Welcome to the TCR GameThread! The Fighting Illini will return home to Champaign on Saturday to face the Purdue Boilermakers, and Steve Bourbon (@steve_bourbon) will be covering the action for us. Make sure to refresh this page throughout the game for updates and analysis on the Orange and Blue.
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We'll have a recap up shortly after the game concludes; all post-game discussion should take place there. Go Illini!
It's the Game of the Weak in the Big Ten between Purdue and Illinois. This contest has pretty much no implications in the grand scheme of things, other than one of these teams, by default, will walk away with a conference victory. For those that are interested in the world of point spreads and betting lines, this was an interesting case study. Illinois is consistently considered to be a 9 or 9.5-point favorite today, but that seems awful low against a Purdue team that gave up 50 points to Maryland a week ago. All indications point to Boilers head coach Darrell Hazell being fired at the end of the season -- if not sooner -- because his teams have just four wins against FBS opponents in Hazell's four seasons at Purdue (albeit one of those was a 38-27 win in Champaign in 2014). If Illinois plays anything like it did against Nebraska last week, this should be a blowout in the Illini's favor. However, if we see the same type of lethargic performance from Illinois that saw Western Michigan dominate the Illini, this could be a much closer game.
15:00 1st Quarter: Purdue will start with the ball at its own 21-yard line.
12:21 1st Quarter: Boilermakers will punt after Blough's pass is dropped on third down. Look for Illinois to load up against the run and force Blough to beat them through the air. Illinois will take over at its own 21-yard line.
First career start for Kenyon Jackson.— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 8, 2016
9:34 1st Quarter: Two big plays (a 21-yard completion to Turner and a 46-yard rush by Corbin) get the Illini with first and goal inside the five yard line but Purdue stuffs three straight runs up the middle. Illinois settles for a field goal.
Illinois 3, Purdue 0
7:19 1st Quarter: Nice play by Julian Jones to sniff out a reverse, and Blough missed a pair of open receivers on back to back plays to force Purdue to punt once again.
5:47 1st Quarter: UPDATE: Both teams are very bad. Illinois punts (not well) and Purdue will take over at the Illini 49-yard line.
2:02 1st Quarter: Purdue gets on the board on a designed quarterback run from Blough. Boilers have just 19 yards passing, but the good field position gives them an early lead.
Purdue 7, Illinois 3
End of 1st Quarter: Purdue 7, Illinois 3
14:56 2nd Quarter: Chase McLaughlin is a revelation at kicker. Knocks in a 47-yard field goal to bring the Illini within a point. He's still perfect on the year on both field goals and extra points.
Purdue 7, Illinois 6
#illini have 5 touchdowns on 11 red-zone appearances this season.— Jeremy Werner (@JWernerScout) October 8, 2016
9:59 2nd Quarter: Blough connects on a pair on long passes and a 32-yard touchdown rush suddenly gives Purdue a commanding 14-6 lead. The Illini defense looks like swiss cheese right now.
Purdue 14, Illinois 6
7:52 2nd Quarter: Illinois would have been forced to punt, but a late hit on Lunt extends the drive. Lunt is still down however, and it does not look good. Very, very late hit.
5:11 2nd Quarter: Chayce Crouch comes in and runs the read option with immediate success, capped off by a long touchdown run. We'll have to see about Lunt, but the Illini offense seemed to get a spark with Crouch on the field.
Purdue 14, Illinois 13
3:07 2nd Quarter: Purdue got the matchup it wanted with Tre Watson on a wide reciever and Malik Kimbrough scampers 45 yards on a middle screen for a touchdown. Purdue's offense is rolling on its past two drives. Wes Lunt also went to the locker room during that drive, with a trainer holding his helmet.
Purdue 21, Illinois 13
11 straight rushing plays for the #Illini since Crouch came in at QB. Crouch 8 carries for 81 yards (both career highs)— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 8, 2016
0:29 2nd Quarter: A long run from Ke'Shawn Vaughn puts Illinois in field goal range, but the Illini can't push any further. McLaughlin nails his third field goal of the day to bring the Illini closer right before halftime.
