Maryland vs. Purdue: David Blough can handle adversity

Nov 14, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback David Blough (11) drops back to pass during the first half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 14, 2015; Evanston, IL, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback David Blough (11) drops back to pass during the first half against the Northwestern Wildcats at Ryan Field. Mandatory Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports /

The start of the 2015 season hasn’t exactly been kind to David Blough.

However, the Purdue quarterback has still managed to lead his team to a 2-1 record.

Blough is coming off a freshman campaign in which he completed 57.7 percent of his passes to go along with 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

His best performance came on Oct. 31 in a 55-45 win against Nebraska. Blough completed 28-of-43 passes for 274 yards and a career-high four touchdowns.

With the amount of success he had as a freshman, a lot was expected of Blough heading into Year Two.

In Purdue’s season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky, Blough went 25-of-43 for 245 yards along with three touchdowns (two rush & one pass) and an interception. Both touchdown runs came from a yard out to end successful Boilermaker drives.

As great as Blough looked at times in that game, the sophomore signal caller was dealt a tough dose of reality the following week against Cincinnati.

Purdue ended dropping the game 38-20 after Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-7 halftime lead. Even worse for the Boilermakers, Blough tossed five interceptions throughout the contest.

Blough did manage to throw for 401 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but three second half interceptions really doomed Purdue’s chances to upset the successful AAC program. He did end up leading the Boilermakers on a pair of fourth quarter scoring drives to cut the deficit.

Context was certainly a key factor on several of those interceptions.

Three of Blough’s picks came on passes where the ball hit a Purdue wideout in the hands before heading into the waiting arms of a Bearcat defender.

That game was certainly one to forget and that’s what good quarterbacks have to do. Leave a bad performance on the field and don’t take it with you.

Before traveling to College Park for a matchup with Maryland on Oct. 1, Purdue welcomed a battle-tested Nevada squad to West Lafayette.

The Wolf Pack won two of their first three games against the likes of Buffalo and Cal Poly. However, they were dismantled by Notre Dame in a 39-10 rout.

It definitely looked like it would be a battle for Blough and the Boilermakers. Early on, that’s exactly what it turned out to be.

Purdue received the ball first and started out at their own 47-yard line courtesy of a 45-yard kickoff return by running back Brian Lankford-Johnson. Fellow tailback Markell Jones did the bulk of the work on the drive, but Blough did mange to get the Boilermakers down to the Nevada five-yard line on a 20-yard completion to DeAngelo Yancey.

After a one-yard run by Jones, Blough was forced to deal with some adversity that was all too familiar with.

The sophomore quarterback was looking for Tario Fuller in the flat on the very next play, but Nevada’s Jaden Sawyer had other ideas as he intercepted the pass inside the five-yard line. Purdue had put together a strong drive up to that point and looked poised to punch it in for a touchdown.

On the drive, the Wolf Pack punched it in to take a 7-0 lead in the first quarter.

Blough and the Boilermakers started off their next drive at their own 24-yard line. He looked like he had put the interception behind him and he drove his team down inside the Nevada 20-yard line.

However, the drive ended up stalling and Purdue was forced to settle for a field goal.

Blough had led his offense down the field on their first two drives and looked primed for the end zone on both of them. Unfortunately, the Boilermakers only came away with three points instead of the 14 that it looked like they were destined to claim.

On Purdue’s third drive, the Boilermakers were deep in their own territory. As they tried to establish the running game, Jones fumbled and the Wolf Pack had great field position.

Nevada ended up scoring on a six-yard touchdown pass. The Wolf Pack had jumped out to a 14-3 lead in the opening 10 minutes of the game.

It was a brutal start to the game for the Purdue offense. Blough threw an interception deep in Nevada territory and Jones put the football on the ground twice.

Blough did manage to regain his composure as he completed 70 percent of his passes. He ended up totaling 300 yards and two touchdowns He really excelled at throwing the ball downfield against the Wolf Pack.

With just 1:20 left in the opening half, Blough remain poised. He lofted a beautiful 48-yard touchdown pass to Bilal Marshall.

The long touchdown cut the Nevada lead to 14-10 at the half.

Purdue found themselves clinging to a 17-14 lead late in the game. It didn’t seem to bother Blough as he remained calm.

Blough found his tight end, Brycen Hopkins, for a 51-yard touchdown pass to seal the game with 1:17 to go. Purdue went on to survive with a 24-14 victory over the Wolf Pack.

After a horrific six interceptions in just five quarters, Blough couldn’t continued to get down on himself. However, the sophomore kept battling and led the Boilermakers back from a double-digit deficit to win.

Next: Five takeaways from nonconference play

Blough has a great arm and is always aware of what is going on downfield. If he can keep up that type of play, he could give Maryland a few problems on Saturday.