WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- So much for Purdue's Big Ten football statement.
The Boilers started slow and finished worse in Saturday's 44-13 loss to Michigan in a Big Ten opening disaster at Ross Ade-Stadium.
Michigan (3-2), which was coming off a bye week, got a huge game from quarterback Denard Robinson. He rushed for a career-high 235 yardss, threw for 105 more, and set the Big Ten career rushing record for a quarterback, breaking IU's Antwaan Randle El's mark of 3,895. Robinson now has more than 3,900 yards.
Purdue (3-2) fell into an early 21-0 hole and never recovered. A lone bright spot was the return of quarterback Robert Marve, who had missed the previous two games because of a torn ACL. His return couldn't spark a comeback. He finished 5-for-8 for 43 yards and an interception.
“We got beat by a good team that played well,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “We're a good team that didn't play well. There are areas we need to correct. We'll grow and develop from it.
“We didn't tackle well. We let their quarterback get loose. When that happens you're in trouble. We didn't pressure the quarterback like needed to. They executed and we did not.”
Quarterback Caleb TerBush never got the offense going. He was 16-for-25 for 105 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Does this mean a return of the quarterback rotation Purdue had implemented until Marve was hurt against Notre Dame?
“Robert showed a lot of courage and a lot of grit,” Hope said. “He did some good things. His success merits an opportunity for him to play in the future.”
Michigan wound up with 304 rushing yards and 409 overall. Purdue totaled just 56 rushing yards and 157 overall.
“We didn't not come out and play like we were supposed to,” receiver O.J. Ross said. “I have no idea why.”
Michigan wasted no time making a statement. It stuffed the Boilers into a three-and-out, then went on a 17-play, 78-yard TD drive in nine minutes for a 7-0.
The Wolverines went 63 yards in eight plays on their next possession for a 14-0 lead. Tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint scored both TDs on 1-yard runs.
How dominant was Michigan? After the first quarter, it had 111 total yards to Purdue's eight.
It soon got worse. Purdue went for it on fourth-and-one at the Michigan 43-yard line. TerBush's high pass went through O.J. Ross' hands and right to Michigan cornerback Raymon Taylor, who returned it 63 yards for a touchdown. That made it 21-0.
“That was a huge swing in their favor,” TerBush said. “It's never fun throwing a pick-six. It put us in even a bigger deficit.”
The Boilers fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Michigan recovered deep in Purdue territory. The defense stiffened and a missed field goal kept it at 21-0.
Purdue came back with Paul Grigg's 40-yard field goal. Michigan then got a 23-yard TD pass from Robinson to Devin Garnder for a 28-lead.
The Boilers got momentum when linebacker Robert Maci forced a fumble and Purdue recovered to set up TerBush's 4-yard TD pass to Ross to make it 28-10 at halftime.
The Wolverines got a 29-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons to make it 31-10 midway through the third quarter.
Marve came in, hit 4 of 6 passes and led Purdue to a field goal and a 31-13 score. Michigan added a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, and then a touchdown.
This was not a Big Ten division game. Purdue is in the Leaders Division while Michigan is in the Legends Division. The Boilers open division play next Saturday when they host Wisconsin. That game could have a big impact in who wins the division, and gets a berth in the Big Ten title game, given Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible. The other teams in the division are struggling Illinois and Indiana.
“It's disappointing, but it's still a long season,” TerBush said. “We're not out of it yet. We'll watch film and see our mistakes and take it from there. We know the capabilities we have. We have to execute.”