Tough loss for Boilermakers reveals resilience

Purdue sophomore running back Ralph Bolden showed no signs of being injured Saturday night as he ran for 134 yards on 29 carries and two touchdowns, and made three receptions for 52 yards and a third score in the 38-36 loss to Oregon.

“We executed but they just stopped us,” Bolden said. “That’s football. It was a tough loss. It was pretty loud but it wasn’t bad.”

Yet early in the week he, along with a handful of other players on the Purdue team, spent time rehabbing their bangs and bruises from the Boilermakers’ 52-31 beatdown of Toledo during the season-opener.

In two games Bolden has tallied 268 yards while finding the end zone five times.

Redshirt senior quarterback Joey Elliott had another solid performance in his first year as a starter. He went 24 of 41 for 266 yards and a touchdown, yet he was plagued again by turnovers, throwing two more to bring his early season total to five.

“It was a great football game and I was really proud of our team’s effort,” first-year head coach Danny Hope said. “We have a goal to be the team that hits the hardest and makes the fewest mistakes and be the team that never quits. We hit hard and we never quit, but we did make a couple mistakes and that cost us the ball game.”

Two of those mistakes led to Oregon touchdowns. The first came with just more than four minutes left in the second quarter when Duck defensive back Walter Thurmond III jumped Elliot’s pass and took it 18 yards to give Oregon the lead. The Ducks never gave it up. Javes Lewis’ 28-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown midway through the third quarter seemed to put even more pressure on the Boilermaker defense.

“Unless they score zero points we didn’t play well enough to win,” redshirt senior Torri Williams said. “We learned we have a team that’s going to fight hard ’till the end. I’m really proud of our team; we could’ve easily gave up when we turned the ball over, but we fought back hard and tried to come out with a W.”

Williams had been working with the wide receivers before injuries in the Purdue secondary forced him to switch positions this past week. He led the team with seven tackles after working with the squad for only one week.

After a tough loss on the road, the mood in the Purdue locker room was relatively positive.

“Hats off to Oregon. They played hard, and you come here and play a team that was preseason picked to be one of the top teams in the country, one that was supposed to challenge for a national championship,” Hope said. “To come to their place in a hostile environment and they’re doing everything they can to win, I was proud of our football team.”

Elliott, one of the team’s five captains, also reiterated that the team would learn from the loss and undoubtedly bounce back.

“The crowd was against us; we had to come together as a team and keep working to give us a chance to win,” he said. “Our motto for the whole year’s been, ‘keep swinging for 60 minutes.'”

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