Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Geno's Preseason Top Ten- No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones

                                                          Photo Credit: Iowa State Athletics

No. 8 Iowa State Cyclones
2013-14 Record: 28-8 overall (11-7 Big 12 Conference)
Result: 81-76 loss in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament to No. 7-seeded Connecticut.
Key Games:
Dec. 12 at Iowa
Jan. 14 at Baylor
Jan. 17 vs. Kansas
Feb. 2 at Kansas
Feb. 25 vs. Baylor

Key Losses: Melvin Ejim (17.8 PPG and 8.4 RPG) and DeAndre Kane (17.1 PPG and 6.8 RPG)

After an unexpected end to the 2013-14 season in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament to UConn, Iowa State knew it was in for changes.
Despite losing its top two scorers Melvin Ejim and DeAndre Kane, Iowa State will have to rely primarily on 6-8 forward Georges Niang to carry the majority of the load this season.
The junior averaged 16.7 points and 4.5 rebounds last season and will be expected to be a part of coach Fred Hoiberg’s core.
Expect transfer Bryce Dejean-Jones from UNLV to also make up for the losses of Kane and Ejim.
In 31 games last season, the senior guard started 26 games for the Rebels and averaged a team-high 13.6 points and grabbed 3.7 rebounds. 
Another transfer to watch out for is 6-7 guard/forward Abdel Nader, a transfer from Northern Illinois, who led the team in scoring with 13.1 points in the 2012-13 season.
Hoiberg expects Nader to play multiple positions on the floor.
“I see us using Abdel as a perimeter guy and someone that can go inside,” Hoiberg said on “We’ve had a lot of success with guys that can make plays from the four-spot and I think that is something that Abdel can do.”
Monte’ Morris will also play a key role for the Cyclones. Morris broke into the starting five in February and led the team in steals with 46.
“Monte’ is a flat-out winner,” Hoiberg said on “He will do whatever it takes to win basketball games.”
Other players to watch out for Iowa State are guards Naz Long and Matt Thomas. 
Long averaged 7.1 points and shot 40 percent from long range, while Thomas averaged 5.5 points as a freshman.
In terms of incoming freshman, Clayton Custer (Blue Valley Northwest High School- Overland Park, KS) is the main player to watch out for. The 6-1 point guard averaged 19.4 points and 4.1 rebounds.

Projected Starting Lineup:
G Monte’ Morris 6-2 170
G Bryce Dejean-Jones 6-6 210
F Dustin Hogue 6-6 220
F Georges Niang 6-8 230
F Jameel McKay 6-9 215

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Geno's Preseason Top Ten- No. 9 Louisville Cardinals

                                             Photo Credit: Robert Deutsch- USA Today Sports

No. 9 Louisville Cardinals
2013-14 Record: 31-6 overall (15-3 American Athletic Conference)
Result: 74-69 loss in the regional semifinal of the NCAA Tournament to No. 8-seeded Kentucky.
Key Games:
Dec. 2 vs. Ohio State (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
Dec. 27 vs. Kentucky
Jan. 10 at North Carolina
Jan. 17 vs. Duke
Jan. 31 vs. North Carolina
Feb. 7 at Virginia
Feb. 18 at Syracuse
March 7 vs. Virginia

Key Losses: Russ Smith (18.3 PPG) and Luke Hancock (12.3 PPG)

