WEST LAFAYETTE -- Speed matters.
It’s why Purdue coach Danny Hope has emphasized it so much in football recruiting, and a big reason why the Boilers rolled passed winless Eastern Michigan 54-16 Saturday at Ross Ade Stadium.
Purdue enters its bye week with a 2-1 record. It won’t play again until it hosts Marshall on Sept. 29.
Quarterback Caleb TerBush threw for a pair of touchdowns while Brandon Cottom had an 87-yard TD run, Akeem Hunt had a 56-yard TD run (en route to his second career 100-yard rushing performance) and a 50-yard touchdown catch, and Akeem Shavers had a 40-yard touchdown run to pace the Boilers.
Eastern Michigan’s first nine points (all in the second quarter) were the direct result of Boiler turnovers -- one on a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown, the other a 23-yard field goal set up by a Purdue fumble.
The Boilers gained control by scoring 20 points in the final 5:33 of the second quarter.
TerBush, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, was 16-for-24 for 158 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The game was so lopsided that third string quarterback Austin Parker got in the game late in the fourth quarter.
Purdue was cruising with a 13-0 lead -- thanks to Shavers’ 40-yard TD run and TerBush’s 18-yard scoring pass -- when turnovers briefly ripped away its momentum.
TerBush threw his third interception of the season. It was returned 28 yards for a touchdown by Pudge Cotton. Then on the next Purdue series, receiver O.J. Ross fumbled, Eastern Michigan recovered and got a field goal to make it 13-9.
It got worse for the Boilers on the ensuing kickoff, when Raheem Mostert fumbled at the 1-yard line. But TerBush hit a crucial 22-yard pass to ignite a 99-yard touchdown drive. Akeem Hunt took a short pass and bolted 50 yards for a TD to make it 20-9.
Purdue went up 27-9 a few minutes later when Brandon Cottom bolted up the middle, broke several tackles and went 87 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth longest run in Purdue history and capped a 95-yard drive.
Boiler cornerback Josh Johnson’s interception set up TerBush’s 2-yard TD run with nine seconds left in the half. The extra point was missed again to make it 33-9.
Hunt’s 56-yard TD run made it 40-9 with 9:44 left in the third quarter. Mostert added a 15-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Danny Anthrop added a 4-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.