The Boilermakers had to find something to pass about 90 minutes Saturday evening, when weather interrupted their game vs. Minnesota.
Jeff Brohm joked that they popped in a Seinfeld DVD.
They didn’t. But they did try to relax as much as possible, as the game stood stuck at the 9:58 mark of the fourth quarter, right after J.D. Dellinger’s 19-yard field goal had given Purdue a 16-14 lead.
“There’s not a whole lot you can do, so I wanted them to relax,” Brohm said after Purdue had beaten Minnesota 31-17. “Let them take their pads off and brought some food in. I really didn’t want to get right in to football and then all the sudden you’re sitting there forever. I wanted our guys to kind of relax and regroup, catch their breath, talk about football or whatever they needed to. And then as we got closer to going out, kind of refocused and went over a few players we may want to run on both sides of the ball and got locked back in. We talked about getting our mind back right and went out there and I thought our guys played hard.”
Running back Markell Jones, who scored the game-winning touchdown after the teams had returned to the field following a 88-minute delay, said he tried to enjoy the break.
“I took my shoulder pads off and kicked it,” Jones said. “Put a towel over my had and took a little nap. They were feeding us snacks and drinks, staying hydrated. But when it came time to get warmed up again, threw the shoulder pads on and got locked in mentally.”
At 6:22 p.m. ET, the game was halted — J.D. Dellinger had given Purdue a 16-14 lead on a 19-yard field goal — when a storm front moved in. Lightning was the reason for the delay, with fans evacuating to the concourse, toward Mackey Arena (they came onto the field to get outside Ross-Ade Stadium) or to their cars, but the rain came heavily, as well. At points, it was coming down in sheets.
But after the delay, many fans returned to their seats, perhaps more than could have been expected given the circumstances.
The delay was the first since the Eastern Illinois game in 2007.
Sindelar solid in relief
D.J. Knox says Elijah Sindelar has ice in his veins.
It was needed Saturday, when the sophomore quarterback guided Purdue to a game-winning touchdown in the final minutes. Sindelar has had a chance before, against Louisville in the opener, but then he was unable to get the Boilermakers moving.
But after Minnesota took a 17-16 lead with 2:26 left, Sindelar directed Purdue to a 56-yard touchdown drive, hitting on consecutive passes before Jones’ 12-yard score.
“Being able to have that experience in my back pocket, to stay composed and not have to have it be my first time really helped,” he said.
Sindelar finished 19-of-26 for a career-high 248 yards with the touchdown, after relieving David Blough in the second quarter. The starter, Blough had thrown two interceptions, the second one in the end zone to potentially take points away from the Boilermakers. Blough finished 6-of-10 for 59 yards, with a TD and the two picks.
“I like Elijah Sindelar, he works hard and plays hard, did a very good job for us,” Brohm said. “I like David Blough, unfortunately he had two interceptions. He kind of forced them. Other than that, he did some good things.
“But we went to Elijah and he can do some different things. He has some poise in the pocket and can stand in there and see things, deliver the ball. I like the progress of both. Just when you think one is going to take it over, then the other one steps up. That’s kind of how it’s been.”
At this point, Sindelar, who started the first two games of the season, says he’s used to the rotation. And he thinks it’s beneficial.
“It’s not necessarily pressure, but it is motivation,” he said. “Both of us are trying to win the job. The fact that if he starts and I know I’m coming in, I have to perform if I want to continue to play. If I don’t perform, I’m going to be sitting the bench. It works to both of our benefits.”
On Friday night, Marty Dittmar gathered several Boilermakers in team hotel for a devotional.
It’s a fairly regular meeting for those who want to attend the night before the game. And on Friday, the conversation was of Joe Tiller, the legendary Purdue coach who had died the previous Saturday. Dittmar, Purdue’s longtime chaplain, told stories of Tiller and of one of the coach’s favorite sayings, “ Do what you’re supposed to do, do it when you’re supposed to do it, and do it that way all the time.”
“To know what kind of guy he was and to listen to past players talk about him a little bit, and Marty who was here during that time, it just means a lot to be able to get a win for him and his family,” said Sindelar. “It’s a great tribute.”
Purdue repeated Tiller’s quote during halftime of Saturday’s game, after the Boilermakers had had four first-half turnovers and trailed 14-6.
“As I told our team after, and as you guys know, this one was for Coach Tiller,” Brohm said. “This is the way he taught to play the game, what he preached, playing tough football and finding a way to win. And we’re happy to win this on a day we honor him.”
Bentley ices game
Ja’Whaun Bentley showed off his wheels late Saturday, returning an interception 76 yards for a touchdown.
It sealed Purdue’s win.
Interesting that Bentley’s play came in a game that he and safety Jacob Thieneman were forced to sit the first half due to targeting penalties vs. Michigan. But in one half, Thieneman finished with four tackles, while Bentley had five tackles, one for loss and the pick six.
“I was happy for him,” Brohm said of Bentley. “Ja’Whaun Bentley in my opinion is an outstanding football player. He’s big and strong and really he can run. I heard some things and listened when I got here, but every since I got in here in the spring and summer and the fall, he’s worked his tail off. Every workout, he’s come ready to go. Very running session, he’s actually run faster than I thought. He’s in the front of almost all the times we’ve ran, so he’s pushing himself.
“And, to be honest with you, the interception it was not only a great play but no one ran him down and there were receivers coming after him. From my vantage point, they weren’t catching up. So that goes a lot to his conditioning, the work ethic he had. I know he was probably a little fresher because he didn’t play the first half, but it was a great player by him. For him to finish in that fashion, I couldn’t be prouder, because I think he’s a big-time player.”
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