Purdue edges Middle Tennessee 27-24
By CLIFF BRUNT
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Caleb TerBush passed for 219 yards in his first start and threw the game-winning touchdown pass in the final minute to help Purdue beat Middle Tennessee State 27-24 on Saturday in the opener for both teams.
Purdue, trailing 24-20, got a late stop to earn a shot at the win, and TerBush led the Boilermakers 85 yards in 11 plays. His 35-yard touchdown pass to Antavian Edison came with 49 seconds left.
Middle Tennessee went for the tie as time expired, but Purdue's Ricardo Allen blocked a 47-yard field-goal attempt by Alan Gendreau. Allen had fumbled on a punt return early in the game that led to a Blue Raiders score.
Purdue's Ralph Bolden ran for 120 yards after missing last season with a torn ACL.
Middle Tennessee gained 460 yards to Purdue's 420. The Blue Raiders fell to 0-4 all-time against the Big Ten - they lost to Minnesota 24-17 in last season's opener.
Purdue trailed 17-10 when running back Akeem Shavers went 30 yards up the middle for a touchdown to tie the score with 11:44 to play.
Middle Tennessee came right back with a 60-yard touchdown drive. Tavarres Jefferson made back-to-back outstanding catches for first downs, then two plays later, Benny Cunningham finished the drive with a 2-yard scoring run to give Middle Tennessee a 24-17 lead with 9:26 to go.
Purdue had a third-and-1 at the MTSU 21 before getting called for a false start. TerBush was sacked on the next play, so Purdue settled for a 47-yard field goal by Carson Wiggs that trimmed MTSU's lead to 24-20 with 5:57 remaining.
The first break for either team came when Allen fumbled and Middle Tennessee recovered at the Purdue 22. On third-and-14, Kilgore found Beyah for a 26-yard touchdown pass to put the Blue Raiders up 7-0.
Wiggs made a 50-yard field goal later in the quarter, his fifth of at least 50 yards during his career, to cut MTSU's lead to 7-3.
Eric Russell intercepted a pass by TerBush early in the second quarter and returned it 34 yards to the Purdue 45, but the Blue Raiders couldn't take advantage. The Boilermakers responded with a 12-play, 98-yard drive. TerBush rolled right and found running back Jared Crank in the end zone for a 2-yard touchdown pass to give Purdue a 10-7 lead with 7:32 left in the second quarter.
Middle Tennessee came back later in the quarter with a 95-yard drive. This time, Kilgore found Sancho McDonald for a 21-yard score to give MTSU a 14-10 lead with 2:10 left in the first half.
Purdue caught a break when Gendreau missed a 39-yard field goal late in the third quarter. He made a 42-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter, extending MTSU's lead to 17-10
Updated September 3, 2011