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Purdue spoils Illinois’ Homecoming, 46-7

The Illini fall to 3-3 on the year and 1-2 in the Big Ten.

NCAA Football: Purdue at Illinois Mike Granse-USA TODAY Sports

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — This isn’t the first time Illinois has lost by 39 points at home, but Illini fans are left with a different taste in their mouth this time around.

Purdue dominated the Illinois in all aspects of the game, leaving Memorial Stadium feeling pleased with its third win of the season in a 46-7 thumping Saturday afternoon. Quarterback David Blough led the attack for the Boilermakers, finishing his day with 377 yards passing and three touchdowns.

“There was a lot at stake,” said senior captain Del’Shawn Phillips. “We wanted to come and get our second Big Ten win. We wanted to protect our house. We wanted to win in front of our fans on Homecoming. There was a lot of big things that we wanted to do as a team, and we failed.”

Illinois (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) struck first with a five-yard touchdown run from quarterback A.J. Bush Jr., set up by a 52-yard reception from running back Reggie Corbin, but that would be it for Illinois. The offense finished with just 250 total yards, and it is nearly impossible to beat any team with such a lack of production.

Blough found wide receiver Isaac Zico for a three-yard touchdown pass on their second possession of the day — and the rout was on for head coach Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers, who finished the game with 46 unanswered points.

On their third drive of the day, Purdue (3-3, 2-1) executed the ‘Philly Special’ to perfection, finding Blough wide open in the endzone for a seven-yard touchdown catch. Purdue found the endzone twice more before the half ended, a one-yard touchdown rush to open the second quarter and then a 42-yard receiving touchdown for Zico. Kicker Spencer Evans also tacked on a field goal for the Boilermakers in the second quarter, giving Purdue a 29-7 lead entering halftime.

“They were hitting some seam routes and different deep routes,” said linebacker Jake Hansen. “We tried to switch it up a little bit, but we just didn’t play well.”

The Boilermakers received the opening kickoff in the second half, and twice the Illinois defense stopped the drive. Purdue, settling for its second punt of the day, was given new life on an Illinois offside penalty. Then, a Sydney Brown interception was negated by yet another offside penalty. Rondale Moore would go on to find the endzone, padding the Boilermakers’ lead.

The offensive struggles continued for Illinois, unable to get anything going in the second half.

“[The fans] gave us a chance,” Corbin said. “They always do every year. They give us one chance. The past few years, since I’ve been here, we’ve blown it. We can regain that easily. Just go out and take care of business every game from here on out.”

SOUND SMART

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Illinois will look to bounce back next week when they travel to Camp Randall to take on the No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten). Kickoff is slated for 11 a.m. C.T..