Out with the old and in with the new will be Louisville’s creed this season as it makes the jump from the American Athletic Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
The move will be the Cardinals’ third different conference in as many seasons (Big East 2012-13, AAC 2013-14 and the ACC 2014- ).
Don’t expect the talent level in the backcourt to drop off in Louisville’s first season in the ACC as the departure of guard Russ Smith will open up an opportunity for sophomore Terry Rozier to fill the void.
Rozier averaged 7.0 points in 19 minutes per game off the bench last season.
Guard Chris Jones is expected to be more of a leader for Louisville this season. The senior finished second on the team last season with an average of 3.1 assists.
The Cardinals will rely heavily on its frontcourt with Montrezl Harrell expecting to be the top threat on offense.
Harrell is the leading returning scorer with 14.2 points per game in the 2013-14 season. The junior’s free-throw shooting will be something to keep an eye on as he went 46 percent last season.
Named to’s All-America first team on Oct. 7, Harrell isn’t fazed by the increased hype and pressure to perform on a high level this season.
“I try to not let myself think about it too much,” Harrell said in an interview with the Louisville Courier-Journal on Oct. 16. “If you start thinking about those things and worrying about those things, you stress yourself out.”
Wayne Blackshear and Mangok Mathiang are expected to see more playing time in the frontcourt to make up for the loss of long-range specialist Luke Hancock.
Blackshear averaged 8.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19.6 minutes, while Mathiang averaged 3.6 points and 3.6 rebounds in 14.7 minutes.
Freshman Jaylen Johnson (Ypsilanti High School- Ypsilanti, MI) highlights Pitino’s recruiting class this past off-season.
The 6-9 power forward averaged 13.6 points, 9.6 rebounds, 5.3 blocks and 4.1 assists as a senior last season as he led Ypsilanti to a 21-3 record before falling in the Class A regional finals.

Expected Starting Lineup:
G Chris Jones 5-10 175
G Terry Rozier 6-1 185
F Wayne Blackshear 6-5 230
F Montrezl Harrell 6-8 240
C Mangok Mathiang 6-9 215

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Geno's Preseason Top Ten- No. 10 Duke Blue Devils

                                                                   Photo: Duke Athletics

No. 10 Duke Blue Devils:
2013-14 Record: 26-9 overall (13-5 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Result: 78-71 loss in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to No. 14-seeded Mercer.
Key Games:
Nov. 18 vs. Michigan State in Indianapolis, Ind.
Dec. 3 at Wisconsin (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
Dec. 18 vs. Connecticut in East Rutherford, N.J.
Jan. 17 at Louisville
Jan. 31 at Virginia
Feb. 14 at Syracuse
Feb. 18 vs. North Carolina
March 7 at North Carolina

Key Losses: Jabari Parker (19.1 PPG) and Rodney Hood (16.1 PPG)

Led by true freshman Jabari Parker, the Duke Blue Devils had lofty expectations to make a deep run in last season’s NCAA Tournament.
However, the Mercer Bears happened to stand in the way of Duke’s plan as it pulled a monumental upset in the second round. The No. 3-seeded Blue Devils’ season came to an abrupt end as it went down 78-71.
Duke’s early exit would be the second time in three seasons in which it dropped its opening tournament game (Lehigh, 2012).
With Jabari Parker leaving early for the NBA Draft, another true freshman is expected to fill the void in 7-foot center Jahlil Okafor.
Okafor is projected to be the potential first overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft depending on how well he plays this season (
Before stepping on to the court to the court for the season opener on Nov. 14 against Presbyterian, Okafor was named the Preseason National Player of the Year on Oct. 7.
Okafor is taking the preseason hype in stride as he talked about whether or not experience matters in college.
“When I step on the court, it really doesn’t matter if I’m a freshman or a senior,” Okafor said on “It’s basketball, and I’ve been playing basketball my entire life.”
Freshman guard Tyus Jones also chose to play at Duke last season and is expected to log heavy minutes.
Senior Quinn Cook returns as he is expected to run the show at point guard again. Cook averaged 11.6 points per game and dished out an average of 4.6 assists in the 2013-14 campaign.
Swingman Rasheed Sulaimon returns for his junior season. Sulaimon averaged 9.9 PPG and 25.6 minutes per game in 2013-14.
Juniors Amile Jefferson and Marshall Plumlee are expected to play big roles in the frontcourt. Jefferson finished second on the team last season with 6.9 rebounds per game, while Plumlee averaged 2.2 RPG.

Expected Starting Lineup:
G Quinn Cook 6’2 180
G Tyus Jones 6’1 180
G Rasheed Sulaimon 6’4 190
F Amile Jefferson 6’9 210
C Jahlil Okafor 7’0 265

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Monday, October 13, 2014

B1G+4 Podcast Ep. 13- Terry Foster and Mark Dantonio

On today's @B1GPlus4Podcast, I talk to Terry Foster from 97.1 The Ticket about Michigan State and Michigan's performances this past weekend.

