Elijah Sindelar, the 2015 Kentucky Mr. Football out of Caldwell County, turned in a remarkable performance in leading the Purdue Boilermakers over Arizona on Wednesday. After the game, when his coach revealed he has played the last four games on a torn ACL, it seems even more so.
“For somebody to play almost four games with that, three and a half, that’s amazing,” first-year Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said after the Foster Farms Bowl in San Francisco. “I couldn’t be … prouder of his performance, but to perform with that serious of an injury? How many people can do that? It’s less than one percent.”
Sindelar’s surgery was scheduled for Friday. No updates have been released.
Sindelar, a sophomore, split time at quarterback earlier in the season, but an injury to junior David Blough both thrust him into the starting job and gave Purdue few options if Sindelar got hurt.
Sindelar suffered the injury in a loss to Northwestern on Nov. 12. It was his second ACL tear. He suffered his first at the end of his senior season at Caldwell County, and the Tigers’ state title hopes were dashed.
Brohm said he was reluctant to put Sindelar on the field. He wore a knee brace the final three games.
“My first thing, no. No way he should play,” Brohm said. “I think he’s had his knee operated on more than a few times. The thought was if he could wear that brace and at least keep it stable and if he feels like he can go, we can give it a try. I was very leery at first. Elijah wanted to do it and they went through our trainers and doctor and he was able to pull it off.”
He not only pulled it off, he led Purdue to wins in its last three games, securing and winning a bowl.
Sindelar won the Mr. Football award over the early-season favorite, Madison Southern’s Damien Harris (Alabama). Sindelar threw 49 touchdown passes his senior year to become Kentucky’s career leader with 144, shattering the mark of 133 shared by Ricky Bowling and Tim Couch. His 12,637 career passing yards rank second all-time and he established another state mark of 41 consecutive games with at least one TD pass.
He threw for 2,099 yards and 18 touchdowns this season for the Boilermakers, including his 396-yard, four TD performance in the Foster Farms Bowl.