While many coaches tell their players the old Yogi Berra saying “It”s not over till it”s over,” Purdue”s coach Joe Tiller doesn”t coach by this adage.
Down two touchdowns and faced with fourth-and-long with one minute left in the game, Tiller opted to punt the ball to Michigan, rather than go for it.
Michigan had sacked Purdue on the three previous plays, and Tiller didn”t want Michigan to score more points after the Boilermakers” defense had played well for most of the game.
“The reason I punted at the end was because I thought it would have been a tremendous disservice to our defense, the way they played, if Michigan would have gone in there and tacked in another one and taken it to 31,” Tiller said.
Michigan coach Lloyd Carr didn”t try to score at the end, opting to run out the clock.
Shot in the foot: Heading into the game, Tiller said his team would need to play a nearly perfect game to beat Michigan. It didn”t.
Purdue finished with 105 yards of penalties on 15 penalties.
“I made the comment to our team afterwards. When you play a good football team, which Michigan is, the margin of error is reduced,” Tiller said. “You certainly can”t shoot yourself in the foot.
“I don”t think since I”ve been in coaching that I”ve ever seen that many offensive penalties by a football team.”
By contrast, Michigan finished with only four penalties for 25 yards.
Improvement: Last year, Purdue quarterback Drew Brees threw for 286 yards and led his team to 32 points. Northwestern, which runs a version of the same spread offense, also put up huge stats and a lot of points on Michigan last year.
So coming into the game, many thought Purdue”s offense would be able to pass on Michigan”s secondary again, especially since the secondary has struggled at times this year.
But Saturday Michigan held Purdue quarterback Brandon Hance to just 198 yards on 16-for-33 passing. He also threw one touchdown pass.
“We considered this a challenge and we wanted to go out there and shut “em down, and I think we did a pretty good job of doing that today” freshman cornerback Marlin Jackson said.
Jackson replaced sophomore Jeremy LeSueur as Michigan”s starting defensive back, playing opposite of Todd Howard.
“My confidence is growing and I”m playing much better every week,” Jackson said.
Leader of the pack: No. 10 Michigan (2-0 Big Ten, 4-1 overall) now sits alone atop the Big Ten standings after its 24-10 win over Purdue and Ohio State”s 20-17 loss to Wisconsin.
Purdue, Michigan and Ohio State were each undefeated in conference play heading into the weekend.
The Boilermakers and Buckeyes are tied for second with Northwestern, Illinois and Michigan State.
The Wolverines, who beat Illinois two weeks ago, still have to play Michigan State and Ohio State. They don”t play Northwestern this year.
Michigan has its bye this week.