Also, some of Mark Dantonio's press conference after Michigan State/Purdue.


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Sunday, October 12, 2014

Texas vs Oklahoma: Far More Than a Football Game

                                                         Photo Credit: AP Photo File

By: DaVaughn Lucas

This past weekend, I had the privilege and honor of seeing my fifth Texas/Oklahoma football game at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

What makes the game so unique is that it is in the middle of one of the biggest state fairs in all of America— the Texas State Fair. For those who aren't aware, the Texas State Fair lasts for nearly one whole month in September-October and if you are a big fan of great food, great entertainment, auto shows and football, it is your complete delight.

During the days leading up to the game, you see many fans from both sides coming through the various buildings and if you talk to either fan base, they firmly believe that either their team will win the national championship or their coach should probably be fired. Every once in a while you hear the whole "that kid should be benched" or "they should be playing this guy," but many times, the kids are from either from Texas or Oklahoma and played at or against a fan's high school so they tend to not put a lot of blame on the student-athlete. The fair is located directly in the middle of both campuses along the Red River, thus having the name of the Red River Rivalry.

Be that as it may, this game was not going to decide any big championship aspirations, maybe some for Oklahoma, who has an outside shot of getting one of the four College Football Playoff spots. For the Texas Longhorns, however, the team is looking bleak at best and I am a firm believer that Charlie Strong, the head coach at Texas, will not make it past year two. But the fans forget about that for three-plus hours.

The game is about the fun at the fair. The type many young children around the United States grew up going to in their local municipalities. The Texas State Fair encompasses all that is good with America without the ills of hearing about the negative that is going on in the world today.

A massive ferris wheel. An enormous statue of Big Tex that stands high above the park as you walk in. Major music acts that come in to perform at the Texas State Fair which have included Jessica Simpson and Garth Brooks, among many others. Some of the greatest food that you will ever have, especially if you are willing to throw away your workout plan (and have your body pay for it later) with great items such as fried cheesesticks, fried oreos, chicken fried steak, chicken fried chicken, great burritos, Texas BBQ and other great foods– all from local Texas vendors.

Oh yeah, about that football game. The game was great, Oklahoma kept on rolling along and Texas continued to fall into a tailspin that has not been seen in the streets of Austin since the Southwest Conference days.

Is the Cotton Bowl an old building? Absolutely. It defintiely needs some big time upgrades.

But then again, it reminds me of what a stadium would look like in the Alamo. Concrete seats. Looks a lot like an amphitheater. Uncomfortable to sit in for long amounts of time. But I would tell all sports fans to take a visit.

However, against the typical sports fan's nature, the football game is secondary. The celebration of love, food and fun of Texas at the State Fair is what truly scores a touchdown in my book and is why when I have children, they will absolutely go down to the event.

Who knows, maybe Texas and Oklahoma will mean more on the field than off the field at that point.....

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Michigan State Press Conferences at Purdue

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio and several players featuring Connor Cook and Nick Hill talk about the 45-31 win over Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday.


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Five Things To Take Away From Michigan State’s 45-31 Win Over Purdue

