COLUMBIA, Mo. — Early in the third quarter, Purdue wanted to put a final stomp on Missouri.
And it turned to a new play to do so, one installed in practice this week after it had been lifted from Louisville following the Cardinals’ win two weeks ago.
On a fourth-and-goal, after Purdue had been stuffed on three runs, David Blough faked a handoff to Tario Fuller and then rolled to his right, fooling Missouri, which thought the Boilermakers were going to run out of the formation, and finding Richie Worship wide open for the touchdown.
It had come after Jeff Brohm called a timeout and asked Blough and Co. if they thought the play would work.
“Everyone is starting to get to that point where we trust one each other enough, that yeah, on fourth-and-one, let’s put this game out of reach,” Blough said.
That confidence might stem from the Boilermakers’ on-field leader, because Blough has a lot of it right now. He should, considering the junior quarterback followed a solid outing in a win over Ohio last week with an arguably better one in the 35-3 victory Saturday at Missouri. Blough finished with 187 yards on 22-of-28 passing with a touchdown, plus rushed for a score, and for the second straight week, he didn’t have a turnover.
It was Blough’s first start of the season — and unlikely to be his last — after coming off the bench in the first two weeks.
“I thought David played well, very efficient, made plays, made plays with his feet,” Brohm said. “Didn’t turn the ball over, and those are the things we want. I see improvement.”
Perhaps most importantly Saturday, Blough led the Boilermakers to a quick start, putting the Tigers well back seemingly before the hosts could even settle in. The Boilermakers scored on their first three possessions, doing so with a variety of screen passes and rushes that befuddled a beleaguered Missouri defense.
Those first three drives totaled an astounding 258 yards and 21 points. The last one was a 13-play, 96-yard drive, that featured two 21-yard plays, one an end-around to Gregory Phillips and another a short pass to quick slot man Terry Wright.
Otherwise, it was a workmanlike march down the field, sapping the Tigers on a hot day in Columbia.
“I hope (the Ohio game) carried over in the first couple drives,” Blough said. “It’s not anything I did. I just did my job, however many plays I had to do it and that’s what I’m trying to focus on. Protect the football, do my job, get the ball to the playmakers and they did their thing.”
The Boilermakers had 477 yards of offense, including 370 in the first half, with a good balance of 272 through the air and 205 on the ground. Running back Tario Fuller had 90 yards on 19 carries with a score.
By the second drive of the fourth quarter, Blough was out of the game, giving way to Elijah Sindelar and Jared Sparks. The time on the sideline gave him a chance to reflect on what he witnessed, arguably Purdue’s biggest win in years.
“For me, it was about staying calm and at a point in the fourth quarter, I realize, ‘Man, this is what it’s supposed to feel like,’” he said. “I was completely relaxed, my mind was shut off from everything in the outside world and we were playing football. It felt good to be in a situation, up 35-3 on a good SEC team.”
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