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College Football Season
Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Purdue Purdue (7-6) 37
WMU W. Michgan (7-6) 32

Bowl Index

Game Recap

by CFP Staff
December 27, 2011

The bowl season continues to jinx Western Michigan as the Broncos fell to 0-5 all-time with a 37-32 loss to Purdue in the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl.

Western Michigan countered Purdue's 4 lost fumbles by throwing 4 interceptions, losing 3 fumbles, failing to cover 2 B'maker onside kicks, and allowing a 99-yard kickoff return.

Purdue's first successful onside kick was executed after Purdue scored its first touchdown on a 1-yard Robert Marve toss to Reggie Pegram that gave the Boilermakers an 8-7 lead late in the first quarter. However, that drive ended on a fumble at the WMU 11-yard line.

Western Michigan took a 15-10 lead, then immediately gave the lead away as Raheem Mostert returned the ensuing kickoff. Purdue then recovered its second onside kick of the game and extended its lead to 24-15 less than two minutes later. After that score, the Boliermakers maintained a lead of 9 to 16 points until the Broncos cut it to 37-32 with 4:23 left in the game. When Western Michigan got the ball back, QB Alex Carder promptly fumbled and Purdue ran out the clock.

From just inside the 5-minute mark of the 1st quarter, 8-of-12 Western Michigan's possessions ended with an interception, fumble or turnover on downs.

The loss spoiled a nearly record-breaking night by Western Michigan wide receiver Jordan White who caught 13 passes for 265 yards and a TD. White came into the game as the FBS leader in total receiving yards (1,646), receiving yards per game (137.17), total receptions (127) and receptions per game (10.58).

When Carder wasn't turning the ball over, he was amassing 439 yards passing on 31-of-57 attempts.

Both teams finished the season with 7-6 records. Western Michigan got here by winning three out of its last four games and owning a 38-31 win over Connecticut (UConn) of the Big East Conference during the season. Purdue arrived with a 6-6 record with victories in two of its last three games, including an upset of Ohio State.

Neither team's season was awe-inspiring.

The Boilermakers' two nonconference wins were a 3-point squeaker over a Middle Tennessee team that finished 2-10 and FCS member SE Missouri State. Purdue lost 24-22 on the road to a Rice team that was just 4-8 and was blown out 38-10 at home by Notre Dame.

Purdue was not competitive at all against this year's top Big Ten teams, bowing 36-14 to at Michigan and crumbling 62-17 at Wisconsin. Its best wins came against a pair of 6-6 teams in the Buckeyes and an Illinois squad that Purdue caught in the midst of a 6-game losing streak.

Western Michigan defeated one 6-6 club (Eastern Michigan) and a pair of 5-7 teams in (UConn and Bowling Green).

Purdue’s appearance in this game was the third by a Big Ten Conference team in the Detroit bowl and the second for the B'makers who eked past Central Michigan 51-48 in 2007. This was their first bowl game since then and this win improved the Boilermakers' all-time bowl record to 9-7.

This game appeared to present a solid opportunity for a Western Michigan bowl win as 73.3% of voters picked the Broncos to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings projected the Broncos as a 3.11-point winner.


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