WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Landon Feichter didn't want to blow it. Purdue's strong safety knew what a golden opportunity he had. All he had to do was not trip.
How hard could that be?
As it turned out, not hard at all.
Feichter turned the first interception of his college career into his first college touchdown. He was so open when he grabbed the deflected Eastern Kentucky pass, he had time to let negative thoughts sink in.
“Everything was going through my mind,” the former Bishop Dwenger standout said, “but No. 1 was nobody was in sight. I didn't want to fall. I didn't want to be on that top-10 ESPN list.”
That would be the ESPN segment that shows athletes messing up. Feichter didn't mess up, bolting 34 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. That put Purdue ahead 13-0 en route to a 48-6 season-opening victory.
“That was something special,” he said. “It's something, being a safety, being a defensive player, you dream about always.
“The coaches just put me in a great position. JJ (cornerback Josh Johnson) kind of bumped it up in the air to me. After that, I don't know what happened. I just kind of ran. I hoped I wouldn't trip.
Feichter missed all of spring practice, and much of the summer, while recovering from shoulder surgery. He thrived during preseason camp to go from the bottom of the depth chart to the top, then came up big on Saturday. He added two tackles and two pass breakups.
"The shoulder is good," he said. "I haven't second-guessed it at all. I'm still coming down hill."
Feichter was part of a defense that forced four turnovers and held Eastern Kentucky to 190 total yards. It shut down the Colonels even though the Boilers had five turnovers.
“The defense did rise to the occasion,” he said. “That's something we've been focusing on since camp. We need to get more turnovers. As a defense we talked about that before the game.”
The Boilers will talk about it some more entering next Saturday's game at Notre Dame.
“We're not satisfied with four turnovers,” Feichter said “We'll try to carry that over to Notre Dame.”
Quarterback Robert Marve made the most of his unexpected start by throwing for a career-high 295 yards and three touchdowns. It was the most TD passes he's thrown since throwing for three at Miami in 2008. He was 30-for-38 with an interception.
Quarterback Caleb TerBush was set to start for the Boilers, but violated team rules and was suspended for the game. Purdue made the announcement about 40 minutes before kickoff. Tight end Sterling Carter also was suspended for a game. Both are expected to play next Saturday at Notre Dame.
Coach Danny Hope said he told the players about the suspension Friday night.
"We need to be a disciplined football team,” Hope said. (TerBush) broke team rules and that's team rules. This team is going to be disciplined and it will make us champs in 2012."
Purdue's other quarterback, Rob Henry, bounced back after a rough start. He fumbled once and threw an interception. However, in the fourth quarter he went 7-for-7 for 77 yards with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Justin Sinz.
Marve looked solid at the start of the game-opening drive, but then forced a pass on third-and-eight and was intercepted. The defense forced a punt and Marve then directed an 87-yard scoring drive capped by his 4-yard TD pass to Gary Bush. The extra point was blocked.
Feichter made it 13-0 when he intercepted a tipped pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown. It was his first career interception and touchdown.
How dominant was Purdue's defense? In the first quarter it held Eastern Kentucky to 0 first downs and nine total yards. The Boilers had 10, and would have had a much larger lead if not for Marve's interception and Henry's fumble.
Henry briefly rotated with Marve as part of a wildcat formation. That rotation was scrapped after Henry came in and threw an interception.
Purdue scored three second-quarter touchdowns -- fullback Kurt Freytag got the first of his career on a 7-yard run, receiver Antavian Edison caught a 13-yard scoring pass from Marve and Shavers ran 8 yards for a score.
In the third quarter Marve hit tight end Gabe Holmes with an 8-yard TD pass for a 41-6 lead.
Eastern Kentucky senior receiver Cameron Bailey, a former Snider standout, had five catches for 60 yards. Last year he had 29 catches for 370 yards.