Illini can’t stop Purdue combo

Carol Matteucci

Carol Matteucci

By Courtney Linehan

Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton and wide receiver Taylor Stubblefield may have a sixth sense when it comes to changing plays on the field. In Saturday’s game at Memorial Stadium, they used that intuition to make quick alterations to the Boilermaker’s offensive strategy.

“He called the play and I looked at him and gave him another play and then he checked that play,” Stubblefield said.

“The reason why that happened is because on the previous play we had checked to the same play he was going to check to, and our coaches had talked about checking to the play that I was talking about, so it’s not like I just made up a play. I gave him the other signal and he was like, yeah, yeah, let’s go that way.”

Orton was 35-of-50 passing and connected for four touchdowns. Stubblefield received three of them and racked up 115 yards against the Illini.

The pair has been the senior grounding on a team of 50 percent true and redshirt freshmen.

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    “I think the best thing that can be said about the Stubblefield-Orton combination is these guys have been playing together for so long, they really are on the same wavelength,” said Joe Tiller, Purdue head coach.

    “It’s kind of like pre-snap they really have an understanding of what each other’s going to do and that’s always a great advantage to a quarterback. He doesn’t get involved in a guessing game with the receiver in terms of the coverage – is he going to break in or out or over the top or what’s he going to do – they know each other extremely well.”

    Ade out

    Senior wide receiver Ade Adeyamo suffered a broken fibula on a play where he fumbled a hand-off from quarterback Jon Beutjer in the Illini’s first drive.

    “A lot of things went wrong,” said Illinois quarterback Beutjer. “It was a bad handoff; he was kind of grabbing it. But that wasn’t the game – we came back and scored. If that would’ve never happened, we would have had a lot better chance.”

    Illini staff estimated Adeyamo will miss six to eight weeks with this injury.

    “It’s a shame because it was on the first play of the game and he was playing well with a lot of confidence this season,” said Illinois head coach Ron Turner.

    He was sidelined more than a month of the 2003 season when he ran into a wall at the Rose Bowl and cracked a rib in last year’s match up against UCLA.

    Kick it up

    After playing around with the idea in practice this week, punter Steve Weatherford kicked a 48-yard field goal Saturday, the first of his career.

    “We had me go out there and practice and hit a couple long ones to see if I still had the leg. I was hitting the ball well so they put me in there,” Weatherford said.

    “It’s my first college field goal so it was definitely a lot different out there. I don’t get nervous out there when I play, but it’s a totally different feeling kicking field goals, but I enjoyed it.”

    Turner introduced the possibility of Weatherford kicking to take some of the pressure off true freshman kicker Jason Reda, who missed a PAT against Western Michigan, the first extra point the Illini had missed since 1998.

    Changing places

    Purdue missed a key offensive element Saturday, as senior fullback Jon Goldsberry was suffering from mononucleosis and sat out the trip to Champaign. Tiller said Goldsberry’s illness was a blessing in disguise as it mandated roster changes that proved to work for the team.

    “What it forced us to do was take (tight end Jeff) Bennett, put him back at tight end, so that we could get our protections the way we wanted them,” Tiller said. “And then we moved Jimmy Ladd from defense to offense and he did such a good job for three days, I don’t think he’ll ever see defense at Purdue again.”

    Quote of the game:

    “(It was) definitely not planned. There was a defensive end that recognized that it was a 3-step drop and he just really softened on the ball and jumped to try to get his hands on it and he actually got a good tip on it. The ball actually started rolling off of him and I just saw it and did what I could to grab it. It was like a fumble. I was definitely in shock. It took me a second to realize I had the ball. I didn’t exactly get very far, I caught it and got hit. I didn’t get any net yardage. It was definitely an experience.”

    – Senior offensive lineman Bucky Babcock on his first career reception. The catch came during his 40th career start.