Purdue Survives Late Scare Against Western Michigan in Little Caesars Bowl

Chris GrinsteadCorrespondent IDecember 27, 2011

Purdue Boilermakers coaching staff during a game this season.
Purdue Boilermakers coaching staff during a game this season.Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Purdue Boilermakers (7-6) held the lead over the Western Michigan Broncos (7-6) for most of the Little Caesars Bowl on Tuesday night.

With only a few minutes left in the game, the momentum was quickly shifting in the Broncos' favor until an untimely fumble by QB Alex Carder, giving the ball back to the Boilermakers with just enough time to take a knee for the 37-32 victory over the Broncos.

The Boilermakers looked like they were going to run away with a blowout victory when WR Gary Bush caught a 33-yard touchdown pass to drive the Purdue lead up to 34-18.

The Broncos, however, stayed disciplined and focused, and it showed. WMU started to mount their comeback with a 14-3 scoring run cutting the lead to five. The Broncos seemed to have everything going their way with a late defensive stand to get the ball back with just over four minutes to play.

Had the Broncos managed to come back or the victory, it would have been their first bowl victory in school history. Instead WMU goes home with a 0-5 record all time in bowl games.

Carder had a pretty awful game in a potentially historic moment.

He not only coughed up the fumble that ended the game, but he also accounted for five of the seven Bronco turnovers, throwing four picks and fumbling once.

In his defense he went 31 of 57 for 439 yards and three touchdowns. This, however, was mostly due to the almost record-breaking performance of Broncos WR Jordan White, who recorded 13 receptions for 265 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Bush had a big game with six receptions for 90 yards and a touchdown. RB Akeem Shavers also had a great night, recording a career-high 149 rushing yards on 22 carries.

Purdue DE Gerald Gooden had a huge game defensively for the Boilermakers, intercepting the ball twice and racking up 33 yards after the pair of picks.