Purdue Outlasts Arizona In Foster Farms Thriller
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"Elijah Sindelar threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Mahoungou with 1:44 remaining and Purdue capped coach Jeff Brohm's first season in dramatic style with a 38-35 victory over Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl on Wednesday night.
"It's huge," Sindelar said. "It sets the tone for next year. Guys are in good spirits. They'll be excited to go into spring ball instead of kind of moping around because we lost. We won, we got a winning record, we really flipped it around from last year. I couldn't be more excited. "
The Boilermakers (7-6) had squandered a 17-point halftime lead when Khalil Tate threw his fifth TD pass with 3:21 remaining to give the Wildcats (7-6) the lead.
But Sindelar responded with a 75-yard drive that ended with the deep throw into the end zone to Mahoungou, giving the Boilermakers their first winning record since 2011 and first bowl win over a major conference team since beating Washington in the 2002 Sun Bowl.
Purdue had won only nine games in the previous four seasons before Brohm arrived.
"That's a memory you'll cherish for the rest of your life," Brohm said "They definitely earned it because they put in the hard work, have gone through the adversity and continued to hang in there."
Sindelar threw for 396 yards and four touchdowns, with Mahoungou (118 yards) and Gregory Phillips (149) each topping the 100-yard mark and catching two TD passes.
Tate was just as good, showing he can win with his arm as well as he can with his legs that carried him to 1,353 yards rushing in the regular season. Tate threw for 302 yards and five touchdowns but his late interception to Jacob Thieneman ended the comeback attempt.
The Boilermakers will try to build on Brohm's successful first season. They start with a tough conference test when they host Northwestern on Aug. 30."
If it wasn't there already, Purdue is OFFICIALLY in the "ahead of schedule" talk as a program. The stat above says it all.
Nine wins in four years. Four years.
The Boilers not only nearly matched that this year, but they did it in impressive fashion. A dominant win on the road at Mizzou early in the season, another road win over an Iowa team that just won a bowl itself, and an Old Oaken Bucket victory were all highlights of the season and ones nobody really expected in August.
Not only that, but the resiliency and mental toughness of a team so fresh into a new program like Jeff Brohm's to be able to lose a couple of games during the middle of the season, be on the outside looking in to bowl eligibility, and winning three straight games to end the season shows that Purdue is already turned around.
They may not be making reservations for Indianapolis in the first weekend of December just yet, but it may be sooner than you think. Just take this year for example.
Between what the Boilermakers showed on the gridiron this fall, and what they continue to do inside Mackey Arena, all I can say is one thing.
It's a bad time to be an IU fan.