O’Connell, Durham lead Purdue past No. 21 Illinois 31-24

Nov 11, 2022, 11:34 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2022, 4:51 pm
Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell is hugged by his wife Jael after Purdue defeated Illinois 31-24 ...

Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell is hugged by his wife Jael after Purdue defeated Illinois 31-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

              Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell carries the ball during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
              Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
              Purdue quarterback Aidan O'Connell is hugged by his wife Jael after Purdue defeated Illinois 31-24 in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 12, 2022, in Champaign, Ill. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Aidan O’Connell and Purdue made a muddled mess of the Big Ten West and the Boilermakers are in decent shape to emerge from it as champions now.

O’Connell passed for 237 yards and three scores, two to Payne Durham, and Purdue beat No. 21 Illinois 31-24 on Saturday.

The win gives the Boilermakers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) a crucial head-to-head tiebreaker over the Illini (7-3, 4-3 Big Ten), who were firmly in control until losing their last two games.

The Boilermakers finish the season with favorable matchups against Northwestern and at Indiana.

After Iowa and Minnesota also won Saturday, Illinois, Purdue, the Hawkeyes and Gophers are all 4-3 atop the division.

O’Connell and Purdue coach Jeff Brohm each played down the implications of the win, but recognized what it meant as the Boilermakers clinched a bowl appearance for the fourth time in six years.

“We’re not blind to those things,” O’Connell said. “We know we’re bowl eligible, we know we’re still in the hunt (in the division). I think the one game at a time thing is more so for us to stay focused, for energy and to realize it means nothing if you don’t win the next game.”

Purdue scored on three straight drives to take a 28-21 lead on Durham’s 13-yard touchdown reception with 13:13 left, finishing a drive that was aided by three Illinois penalties.

“I kind of ran around in the back of the end zone, Aidan had to scramble a little bit and it seemed like we just kind of made eye contact,” Durham said. “I think I looked up, telling him to throw it up. He trusted me, he threw a beautiful ball and I just went up there and grabbed it for him.”

The Boilermakers gave O’Connell plenty of time and excellent protection all day, holding a highly rated Illinois defense zero sacks.

O’Connell completed 25 of 40 attempts and threw one interception. Devin Mockobee added 106 yards and a touchdown on 28 carries.

DeVito struggled against pressure and threw his first interception since a Sept. 10 win over Virginia. He completed 18 of 32 passes for 201 yards and a score.

“When we can’t follow through on doing the fundamentals of that philosophy, complimentary football, efficient on early downs, take advantage of manageable clock situations, all of those things, if we don’t do that, we’re going to have failure,” Illinois coach Bret Bielema said. “That’s what we’ve seen the last two weeks.”

Purdue also became the first team to hold Illinois star Chase Brown to fewer than 100 rushing yards this season. The nation’s leader in yards rushing also appeared to suffer a leg injury late in the game, when he had to be helped off the field. He finished with 98 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries.

“We were just going out and playing fast, and we knew we had to stop the run,” Purdue defensive end Khordae Sydnor said. “We knew we had to limit four-plus, five-yard gains on first down and I think we executed well today.”

Durham made his first touchdown grab to cap a 90-yard drive that put the Boilermakers up 21-14 midway through the third quarter, but Illinois answered as DeVito connected with Brian Hightower for a 6-yard score with 1:13 left in the quarter.

“We’ve gone through adversity and had two losses the last two weeks where we didn’t look really good and teams kind of after us,” Brohm said. “But that’s college football.”


Emotions flared throughout the game as both teams combined for 18 penalties, including several calls for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Illinois was whistled for 12 penalties to the tune of 121 yards, which aided in multiple Purdue scoring drives.

“When you’ve got two passionate teams with everything on the line, i think you’re going to get some of that,” Purdue defensive tackle Branson Deen said.

The Boilermakers were flagged six times for 80 yards.


Purdue: The Boilermakers came into Champaign on a two-game losing streak. Credit the effort in the trenches — the Boilermakers never gave up a sack and paved the way for Mockobee to clear 100 yards against one of the country’s top defenses.

Illinois: Back-to-back home losses have tempered the enthusiasm of a 7-1 start, and things don’t get any easier next week at No. 3 Michigan. The Illini are a victory away from their first eight-win season since 2007 and still have chance to get to the Big Ten title game for the first time. Illinois holds the tie-breaker over Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.


The Illini could find themselves left out of the AP Top 25 after breaking into the rankings in early October for the first time since 2011.


Purdue: Hosts struggling Northwestern next Saturday.

Illinois: A trip to No. 3 Michigan looms next Saturday.


AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/4s56byja

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


head coach Gregg Berhalter of the United States and Tyler Adams attend a press conference on the ev...
Associated Press

World Cup Viewer’s Guide: US and Iran pulled into politics

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The American and Iranian soccer teams are the only ones putting politics aside as the sides meet in a match to determine if either nation continues in this World Cup. The two met at the 1998 World Cup in France when memories of the 1979 Islamic Revolution were still fresh for […]
1 day ago
Wales' Gareth Bale reacts during the World Cup group B soccer match between Wales and Iran, at the ...
Associated Press

Could World Cup be Bale’s goodbye to the global stage?

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — With Wales on the verge of World Cup elimination, Gareth Bale was dismissive when asked if Tuesday’s game against England could be the last for his country. “Nope,” was his one-word answer. He chose not to elaborate. While questions hang over Bale’s long-term future, Wales’ concerns are more immediate. If Wales […]
1 day ago
UConn forward Lou Lopez-Senechal (11) and guard Nika Muhl celebrate winning the championship over I...
Associated Press

South Carolina tops women’s AP Top 25; Stanford, UConn next

South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday as the Gamecocks keep close watch on the foot injury of reigning Player of the Year Aliyah Boston. The Gamecocks received all 29 first-place votes in the poll released Monday, a day after Boston left a game with […]
1 day ago
Brazil's Casemiro celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's first goal during the World Cu...
Associated Press

Brazil advances at World Cup, beats Switzerland 1-0

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — Brazil struggled without Neymar at the World Cup on Monday. Still, the five-time champions played well enough to secure a spot in the next stage. Brazil overcame the absence of its injured star to beat Switzerland 1-0 and make it to the round of 16 with a match to spare in […]
1 day ago
Lights of the stadium are off during the World Cup group G soccer match between Brazil and Switzerl...
Associated Press

Stadium lights dim at Brazil-Switzerland World Cup game

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The lights at Stadium 974 briefly dimmed dramatically just before halftime Monday during a World Cup match between Brazil and Switzerland. Brazil was about to take a corner when the lights at the temporary stadium dimmed enough that the play stopped. The full lights came back on within seconds and play […]
1 day ago
Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson watches during an NCAA college basketball game against Kent State...
Associated Press

Houston reaches No. 1 in AP poll for first time since 1983

Make some room, Phi Slama Jama. Another Houston team has reached the top of men’s college basketball. Nearly four decades after Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon took the Cougars to No. 1, the latest bunch led by Marcus Sasser and star freshman Jarace Walker took over the top spot in the AP Top 25 on […]
1 day ago
O’Connell, Durham lead Purdue past No. 21 Illinois 31-24