue lined up in a four-receiver set and they all ran vertical routes, Crosby Wright said. Antavian Edison finally came out of his break and Marve drilled a pass that Edison caught near the ground and immediately went down. It was a pick-up of 20 yards to the Iowa 29, and Purdue called a timeout with five seconds left.
"Marve is just a good quarterback," Edison said. "He knows how to read coverages, and he knew what was going to be open. When he said hut, I couldn't have said I was going to get the ball, but looked back and there it was.
"You're aware of how much time you have left. You just have to play the play in your head before the play. I knew if I get a big catch, just to lay it down and hopefully our kicker can get it in, and he did. So proud of the man."
Sam McCartney had made a 36-yarder and missed a 20-yarder earlier in the game, but Coach Danny Hope called Griggs the team's long-ball kicker. So it was Griggs who got the chance for the game-winner.
Marve couldn't watch as Griggs lined up, but he made sure to send a message before that.
"I said, 'Look, man, I don't care if you miss the field goal. You're not going to dictate the game all the way. But don't go out there and aim it. I missed a throw earlier in the game when I aimed it. Go out swinging with your best bat,'" Marve said. "That's what he did, and the freshman came through."
And the Boilermakers live for another day.
"It's like a weight off our chest," Ralph Bolden said. "We know we had to win this game to keep our bowl hopes alive, and that's what we did. To know it was on the line and for us to play like we did, it gives us a lot of confidence."
Bolden's boost of confidence came from Purdue's 490 total yards against the Hawkeyes (4-6, 2-4), its highest total since getting 576 against Eastern Michigan in Week 3.
The team had its first 100-yard rusher (Bolden, 102) since Akeem Hunt had 106 against EMU.
It had a quarterback with at least 250 yards passing - Marve was 25-of-33 for 266 and two TDs - since Caleb TerBush had 294 against Marshall.
It allowed only 264 yards, its lowest total since Week 1 when Eastern Kentucky managed only 190.
They're numbers that are possible next week, too, against a struggling Illinois team that entered Saturday winless in the league.
There isn't much other choice for this team.
"It was one that we said our backs are against the wall," Marve said. "We've got to win the next two. That's what I kept talking about momentum, momentum, so hopefully this is the momentum we need. We have a great opponent in Illinois. It's a must-win for us again. We're in a playoff system. We've got to keep winning."
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