                                                              Photo Credit: AJ Mast/AP
Michigan State (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) escaped with a 45-31 win over Purdue (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) Saturday at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. Here are five things to take away from the game:
1) Michigan State Overcoming Two Purdue Comebacks In The Second And Fourth Quarters:
For the second straight week, Michigan State had to thwart off of a fourth quarter rally­­­­­­­ as Purdue attempted to play the role of spoiler.
Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio talked about how Purdue’s failed comeback helped in terms of keeping his team on solid ground.
“[These types of games] helps us because when games are close and on the line, you understand how you have to measure up as a team,” Dantonio said.
2) Special Teams:
Sure, Dantonio’s gambles have paid off in the past, but the oddest of scenarios came about in the fourth quarter with MSU up 14 points and deciding on fourth down to fake a punt attempt in hopes of throwing Purdue off. The play ended up stalling as Purdue got the ball back and scored on the next play on a three-yard TD run from Akeem Hunt.
Spartans running back Nick Hill was even surprised when he saw the fake punt called.
“When I saw [the play], it was hard to believe that [Dantonio] called it, but our defense stepped up and our offense scored one more time,” Hill said.
3) Michigan State’s Running Game:
For the third time in four games, MSU finished with over 200 yards on the ground. The majority of the Spartans’ 294 yards came from Jeremy Langford (110) and Nick Hill (72). Hill would score both touchdowns and talked about playing a part in MSU’s one-two rushing attack.
“It is satisfying because when you are a part of an offense that had the success that we did today, then it is a good feeling,” Hill said. “I look at it as a good game for myself and will do the best that I can to help us win.”
4) Purdue Quarterback Austin Appleby:
In his first career home start, sophomore Austin Appleby went 24-of-37 for 211 yards passing and threw a touchdown.
It sounded like a good game on paper, but Appleby’s interception to MSU’s Darien Harris for a 15-yard touchdown with 1:22 left in the game highlighted the constant pressure he faced all game long.
“I had a guy pressuring me, I should have just thrown the ball away and live to play the next down,” Appleby said. “That’s something that will get fixed.”
5) Tony Lippett:
MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett continues to be the foundation of the offense as he finished with seven receptions for 138 yards and a touchdown.
Lippett now has four 100-yard plus games on the season, but he deflected the focus to the team, not himself.
“We have to continue to keep our foot on the pedal, and try to not get too laid back,” Lippett said. “We have to continue to execute. We have to finish every time we go out there.”
Looking Ahead:
Both teams are on the road next Saturday as Michigan State travels to Indiana, while Purdue goes to Minnesota.
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Live Game Thread Recap: No. 8 Michigan State holds off Purdue 45-31

I have made it to West Lafayette, Ind. safely for today's matchup between the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans at the Purdue Boilermakers.

Players to watch out for: MSU WR Tony Lippett and Purdue QB Austin Appleby.

Purdue is wearing special neon green helmets in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

MSU starts at its own 25.

State forced to call timeout as it appears they were having issues communicating the play.

On 3rd and 8, Cook finds Langford for a Spartan first down.

Cook throws a pretty pass to the corner of the end zone as he connects to Tony Lippett for a MSU TD.

The pass was for 39 yards and MSU tacks on the XP as it leads 7-0.

Cook went 3-4 for 53 yards and a passing TD on his opening drive.

Trick play on the kickoff for Purdue as Raheem Mostert handed it to Akeem Hunt on a reverse and got to its own 23.

Appleby connects to Anthrop for a huge gain into MSU territory.

Griggs' 36-yard FG attempt is up and good. MSU 7, Purdue 3 7:25 left in the 1st quarter.

Despite Appleby's 4-4 start passing, it was his false start that cost Purdue a chance to go for it on fourth down.

Cook on third down lobs another long pass to Jamal Lyles for a 21-yd gain.

Tony Lippett with an amazing two-handed catch and fights another defender off for 27 yards.

Cook hands the ball to Nick Hill as he dashes to the left corner of the end zone for a 2-yd TD.

Michael Geiger's XP is good. MSU 14, Purdue 3 3:47 left in the first quarter.
Tony Lippett with two amazing catches thus far for State.

End of the first quarter as MSU leads Purdue 14-3.

State caught a huge break as Landon Feichter muffed an INT and Josiah Price capitalized with a 2-yd TD.

XP is good. MSU 21, Purdue 3 11:37 in the second quarter.

Hunt goes in from three yards out for Purdue as the Ross-Ade crowd erupts for its loudest cheer of the day.

MSU 21, Purdue 10. 9:00 2nd. The Boilermakers used a run-heavy attack for its first TD of the good. Remember, they went for 300-plus on Ilinois last weekend. 

Not by much, but Geiger's 42-yd FG good. MSU 24, Purdue 10 5:19 2nd.

We have a game in West Lafayette as BJ Knauf catches a 9-yd TD pass for Purdue.

XP is good. MSU 24, Purdue 17 1:43 left in the opening half.

