Broncos edged by Boilermakers 37-32

Published 10:01 pm Tuesday, December 27, 2011

DETROIT — The Western Michigan University Broncos found themselves in their fifth bowl game in program history.

History was made all throughout the game, but the Broncos fell short of their first bowl win, losing an excitement-filled tussle with the Purdue Boilermakers, 37-32 at Ford Field in front of 46,177 fans.

Quarterback Alex Carder and receiver Jordan White put on a show for the nation as Carder finished 31 of 57 for 439 yards and three passing touchdowns, connecting 13 times with White for 265 yards and one score.

The Broncos jumped out to an early lead after a fumble recovery by senior Mitch Zajac, gave the Broncos the ball at the Purdue 49 yard line. Eight seconds later, Carder connected with White for a touchdown on a flea-flicker. On the ensuing extra point, John Potter took the snap through a gapping hole up the middle for a two-point conversion. This gave WMU their first ever lead in a bowl, 8-0.

Purdue would answer with just 17 seconds remaining in the first quarter when quarterback Robert Marve threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Pegram.

Purdue followed their touchdown by recovering an onside kick to end the first quarter of play.

The Boilermakers dominated time of possession as the Broncos had control for only 2:10.

The second quarter belong to Purdue as they outscored the Broncos 20-7 and outgained the Broncos 143-64.

Purdue knocked home a 49-yard field goal making the score 10-8. Carder would answer right back with a one-yard touchdown strike to Josh Schaffer. However, Purdue’s Raheem Morstert returned the kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown. Purdue again attempted and recovered their second onside kick. That set up a Pegram 1-yard touchdown run and the Boilermakers capped of the second quarter with a 19-yard field goal adding to their lead at the half, 27-15.

The third quarter began with WMU driving the field for a Potter 21-yard field goal. Purdue would score next when Caleb TerBush hit Gary Bush for a 33-yard touchdown. The Broncos answered right back with a Tevin Drake 1-yard touchdown plunge.

During the third quarter, White set two Mid-American Conference records and one WMU record. White became the MAC’s all-time leader in receiving yards for a career, and set the MAC record for receiving yards in a season, and tied the MAC record for career receptions. White also passed Jamarko Simmons for most receiving yards by a Bronco in a bowl game. His yardage total broke Cory Alston’s single-game record (263) set against Eastern Michigan in 1997.

The third quarter ended with the Broncos trailing 34-25.

The Boilermakers kicked a 26-yard field goal to extend their lead to 12. But the Broncos would make for a fantastic finish by starting their comeback attempt with 4:28 to go, when Carder found Chleb Ravenell and a Potter PAT pulled the Broncos within five. After forcing a Purdue punt, Alex Carder was flushed from the pocket when he took a big hit which caused Carder to fumble. Purdue’s recovery would officially dash the Broncos’ hopes.

Carder set the WMU record for most passing yards in a single season, finishing with 3,873, moving ahead of Tim Hiller‘s 2008 season total of 3,725 yards.

The Broncos outgained Purdue 485-442. Most of the Purdue’s yards came on the ground (265).