Hope you didn't go to bed thinking Purdue had put away Nevada. The Boilermakers held a 31-14 lead on the Wolf Pack midway through the third quarter, but what looked like a comfortable road win suddenly turned into the best finish of Friday night.
It all ended with freshman kicker Brandon Talton hitting -- nay, crushing -- a 56-yard, walk-off field goal to give Nevada a dramatic 34-31 win at home. Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm tried to ice Talton once, but it didn't work. This kick would have been good from 60 yards-plus. Check it out below:
If you're wondering how Nevada managed to score 20 unanswered points in about 18 minutes time, it started -- oddly enough -- with Purdue star Rondale Moore at about the 6 minute mark in the third quarter. The speedy wideout made an uncharacteristically bad decision to try and field a punt that had already rolled past him, resulting in a fumble that Nevada recovered at the Purdue 14-yard line. Though Nevada wasn't able to capitalize with a touchdown off the turnover, it did hit a 34-yard field goal to pull to within two touchdowns.
Purdue quarterback Elijah Sindelar then threw a pick on Purdue's next offensive possession, and the two sides exchanged punts until Nevada scored a touchdown on an 11-play drive in the fourth quarter to make it a 31-24 game.
By this point, the Boilermakers were starting to sweat. They hadn't scored in a full quarter, and were stalling on offense. Moore, who had eight catches for 114 yards and a score in the first half, had just three grabs for 10 yards in the second half. Nevada, on the other hand, was making all kinds of necessary plays when they mattered the most. On its would-be game-tying touchdown drive, Wolf Pack quarterback Carson Strong made a clutch fourth-down throw to keep the chains moving. On the next play, receiver Toa Taua made perhaps the catch of the game.
Strong then went for the tie on two straight end zone shots to receiver Romeo Doubs -- the first of which probably could have been ruled a wild interception by Purdue. Instead, review upheld the incomplete call on the field, and two plays later, Strong found Elijah Cooks in the end zone.
Purdue had 52 seconds left to at least get into field goal range, but Sindelar threw his second pick of the night, giving the Wolf Pack one more opportunity to move the ball. A six-play drive, of course, then resulted in Talton's booming kick.
Some would guarantee that drilling the 56-yard, game-winning field goal was the highlight of Talton's night ... but that may actually be incorrect. Why, you ask? Well, because not only did the freshman rightfully earn earn the game ball afterwards, but he was also awarded a scholarship by coach Jay Norvell. Not a bad night at all.