WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Chad Ryland delivered Eastern Michigan a thrilling victory over the Purdue as time expired on Saturday.
The freshman kicker made the late go-ahead field goal from 24 yards to lift the Eagles over the Boilermakers 20-19.
Quarterback Tyler Wiegers was 20 of 28 for 312 yards and a touchdown pass that came in the second quarter from 75 yards to Mathew Sexton to put the Eagles ahead 7-3.
“It’s never over, you don’t have any choice other than to believe that it’s gonna happen and that it’s possible,” Eastern Michigan coach Chris Creighton said. “There was never a time where our sidelines felt as if we lost the game.”
In an overall sloppy game, things seemed to go Eastern Michigan’s way when the Eagles needed it most.
On the final drive of the game, Wiegers was sacked on third down by linebacker Cornel Jones, who was called for a late hit when he appeared to shove Wiegers into the playing field while getting up after the play.
“Obviously I need to work hard in developing a more disciplined football team,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “We have some players who don’t quite get it. ... I must have let it happen before because I don’t know why we would do such stupid things in key moments two weeks in a row on both sides of the ball. It’s very embarrassing.”
Jones sacked Wiegers again plays later, but Wiegers completed a 23-yard pass to Arthur Jackson on fourth down, and later a defensive pass interference penalty put the Eagles on Purdue’s 20-yard line before Ryland’s game-winning kick.
“I saw the ball go into (Jackson’s) hands and it was like, ‘Now we have life’ because he caught that and, not only was it a first down, but he started getting us in field goal range and got it down to the 20,” Creighton said. “And then we took the penalty, basically knocked ourselves out of field goal range. There’s a lot to learn and look at on film but I think the overriding sense is that our team really believed that they could do this.”
Blake Banham finished with six receptions for 99 yards and Jackson had six receptions for 84 yards for the Eagles (Mid-American Conference), who have won two straight.
The Boilermakers (0-2, 0-1 Big Ten) took a 19-17 lead after D.J. Knox’s 45-yard touchdown run with 6:41 remaining. Knox finished with career-high 152 yards rushing on 21 carries and Markell Jones had 109 yards rushing on 12 carries.
Starting quarterback David Blough was 6 of 10 for 48 yards passing. Elijah Sindelar was 8 of 14 for 87 yards and a touchdown.
Sindelar connected with Markell Jones on a 7-yard touchdown pass to go ahead 12-7 after a failed extra point with 59 seconds remaining in the second quarter.
Ryland kicked a 27-yard field goal with three seconds left in the first half to make it 12-10 at halftime.
Eastern Michigan: The Eagles hope the second straight win over a Big Ten team will be enough to gain some momentum. A year ago, Eastern Michigan beat Rutgers 16-13 in the second game of the season for the program’s first win over a Power Five team in 59 games, but the Eagles then lost six straight games.
Purdue: The Boilermakers still have adjustments to make on defense after giving up more than 400 yards for the second straight week. Purdue made big defensive plays, however. They finished with six sacks, including 2.5 sacks from linebacker Cornel Jones.
Brohm has made a point to keep quiet about who will start at quarterback for the Boilermakers the first two weeks. Sindelar started in Purdue’s 31-27 loss to Northwestern on Aug. 31 and was replaced by Blough after throwing a third interception in the first half. Against Eastern Michigan, it was Blough who started under center before Sindelar entered the game in the second quarter. The Eagles mixed things up, too. Wiegers started for the second straight week and split time with Mike Glass III.
It was just the third meeting between the two teams and first win in the series for Eastern Michigan. It was also the first time coaching at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium for Creighton, though he’s more than familiar with the area. From 2001-07 he served as the head coach at Division III Wabash College located 45 minutes south of West Lafayette in Crawfordsville, Indiana.
“Wabash always fights,” Creighton said. “We’ve had some success versus the black and gold (referring to Wabash’s rivalry with DePauw University and the Monon Bell Classic). Some of the best seven years of my life were spent in Crawfordsville, Indiana and so I have a lot of people that are still in the state that are very, very close to me and my family.”
Eastern Michigan: At Buffalo on Saturday for the second of three straight on the road.
Purdue: Host Missouri on Saturday.