Purdue 21, Illinois 16
HALFTIME: Purdue 21, Illinois 16
Lovie Smith on Lunt's status to Carey Davis w/halftime interview @wdws1400: "Right now, he's down, so we're going to keep going w/Chayce."— Matt Daniels (@mdaniels_NG) October 8, 2016
HALFTIME THOUGHTS: Well this is just a matchup of two awful teams. Illinois hasn't played up to potential, and Purdue has kept drives alive by converting 7-of-10 third down conversions. With Wes Lunt out of the game, Illinois will be significantly hampered on offense. Chayce Crouch has led a pair of drives to produce 10 points, but he has yet to complete a pass to go with his 81 yards passing. Purdue should put as many defenders at the line of scrimmage as possible and dare Crouch to beat them in the passing game. On the other side, you would think that Illinois would have the same game plan, but Purdue quarterback David Blough has done a good job of getting the ball out quickly and finding optimal matchups for his offense. Purdue is the worst team that Illinois has played this season (not including Murray State) yet the Boilers are playing with a lot of confidence. I would think halftime adjustments would favor the better coaching staff - which benefits Illinois - but we'll see. Illinois will get the ball to start the second half.
13:05 3rd Quarter: Three plays, three runs, three and out. Illinois punt backs Purdue up to its own 9-yard line.
9:40 3rd Quarter: Blough scrambles on third and long and is tackled just a yard short. Purdue hurries to the line to go for it on fourth and short, but the Illini defense comes up with a huge stop to earn the turnover on downs.
First completion of the day for Crouch goes to Turner for 6 yards #Illini— Matt Daniels (@mdaniels_NG) October 8, 2016
3:45 3rd Quarter: Play of the day as Chayce Crouch hits Turner on a deep ball, which was tipped up in the air, and Turner hauls it in with one hand to give the Illini first and goal. Crouch then gives the Illini the lead by scrambling for a touchdown by getting flipped into the air. Interesting decision by Lovie to kick the extra point and not go for two and go up by three. Still, Illinois leads.
Illinois 23, Purdue 21
Malik Turner pic.twitter.com/VFWc7KRjcV— IllinoisLoyalty (@IllinoisLoyalty) October 8, 2016
0:37 3rd Quarter: Purdue drives down the field -- thanks to a pair of unsportsmanlike conduct penalties from Illinois -- but Blough misses a wide open receiver on third and short. The Boilers still convert a 37-yard field goal to retake the leadd.
Purdue 24, Illinois 23
END OF 3RD QUARTER: Purdue 24, Illinois 23
12:34 4th Quarter: Crouch completes a pass on third and long, despite being hit late and having his helmet kicked off by Eddy Wilson after the play. Two personal fouls move the ball inside the 5-yard line, and Foster powers it in for a touchdown. The Illini complete the two-point conversion with a pass to Turner, and Crouch has this offense running smoothly.
Illinois 31, Purdue 24
9:14 4th Quarter: Purdue responds immediately with a touchdown of its own. We've got a shootout on our hands here!
Purdue 31, Illinois 31
Chayce Crouch is the first #Illini QB with 100+ rushing yards since Reilly O’Toole had 147 at Northwestern 11/29/2014.— Illini Stats & Notes (@IlliniStats) October 8, 2016
4:26 4th Quarter: Huge stop by the Illinois defense to give Crouch and Co. the ball back. If Illinois can manage the clock correctly, this could be the deciding possession in the game.
3:06 4th Quarter: Big review here. Turner is tackled right at the marker on third down, and he is awarded a first down on the field. Officials will take a look, but I believe this should stand, based on his second effort at the very end of the run. Video review confirms the call -- first down Illinois.
1:21 4th Quarter: Illinois can't move the ball and is forced to punt. Frain's kick is a boomer that pins Purdue back at its own 26-yard line. Purdue has all three timeouts at its disposal.
0:37 4th Quarter: A deflected pass ends up in the hands of an Illinois defender and the Illini take over with the ball at its own 47-yard line. All three timeouts for Illinois.
0:00 4th Quarter: Chase McLaughlin picked a bad time to miss his first field goal of the season. His attempt to win the game deflects off the right upright and we're headed to overtime.