Jackson Anthrop | Purdue football | trick play
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Jackson Anthrop is 'a Boilermaker for life'

It's good to be Jackson Anthrop.

The last two weeks, the Purdue super senior wideout/running back has been a key cog in helping the program notch two big wins, grab national headlines and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2018.

Anthrop is an unlikely hero for this surprising 6-3 (4-2 Big Ten) team that plays at No. 6 Ohio State (8-1, 6-0) on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

"We're proud of the work ethic he's put in, and he generally cares about winning and helping his program, and we want him to be as involved as we possibly can," said Purdue coach Jeff Brohm.

Brohm is involving Anthrop ... a lot.

In addition to his work as a wideout, Anthrop is being deployed as a ball carrier--he rushed often as a star at nearby Central Catholic High School--adding quickness to a rushing attack that needed a spark.

"He's done a good job in all aspects," said Brohm. "He's been good on special teams, he's been good when we throw him the ball at receiver. He's made plays whether we hand it to him or throw it to him behind the line of scrimmage. He's a Boilermaker for life."

In a 28-23 victory at Nebraska, he ran five times for 25 yards and caught six passes for 43 and a TD. In last week's 40-29 win vs. No. 5 Michigan State, Anthrop carried five times for 14 yards and hauled in six passes for 80 and another touchdown.

"I gotta give credit to my teammates and the coaches for sticking with me and believing with me and just going out there and giving everything I got for the community, my teammates," said Anthrop.

It has been a study in perseverance for Anthrop, whose 47 receptions as a redshirt freshman way back in 2017 led the team. Then, Purdue started bringing in some elite talent like Rondale Moore and David Bell. Anthrop saw his opportunities wane. He had just eight catches in 2018. Anthrop rebounded to make 37 in 2019 before tallying only three in last year's pandemic-impacted season.

Now, Anthrop has reemerged as he enters the homestretch of his career. The timing is perfect.

Story continues below chart

Jackson Anthrop career stats
Season Catches Yards TDs Rushes Yards, TDs

2017

47

423

5

10

17, 2

2018

8

54

0

1

-1

2019

37

340

1

12

48

2020

3

33

0

0

0

2021

34

316

2

15

61

TOTALS

129

1,166

8

38

125, 1

Anthrop also has 26 career punt returns for 72 yards (2.8 ypr) and 21 kickoff returns for 349 yards (16.6 ypr).

The 2021 season is proving to be a nice bookend to Anthrop's Purdue career.

He again is a key weapon in the Boilermaker receiving unit. His 34 catches rank fourth on the team, going for 316 yards (9.3 ypc) with two TDs. Anthrop's patience, unselfishness and hard work are not only paying off individually, but he also has helped Purdue get back to the postseason.

"Kind of started off hot early on and kind of sat in the background for a while and then I've just been able to stay focused and make sure to do whatever it takes to help the team win," said Anthrop.

And, nothing he did last week helped more than the 39-yard touchdown catch Anthrop made on a trick play in the second quarter that gave Purdue a 21-7 and sent the packed Ross-Ade Stadium crowd into a frenzy.

Anthrop says the offense practices the play, called "Money One," at least once a week. And the play has been practiced once a week since Brohm got to Purdue, according to Anthrop.

"I was hoping I was gonna have enough juice to get through it all," said Anthrop, "because we had a couple quick plays and it had come all the way back to one side and out of motion all the way back.

"The o-line did a great job. There were two or three great blocks. I can't give any more credit to David (Bell) and Milton (Wright) getting all the way down there and getting a piece of guys. It was all around a great play for everybody."

Especially, Anthrop, one of the team's biggest surprises in this surprisingly good season for Purdue.

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