WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — David Bell scored the go-ahead touchdown from nine yards out with 1:08 to play, and Purdue beat Nebraska 31-27 on Saturday.
The Boilermakers (3-6, 2-4 Big Ten) took the lead for good after starting quarterback Jack Plummer left the game with a right ankle injury — the latest player to be sidelined on a team plagued by injuries.
Head coach Jeff Brohm said Purdue will likely be without Plummer for the remainder of the season after he needed help off the field following a run-play injury with 7:55 remaining. Plummer finished 25-of-34 passing with 242 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, and he rushed 61 yards on 12 carries.
The Boilermakers lost quarterback Elijah Sindelar (broken left collarbone) and All-American receiver Rondale Moore (left hamstring) four games ago and have lost three games since, making Saturday’s win that much better.
“It was a big win for our team today,” Brohm said. “It has been rough at times this year. If you want to win, it’s not supposed to be a whole lot of fun. We’ve made mistakes this year. We’ve been hard on our guys and quite demanding a bit. But you have to back off and allow these guys to play and make mistakes.”
Four plays after Plummer’s injury, King Doerue scored on a 7-yard touchdown run to give Purdue a 24-20 lead with 6:50 to go in back-and-forth fourth quarter. Doerue finished with 71 yards rushing on 15 carries and had 31 yards on five receptions, including a 3-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Adrian Martinez was 22 of 39 for 247 yards passing and an interception for the Cornhuskers (4-5, 2-4), who have lost four of their last five games and two straight to the Boilermakers. Martinez rushed for 58 yards on 12 carries and scored twice.
Nebraska: Martinez returned after missing the last two games following a left knee injury against Northwestern on Oct. 5. The Cornhuskers are trying to get on track down the stretch in the regular season. They need two wins to be eligible for a bowl game.
Purdue: The Boilermakers hope the win will be enough to get them on a roll in the final games. They must win their last three games to be bowl-eligible for the second straight year.
Nebraska: Off next week and will host Wisconsin on Nov. 16.
Purdue: At Northwestern next week for the first of two straight road games.