Halftime update: Purdue 20, Oregon 6
Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Joe Tiller always will been known for bringing the spread offense to the Big Ten and turning Purdue into a point-producing machine.
But Tiller is 30 minutes away from becoming Purdue's all-time coaching wins leader because of the Boilermakers defense. Oregon's speed and offensive creativity is as advertised, but the Ducks have repeatedly hurt themselves in Purdue territory throughout the first half. The Ducks have outgained Purdue 254-195 but went 2-for-4 in the red zone.
Part of the problems stem from quarterback Justin Roper, who showed his youth on two poor decisions that led to interceptions in Purdue's end of the field. But the Boilermakers' defensive line has shut down the run and put Roper under pressure. Roper isn't getting much help from his receivers, who have dropped several passes, but the Boilermakers secondary continues to fly around and make things hard for the Ducks. Purdue defensive tackle Ryan Baker and safeties Torri Williams and Frank Duong have been particularly disruptive. Give a ton of credit to defensive coordinator Brock Spack.
Purdue should be slightly concerned about its offense, which did next to nothing in the second quarter after Kory Sheets rushed for his second touchdown. Despite three possessions with favorable field position, the Boilers couldn't convert. The strong northeasterly wind might be bothering quarterback Curtis Painter, who completed just 6 of 16 passes in the half and made a very un-senior-like decision in the final minute, forcing a throw that Jairus Byrd picked off. But once again, the defense came up big in the red zone, holding Oregon to a field goal.
I'll give it to the Ducks. They play it bold. Going for a fourth-and-10 at Purdue's 41-yard line with a 17-point deficit might signal desperation to some, but coordinator Chip Kelly is confident in his offense. There's still plenty of time left for an explosive unit, but Oregon must be sharper in every aspect of the game.