2011 Little Caesars Bowl, Purdue Vs. Western Michigan: Boilermakers Channel Their Inner MACtion For Win

The latest and greatest pizza-centric bowl pits Purdue against Western Michigan. SI.com: Little Caesars Bowl FAQ.

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2011 Little Caesars Bowl: Purdue Wins Wild One 37-32 Over Western Michigan

Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve threw for touchdowns, helping the Purdue Boilermakers hold on for a 37-32 victory over the Western Michigan Broncos in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Raheem Mostert returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, while Carson Wiggs kicked three field goals and recovered two onside kicks. The Boilermakers (7-6) also recovered a fumble with under two minutes left to secure a victory in their first postseason appearance since the 2007 season, when they won the Motor City Bowl.

It was Purdue's first bowl game under third-year head coach Danny Hope.

The Boilermakers grabbed control with a 20-point second quarter, and Western Michigan (7-6) wasn't able to catch up. The Broncos have not won a bowl game in four tries.

Alex Carder threw for 439 yards and three touchdowns for WMU, but was intercepted four times.

Western Michigan grabbed the lead thanks to a turnover early in the first quarter. Paul Hazel sacked TerBush and forced a fumble, which the Broncos recovered at the Purdue 49. The sack occurred on third down and would have forced Purdue to punt anyway, but the fumble provided Western Michigan with good field position.

It took advantage one play later -- Carder found Jordan White for a 49-yard TD, and kicker John Potter rushed for a two-point conversion.

That began a series of drives and plays that provided high drama. Following the WMU touchdown, in chronological order:

- Wiggs missed a 45-yard field goal and Carder was intercepted by Albert Evans, who returned the ball to the Broncos' 38. That led to a one-yard TD pass from Marve to Reggie Pegram on 3rd-and-goal.

- Wiggs recovered an on-side kick.

- Purdue running back Akeem Hunt fumbled the ball away four plays into the bonus possession, but Purdue got it back when Gerald Gooden picked off Carder. That led to a 49-yard kick from Wiggs and a 10-8 Purdue edge with 10 1/2 minutes left in the half.

- Western Michigan drove for a touchdown. Carder hit Josh Schaffer from a yard away on third down.

- Mostert returned the following kickoff 99 yards for a score, putting the Boilermakers back in front.

- Wiggs attempted an on-side kick for a second time, and for the second time it worked. This one resulted in Pegram's one-yard run across the goal line with 4:57 to play. On the final play of the half, Wiggs connected on a 19-yard field goal to send Purdue into the break with a 27-15 advantage.

The Boilermakers never ran away with the game in the second half, but did enough -- offensively and defensively -- to keep Western Michigan from getting back into the game.

For more on the Broncos, visit The Hustle Belt. For more on the Boilermakers, visit Purdue blog Hammer and Rails.


Little Caesars Bowl 2011: Purdue's Gerald Gooden, Will Lucas Arrested

Purdue Boilermakers football players are doing a very good job of getting themselves into trouble at the moment. First, the team's leading tackler Dwayne Beckford got himself arrested on suspicion of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated. On Monday, two more Boilermakers starters found themselves in handcuffs. Both defensive end Gerald Gooden and outside linebacker Will Lucas were arrested and charged with theft.

That's now three -- count 'em! -- three Boilermakers starting defensive player who are very unlikely to play in the Little Caesar's Bowl against the Western Michigan Broncos on account of getting arrested. This is apparently Beckford's third run-in with the law this season. The Boilermakers are also missing wide receiver O.J. Ross, who has been suspended indefinitely. 

It goes without saying that it is a bad thing when three of a team's defensive starters get arrested in three days. Danny Hope has a bit of work to do.

For more on the Boilermakers, visit Purdue blog Hammer and Rails.

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