MSU's rush defense and Purdue's pass defense have had a rough first half thus far.

MSU's 21-3 lead earlier in the first half is cut to 24-17 at the half on Purdue.

Appleby on the fake handoff bobbles the ball as Michigan State recovers at its own 49.

Cook on the rollout pass is picked off by Purdue's Frankie Williams.

Akeem Hunt responds on 4th and 2 with a 52-yd TD run for Purdue.

XP is good. MSU 38, Purdue 24 8:49 left in the game. This one isn't over yet as MSU almost blew a 24-point lead in the fourth last week.

Purdue's defense holds serve as they force State to a 3 and Out.

That was a questionable play call by Dantonio to fake a punt in your own territory on fourth down.

Purdue is 30 yards away from making this one a one-score game.

Akeem Hunt with his third TD of the game as Hicks from MSU is being tended to.

XP is good as believe it or not Purdue is down 38-31 with 6:19 left in the game.

Cook with a sideline pass complete to Lippett for a MSU first down.

Horrible clock mismanagement by MSU gives Purdue an opportunity to tie the game with 2:59 left in the game.

B.J. Knauf is down and being helped off the field. Two injuries on the same drive for Purdue.

Appleby takes what appears to be a late hit as he scrambled for a two-yard gain. 3rd and 8 coming up.

Appleby throws a pick six and that is all she wrote from West Lafayette as No. 8 Michigan State survives at Purdue 45-31.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

B1G+4 Podcast Ep. 11- Angelique Chengelis and Brian Calloway

On this edition of the @B1GPlus4Podcast, I talk to Angelique Chengelis from the Detroit News as we discussed Under The Lights III.

I also talked to Brian Calloway as we preview No. 8 Michigan State at Purdue.


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Monday, October 6, 2014

B1G+4 Podcast Ep. 10- Justin Burnette and Purdue QB Austin Appleby

On this week's @B1GPlus4Podcast, Eugene talks to Justin Burnette after Purdue's 38-27 win at Illinois this past Saturday.

Also, Purdue quarterback Austin Appleby talks about the victory and talks about the upcoming Michigan State game.


Social Media:

Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Purdue/Illinois Photo Gallery

Thanks to Damon Warren again for painting a beautiful picture of the Purdue/Illinois game. I hope you guys enjoy the pictures from Saturday.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Purdue Press Conference vs Illinois 10-4-14

After Purdue's 38-27 victory over Illinois, coach Darrell Hazell addressed the media.


Social Media:

Follow Eugene Evans on Twitter @GenoSportsguy.

Live Blog Recap of Purdue's 38-27 victory over Illinois

Damon Warren | College Sports Overload

By: Eugene Evans

It was an overcast, windy and cold day in Champaign Ill. as Purdue took on Illinois Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Here is my live blog recap in real time:

Illinois' first possession was highlighted Lunt with a textbook pass to Mike Dudek for a 30-yard gain and a ILL first down.

Lunt completes the ball to John Davis for an Illinois first down.

Lunt's playaction pass completed to a wide open Tyler White for his first-career TD reception.

XP is good as Illinois leads Purdue 7-0 with 9:18 left in the first quarter.

Purdue responds on the next drive as Raheem Mostert goes 44 yards for a Purdue TD.

XP is good as the game is tied at 7 with 7:07 left in the first quarter.

Lunt finds Josh Ferguson down the sidelines for a 41-yard reception for the Illini.

Lunt hands the ball to Ferguson for a 2-yard TD run for Illinois.

XP is good as Illinois leads Purdue 14-7 with 4:52 left in the opening quarter as both teams have scored fast and furious early.

Illegal block in the back from Purdue pushes them back to its own 7 to start the drive.

Appleby scrambles and finds an open Gregory Phillips for a Purdue first down.

Appleby fumbles the snap and recovers for a 11-yd loss bringing up a third down.

Appleby's pass completed to Justin Sinz as he escaped a tackle for a 25-yd gain.

Purdue goes for it on fourth down and one and Keyante Green is stopped as Illinois gets the ball back on downs.

End of the first quarter: Illinois 14, Purdue 7.

