WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue coach Jeff Brohm promised to make changes heading into this season. On Saturday, it paid dividends.
Now, he's hoping it keeps working.
Jack Plummer threw for 313 yards and two late touchdowns while the Boilermakers' revamped defense made sure it held up for a 30-21 victory over Oregon State to cap the 500th game played at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Purdue has won 291 games since its home venue opened in 1924 and this one came in prime time and in front of the largest home crowd in 644 days — thanks largely to the Boilermakers defense.
“I think they played really hard, tough, had a couple huge fourth-down stops," Brohm said. “We did what we had to do."
It was good enough to snap a four-game losing streak and bring some relief to a program that hasn't played in a bowl game since 2018.
The difference: Two fourth-down stops in the second half, which Purdue (1-0) converted into 10 points and Brohm's willingness to throw it deep late in the game.
Plummer finished 29 of 41, sealing the victory with a 50-yard TD pass to a wide open Payne Durham with 2:09 left.
“Sometimes those play calls can be really stupid when they don’t work,” Brohm said. “But I knew while we ran the ball a little better, we had to convert and pass the football. Jack did a great job."
Oregon State (0-1) lost its fourth in a row and still has only two nonconference wins under fourth-year coach Johnathan Smith.
And this one came down to the inability to keep drives moving.
When the Beavers failed to convert on fourth down late in the third quarter, Mitchell Fineran capitalized with his third field goal to give Purdue a 16-7 lead. When it happened again in the fourth, Plummer threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Durham for 23-14 edge with 4:56 left.
“We've got to execute better offensively," Smith said. “We had a guy or two not on point and that's hard on offense."
Sam Noyer struggled in his Oregon State debut. The transfer from Colorado was pulled in the third quarter and his replacement, Chance Nolan, led the Beavers to two fourth-quarter scores to twice cut the deficit to two. B.J. Baylor ran for two scores.
Oregon State: Noyer's spotty start and Nolan's strong finish will likely create a debate over who should start for the Beavers in Week 2. But the offensive line needs to improve, too. The Beavers ran 25 times for 78 yards and Noyer found himself under pressure frequently in the first half.
Purdue: George Karlaftis' return and Brohm's aggressive defensive philosophy proved to be the perfect combination Saturday. The offense, meanwhile, made just enough impact plays. But Purdue will have a much better sense of how much it has improved in two weeks with a visit to No. 9 Notre Dame.
Oregon State: Noyer went 10 of 21 with 94 yards and one interception. He's the first Oregonian to start at quarterback for the Beavers since Ryan Gunderson in 2005. ... Nolan was 10 of 16 with 157 yards. ... Trevon Bradford caught five passes for 75 yards.
Purdue: David Bell had eight receptions for 134 yards, the 11th 100-yard game of his career. ... Durham's seven catches, 120 yards and two TDs were all career bests. ... Zander Horvath ran for 81 yards and one TD. ... Karlaftis finished with four tackles but made his presence felt repeatedly.
The game was riddled with replay reviews, trick plays, the fourth-down tries and even included a first-quarter ejection of Oregon State linebacker Cory Stover for targeting.
Purdue had one touchdown overturned late in the first half, and Jack Albers was picked off on a fake field goal early in the third after it appeared Durham had made a first-down catch. The Purdue bench also got in on the action, drawing an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first half that knocked the Boilermakers out of field-goal range.
Oregon State: Opens its home schedule next Saturday against Hawaii.
Purdue: Visits UConn next Saturday.
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