22A - The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 7, 2004
Orton leads Purdue
Croom breaks SEC
coaching color barrier
WEST LAFAYETTE (AP) - No. 25
Purdue came up with big plays and long
touchdowns on offense, which was no sur-
The dominating defense even caught the
Boilermakers off guard.
Kyle Orton passed for 287 yards and a
career-high four touchdowns to lead the
Boilermakers to a 51-0 victory over Syra-
cuse on Sunday, their first shutout in four
'The defense obviously played great.
Nobody expected this,"Orton said. "I knew
they were going to be a good defense, but I
didn't think they would be this good this
early. We've got a lot of great athletes."
Orton, a senior, and the experienced Pur-
due offense produced 571 yards and seven
touchdowns. The defense has eight new
starters and was expected to take a while
to develop. Instead, it held Syracuse to 197
yards, forced four fumbles and added three
sacks and two interceptions.
"We did a good job flying to the ball
and keeping up our pursuit," Purdue line-
backer Stanford Keglar said. "We were
very successful with our penetration. We
also stayed in our alignment and tried not
The last Purdue shutout came in the
2000 season opener against Central Michi-
Orton hit Brian Hare for a 75-yard score
in the first quarter, Taylor Stubblefield for
TDs of 33 yards in the second quarter and
67 yards in the third period, and Brandon
Jones for 32 yards late in the third. Ben
Jones' 34-yard field goal gave Purdue a
37-0 lead going into the final period, when
Brandon Kirsch replaced Orton in the
opener for both teams.
The Boilermakers got their final touch-
downs on a 44-yard run by Jerome Brooks
and a 47-yard pass from Kirsch to fresh-
man Dustin Keller with just over two min-
utes to go.
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) - Mis-
sissippi State's players held their helmets
skyward as they did a victory dance around
Sylvester Croom. Flashbulbs popped, cow-
bells clanged and Croom tipped his cap
to the thankful fans before jogging off the
The Bulldogs made the first black head
football coach in the Southeastern Confer-
ence a winner in his debut, beating Tulane
28-7 Saturday night.
"This victory is not just for us in the foot-
ball program; it is for the Bulldog fans and
the entire university," Croom said.
Mississippi State scored on four of its
seven possessions in the second half to set
off a wild party in a town with little to cel-
ebrate in recent seasons. The downtrodden
Bulldogs entered with just eight wins in
the past three years. They have a winning
record for the first time since winning the
2001 opener - when this year's seniors
As the players whooped it up on the side-
lines, Croom received a traditional victory
"I thought I was going to have a heart
The Bulldogs did it with a disciplined
defense and a rushing game that found its
groove in the second half.
"It was just a very good win for (Croom),
being the first black coach in the SEC,"quar-
terback Omarr Conner said. "It's just a new
beginning, and it just feels good to win."
Mississippi State intercepted Lester
Ricard twice, allowed just 26 rushing yards
in the second half and committed just three
penalties. The Bulldogs also would have
scored on a 70-yard fumble return had an
official not blown the play dead and given
the ball back to Tulane.
"That's part of coach Croom's discipline
rubbing oft," safety Darren Williams said.
"He always stresses, no pre-snap penal-
ties, we don't need penalties, we can't give
away yards. we're not that good to give away
yards. And we didn't give away yards, and
we came out on top.
Jerious Norwood rushed for 112 yards,
and the Bulldogs' West Coast offense pro-
duced three rushing touchdowns.
"Croom changed a lot of attitudes around
here," Norwood said. "We pull together as
one unit, not individuals on the team."
Croom, a longtime NFL assistant, was
passed over by his alma mater, Alabama,
when its coaching job came open last year.
The Tuscaloosa native played and coached
under Bear Bryant and was crushed when
the Crimson Tide choose Mike Shula over
So, Croom took his years of experience to
Starkville when the Bulldogs were looking
for someone to rebuild a program in disar-
He preached discipline and conditioning,
and those virtues paid off in Game 1.
"We are extremely proud to have a start
like this," Croom said. "They did things
from a character standpoint that I wanted, to
not beat ourselves and be a physical football
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Purdue senior quarterback Kyle Orton threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns in
Purdue's season-opening 51-0 bludgeoning of the Orangemen.
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