Lunt with a beautiful pass to Mike Dudek as he catches it over his shoulder for a huge Illinois gain.

Illinois turns it over on downs back to Purdue.

Akeem Hunt goes straight up the middle and gashes the Illini D as he scores from 54 yards.

XP is good as the game is tied at 14 with 8:58 left in the first half. PUR Drive, 3 Plays, 77 Yards, 1:34.

Hunt has 11 carries for 91 yards and TD in the first half for Purdue.

A disastrous screen pass is completed to Ferguson for a 10-yd loss.

Illinois goes three and out as they are forced to punt.

Purdue moves into Ill territory as it started the drive as its own 26.

Appleby keeps the ball on fourth down and picks up a first as he gains three.

Hunt escapes several Ill tacklers for a 24-yd gain for Pur.

Let's just say Illinois' rush defense has been shaky to say very least in the first half.

Bizarre play of the day candidate as Appleby gets his own reception off an Ill defender for a seven-yard gain.

20-yd FG by Paul Griggs is good as Pur leads Ill 17-14 with :06 left in the first half.

Halftime: Purdue 17, Illinois 14

QB Comparison: Appleby (PUR) 10-13 100 yds passing, Lunt (ILL) 10-16 158 yds passing and a TD.

Purdue's Akeem Hunt leads all rushers with 148 yards on 19 carries and a TD.

The Illini start at its own 33.

On 3rd and 11, Lunt's pass was tipped by Purdue's Jake Replogle as Illinois is forced to punt.

Purdue starts the drive on its own 14.

Appleby escapes the pressures and goes out of bounds after gaining seven, but Purdue goes three and out.

Illinois starts the drive at its own 41.

A little trickeration as Illinois uses a flea flicker from Lunt to Dudek for a 40+yd gain. 

Lunt throws a backwards pass to Ferguson and fumbles as Purdue recovers at its own 19.

Appleby finds Danny Anthrop down the sidelines for an 80-yd Purdue TD reception.

XP is good as Purdue leads Illinois 24-14 with 9:59 left in the third qtr.

Danny Anthrop (Pur) now has 3 rec. for 99 yards and a TD, while Mike Dudek (Illinois) has four receptions for a game-high 133 yds.

Illinois is at Purdue's goal-line as they have moved with efficiency.

Lunt finds Geronimo Allison over the shoulder for a 6-yd TD reception.

XP is good as Purdue's lead on Illinois has been cut to 24-21 with 6:07 left in the third. 

Purdue starts at its own 25.

Appleby goes right up the middle of Illinois' defense untouched for a 62-yd gain.

Appleby sneaks it in for a 1-yd TD run for Purdue.

Illinois clearly has issues with its run defense and could be its downfall today.

XP is good as Purdue leads Illinois 31-21 with 3:51 left in the third.

Wow, so two Illinois players collided with each other on the kickoff. Kind of reminiscent of the Florida fail from last year.

Lunt with the hand off to Donovvon Young for a 2-yd TD run.

That play is now under review to see if Young crossed the plane for Illinois.

Illinois TD upheld and the XP is NO GOOD as Illinois trails Purdue 31-27 with 99 seconds remaining in the third.

Another blown assignment by Illinois as Keyante Green goes for a 53-yd gain. Purdue now over 300 yds rushing on the day.

Appleby with his second rushing TD on the day— this one from a yard out.

XP is good as Purdue leads 38-27 with 13:39 left in the game.

On my way down to the field in a couple of minutes, so the tweets won't be as active.

Special teams errors continue for Illinois as Reisner's 30-yd FG is blocked by Anthony Brown takes over on its own 22.

Reilly O'Toole enters the game for an injured Wes Lunt.

Illinois mounted a late drive, but was stalled by Purdue as Landon Feichter picks off O'Toole's pass as Purdue wins its Big Ten road opener 38-27.

Purdue moves to 3-3 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten, while Illinois falls to 3-3 and 0-2 in the Big Ten.

Purdue hosts No. 10 Michigan State next Saturday, while Illinois travels to Wisconsin.

Social Media:

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