WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue stymied Eastern Kentucky's offense, particularly its running game, for four quarters Saturday as the Colonels failed to score five times after Boilermakers turnovers in a 48-6 loss at Ross-Ade Stadium.
It was the Colonels' 12th straight season-opening loss and its worst defeat since falling to North Carolina State 54-10 in 2005. Danny Hope was coaching Eastern Kentucky then, the same man leading Purdue against the Colonels on Saturday.
Hope said he had mixed emotions about the game but he was pleased his team took the challenge against Eastern Kentucky seriously.
"I love Eastern Kentucky and I know the kids that play there," Hope said. "This game was about the Boilermakers."
EKU struggled offensively, failing to get its running game going against Purdue's bigger front line, led by All-America candidate Kawaan Short. Matt Denham, who averaged 130 yards per game for the Colonels last year, was limited to 47 yards on 12 carries, 30 coming on Eastern Kentucky's lone touchdown in the second quarter.
"(Short) was a monster and we really didn't have an answer for him in the middle," Denham said.
Eastern Kentucky first-string quarterback T.J. Pryor did not play because of a hamstring injury, leaving the duties to sophomore Jared McClain. McClain was intercepted twice in the first half, the second setting up Purdue's last first-half touchdown.
He finished 8-for-22 passing for 85 yards while rushing for another 33 yards.
"Purdue played a great defense today," McClain said. "I came out here and did the best that I could."
Eastern Kentucky Coach Dean Hood said Pryor will be ready to practice full speed next week but declined to say who will start in the home opener against Morehead State.
The game had all the hiccups of a season opener with the teams combining for eight turnovers, a blocked punt, a blocked field goal, and a blocked and missed extra point.
Purdue quarterback Rob Marve threw touchdown passes to three different receivers and maintained possession with quick, short passes in Purdue's hurry-up offense.
The Colonels surrendered 547 yards in total offense, 372 of that through the air.
"The coaches put us in position to make good plays but we just came up a little short," said free safety Brooklyn Fox, who picked off two Purdue passes and recovered a fumble to lead EKU's defensive effort.
EKU's best chance for turnover points came when Fox intercepted Purdue second-string quarterback Rob Henry and returned it to the Boilermakers 24 at the 9:20 mark of the second quarter.
The Colonels could only advance the ball 3 yards before Luke Pray had his 38-yard field goal blocked by Short. It was the second time Short got his paw on a Pray kick. He also blocked Pray's extra-point attempt after EKU's touchdown.
EKU stopped Purdue's first drive when Fox intercepted Marve at the Colonels 36. After Eastern Kentucky failed to the move the ball, Purdue made its second possession count, going 87 yards on a quick six plays, concluding on Marve's 4-yard TD pass to Gary Bush.
Purdue built a 20-0 lead before EKU broke through.
Denham slipped off left tackle for a 30-yard TD with 11:17 left in the first half, putting EKU back in the game.
The Boilers squashed the Colonels' momentum with two more TDs before the half.
PURDUE 48, EASTERN KENTUCKY 6
Eastern Kentucky 0 6 0 0 — 6
Purdue 13 21 7 7 — 48
First quarter: Pur—Bush 4 pass from Marve (kick blocked), 8:43. Pur—L.Feichter 34 interception return (McCartney kick), 7:51. Second quarter: Pur—Freytag 7 run (McCartney kick), 13:46. EKU—Denham 30 run (kick blocked), 11:17. Pur—Edison 13 pass from Marve (McCartney kick), 4:26. Pur—Shavers 8 run (McCartney kick), 1:19. Third quarter: Pur—Holmes 8 pass from Marve (Griggs kick), 2:59. Fourth quarter: Pur—Sinz 15 pass from Henry (Griggs kick), 1:54.
RUSHING—Eastern Ky., Denham 12-47, McClain 10-33, Foster 5-19, Glover 1-6, Watkins 2-2, Bailey 1-(minus 2). Purdue, Shavers 11-74, Mostert 5-36, Hunt 3-13, Cottom 3-12, Anthrop 2-11, Henry 5-11, Marve 7-9, Freytag 1-7, Jackson 1-1, Edison 2-1.
PASSING—Eastern Ky., McClain 8-22-2-85. Purdue, Marve 30-38-1-295, Henry 7-9-1-77.
RECEIVING—Eastern Ky., Bailey 5-60, Denham 2-9, Goard 1-16. Purdue, Ross 8-71, Edison 7-58, Bush 6-43, Holmes 4-43, Macarthy 3-33, Sinz 2-27, Wright 2-17, Hunt 1-46, Torwudzo 1-12, Cottom 1-10, Shavers 1-7, Mikesky 1-5.