Notebook: Purdue making a variety of statements
You could say Purdue made a statement about its talent Saturday with its 59-7 demolition of Arizona.
The Boilermakers made a fashion statement, too.
The players went beserk when they walked into the locker room and saw black jerseys hanging in their stalls. Gone were the ugly gold tops they had worn since last season, when the finished a pedestrian 7-6.
The loudspeakers at Ross-Ade Stadium blared the AC/DC classic “Back in Black” as the players ran onto the field.
“When you wear black, it brings a swagger to you,” linebacker Niko Koutouvides said. “You feel good, you look good and you play good.”
By halftime, the rout was on. The Boilers had piled up 283 yards of offense and were up by 24 points.
“You won’t see us in gold again,” coach Joe Tiller said.
Northwestern didn’t exactly see the humor in Duke’s decision to call a timeout with five seconds remaining and trailing by 18 points. Duke had the ball on the 8-yard line and apparently wanted to score a feel-good touchdown.
Northwestern’s coaching staff countered by calling an all-out blitz, which resulted in a quarterback sack by linebacker Nick Roach. It was the Wildcats’ sixth sack of the game, matching their total from all of last season.
The Big East’s defensive player of the week is also a comeback player of the year candidate. Michael Crawford of Virginia Tech made 18 tackles in the 35-19 rout of Texas A&M.
Nine months ago, he was suffering from swollen lymph nodes. Though cancer was finally ruled out after a battery of tests, he endured a health scare that he thought might end his career.
“It’s a miracle,” Crawford said of playing this year. “It makes you want to drop a tear.”
KICKING A GUY WHEN HE’S DOWN
When Washington kicker Drew Dunning got home from the Notre Dame game, in which he missed a short field goal in overtime, he found his apartment door had been kicked, dented and scratched. Later, he was heckled on campus and saw posters that bore nasty comments.
“I saw a lot of hatred and I don’t understand that,” he said. “If someone messes up, I sure as heck won’t remind them that they messed up. What’s the point in thatâ¢ What does that help?”
And it’s not like Dunning is having a lousy year. He’s been the Pac-10 special teams player of the week twice in the past four weeks, and is 13 for 14 in field goals this season.
NO CHIP SHOT
Until the final play of the game, Missouri kicker Mike Matheny had been having a terrible day against Middle Tennessee State.
Matheny, a walk-on, had two extra-point kicks blocked and took penalties for sending two kickoffs out of bounds. Yet, he won the game in overtime 41-40 by making a longer-than-usual PAT kick.
Matheny’s kick became more challenging when receiver Thomson Omboga was hit with a 15-yard excessive-celebration penalty for posing for the cameras after Mizzou scored the game-tying touchdown. So, Matheny was staring at a 36-yard attempt — but he did not mind.
“I was actually relieved that we got the penalty, I really was,” Matheny said. “I’m better at long distances. It’s just one of those things. The way I focus, it’s easier to handle farther away.”
STATS, STREAKS AND SLUMPS
“This is a rare deal, so write down the date. You’re in the presence of a guy whose offense produced 681 yards of total offense, that only produces 21 points. You won’t see that for the rest of your life.” — Texas Tech coach Mike Leach, after the 49-21 loss against N.C. State.