The nation’s leading receiver caught 13 passes for 265 yards, his second 200 plus yard game this season and largest total of the season, but it wasn’t enough as Western Michigan’s turnovers and lack of running game plagued them all night long, and Purdue ran away with a 37-32 victory.
Purdue used exactly what they had used all season long to get to a bowl game–their running game–despite missing Ralph Bolden due to injury. Junior tailback Akeem Shavers had his first career 100 yard performance, carrying the ball 22 times for 149 yards in total, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and pacing a Purdue rushing attack that totaled 265 yards on the day.
The Boilermakers also used their dual quarterback rotation of Caleb Terbush and Robert Marve who combined for 177 yards, two touchdowns, and most importantly–no interceptions.
Purdue forced WMU into four interceptions, two of which were picked off by defensive end Gerald Gooden. They also fumbled the ball–and lost it–three times for a whopping seven turnovers, and remarkably they only lost by five points.
Defensive tackle Kawann Short showed some good quickness and was a big reason why WMU quarterback Alex Carder was forced into the four interceptions. He looks to me like a lock to be a day two pick, possibly even a fringe first round player.
One prospect I am continually intrigued by is WMU wide receiver Jordan White. He has good size and is a flat out gamer. If he runs in the low 4.5 range, I think he goes from being a late-round prospect to being a guaranteed third or fourth round pick. If he runs in the 4.6 range, he will likely go late in the draft, but he will most certainly make a roster and make an impact in some way, because some guys just know how to get the job done.