By Raymond Rolak
(cnbnews.net)Detroit-- Purdue forced seven turnovers and Western Michigan could never catch up as the Boilermakers won their second Little Caesars Pizza Bowl 37-32. Freshman Raheem Mostert returned a 99 yard kickoff in the first-half for a score and Purdue senior kicker Carson Wiggs recovered his own onside kick. These were back-breaking plays that WMU couldn’t overturn.
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Purdue junior running back Akeem Shavers, filling in for the injured Ralph Bolden, rushed for 149 yards and Reggie Pegram scored the first two touchdowns of his career.
The Boilermakers' fourth touchdown of the game came on a 33-yard TD& pass from Caleb TerBush to Gary Bush in the third quarter. Wiggs added three field goals for the winners. Gerald Gooden had two interceptions while Albert Evans and Taylor Richards each had a pick. The Boilermaker defense also recovered three Broncos' fumbles.
Senior Jordan White was spectacular for WMU, even when doubled teamed. He wound up with a WMU record 265 yards on 13 receptions. Sophomore Josh Schaffer had two strips that he recovered for WMU highlights.
The Broncos had a chance to win with less than two minutes left but quarterback Alex Carder fumbled.
With the victory, Purdue finishes the season 7-6, its first winning season since 2007. That same year they beat Central Michigan here at the same Bowl on the last play of the game. WMU also ended the year at 7-6.
It was a strong and realistic 44,500 at Ford Field which both schools marching bands kept the crowd spirited and energized throughout. The Purdue team gave the game ball to head coach Danny Hope who recently got a two year contract extension.
EDITORS NOTE: Raymond Rolak is a veteran sports writer and well traveled sports broadcaster. He is a weekly contributor to CNBNEWS.