Illinois’ weaknesses were exposed in a road loss against a mediocre Purdue team last night. The concerning thing isn’t so much that Illinois lost—Purdue isn’t a terrible team, just a terrible offensive team—it’s that it lost to Purdue despite hitting 10 three-pointers (38% from three on the night). Thus, it appears the “Illinois wins when it shoots well” maxim is incorrect. This team can shoot well, and still lose.
There are plays that fans never forget, and D.J. Byrd came up with one in Wednesday’s 68-61 win over Illinois that the Purdue faithful should have no trouble remembering. With 21.5 seconds left, Purdue leading 63-61 and Jacob Lawson at the free-throw line, Byrd corralled a missed freebie, on his knees, and managed to call a timeout before going out of bounds. Watch the play here.
Terone Johnson scored a career-high 25 points and D.J. Byrd spurred a key 19-3 second-half run to send Purdue past No. 14 Illinois 68-61 on Wednesday night. The Boilermakers (7-6, 1-0 Big Ten) are above .500 for the first time this season and have won eight straight over the Fighting Illini.
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Every week this season, Tom Dienhart (@BTNTomDienhart) and myself (@BTNBrentYarina) offered our predictions for each Big Ten football game and provided polls for fans to pick their winners. We continued it this bowl season, and BTN.com fans and Dienhart each went 7-0, meaning the former claims the 2012 crown.
Clint Chelf threw three of Oklahoma State’s five touchdown passes and the Cowboys shook off a disappointing Big 12 finish by dominating Purdue 58-14 in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Tuesday. The Cowboys, a year removed from a Fiesta Bowl win that capped the best season in school history, forced five turnovers and had another short touchdown drive after a 64-yard punt return from Josh Stewart. Get the AP recap, video and Tom Dienhart’s Snap Reactions in this post.
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And just like that, it’s time for the Big Ten season to tip. It was a highly successful nonconference season, with the Big Ten owning the national polls. We have even more to look forward in the coming months, however, as many feel this could be one of the better conference races in recent history. Check out my All-Big Ten Nonconference Teams in this post.