Purdue cruises to first shutout in 4 years

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- No. 25 Purdue came up with big plays

and long touchdowns on offense, which was no surprise.

The dominating defense even caught the Boilermakers off guard.

Kyle Orton passed for 287 yards and a career-high four

touchdowns to lead the Boilermakers to a 51-0 victory over Syracuse

on Sunday, their first shutout in four years.

"The defense obviously played great. Nobody expected this,"

Orton said. "I knew they were going to be a good defense, but I

didn't think they would be this good this early. We've got a lot of

great athletes."

Orton, a senior, and the experienced Purdue offense produced 571

yards and seven touchdowns. The defense has eight new starters and

was expected to take a while to develop. Instead, it held Syracuse

to 197 yards, forced four fumbles and added three sacks and two


"We did a good job flying to the ball and keeping up our

pursuit," Purdue linebacker Stanford Keglar said. "We were very

successful with our penetration. We also stayed in our alignment

and tried not to overpursue."

The last Purdue shutout came in the 2000 season opener against

Central Michigan.

Orton hit Brian Hare for a 75-yard score in the first quarter,

Taylor Stubblefield for TDs of 33 yards in the second quarter and

67 yards in the third period, and Brandon Jones for 32 yards late

in the third. Ben Jones' 34-yard field goal gave Purdue a 37-0 lead

going into the final period, when Brandon Kirsch replaced Orton in

the opener for both teams.

The Boilermakers got their final touchdowns on a 44-yard run by

Jerome Brooks and a 47-yard pass from Kirsch to freshman Dustin

Keller with just over two minutes to go.

"We gave up too many big plays on defense," Syracuse coach

Paul Pasqualoni said. "We were hoping to play through our

inexperience, especially at the quarterback position, but just

didn't do enough offensively. Purdue's an awful good team. We

thought we'd run the ball better, but they kept coming with the

blitz and we never adapted."

For Syracuse, it was the worst shutout loss since a 59-0 beating

at Miami in 2001.

"Our defense did what we hoped it would. We were able to get

the heat up front," said Purdue coach Joe Tiller, remembering last

year's 27-26 upset by Bowling Green, his only loss in a home opener

in eight years with the Boilermakers.

"When you end up winning the game the way this game was won,

you're pleased by many things," he said. "We did a lot of

positive things."

Of the seven Purdue touchdowns, only the first -- a 1-yard run by

Jerod Void in the first quarter -- covered fewer than 32 yards. Two

of the TDs -- the 75-yarder by Hare and the 67-yarder to

Stubblefield -- came on the first plays of the series.

"Orton knows the game, and he knows the system he's in. He

played a spectacular game," Pasqualoni said. "He's a great

thrower, and that got us back on our heels."

The Orange started a freshman at quarterback for the first time

since Todd Norley in 1982. Joe Fields was 8-for-15 for 93 yards,

and he was sacked twice, intercepted once and constantly pressured.

The Orange didn't drive past their own 36 until late in the

second quarter, when Purdue already was ahead 20-0.

The Orange reached the Purdue 2 late in the second quarter, but

Fields lost five yards and on fourth down the Orange botched a

field goal attempt with a bad snap with 15 seconds left.

The Boilermakers had to punt on their first series of the third

quarter, but Orton's 67-yard touchdown to Stubblefield came on the

first play of their next possession. After the TD pass to Brandon

Jones, Walter Reyes fumbled the kickoff, setting up the field goal

by Ben Jones.

Reyes, coming off two 1,000-yard seasons rushing, was held to 31

yards on 12 carries. Perry Patterson, who replaced Fields at

quarterback late in the third quarter, was 7-for-10 for 64 yards.

Void rushed for 83 yards, while Stubblefield finished with five

catches for 121 yards.