WEST LAFAYETTE – Quarterback Hayden Moore passed for three touchdowns and ran for two more Saturday, leading Cincinnati to a 38-20 victory against Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Until Saturday, the Bearcats (2-0) had lost 11 consecutive road games against Big Ten Conference opponents. Cincinnati had not beaten a Big Ten opponent on the road since winning at Indiana in 1957.
Purdue (1-1) was trying to start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2007, but quarterback David Blough was intercepted five times, and J.D. Dellinger missed a 28-yard field goal. Three interceptions of Blough set up Cincinnati touchdowns.
Blough threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Domonique Young and a 36-yarder to DeAngelo Yancey, and Richie Worship ran 4 yards for another Purdue score. Blough passed for 401 yards.
“With five turnovers, you’re going to win most of your games,” Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville said. “I don’t care if you are playing on the moon. This was a good game for us. I thought we handled it well.”
The Bearcats’ ability to successfully convert on third down was at the core of their offensive dominance. Cincinnati converted 12 of its first 14 third-down situations.
Moore threw touchdown passes of 5 and 28 yards to Nate Cole and 20 yards to D.J. Dowdy and ran 9 and 23 yards for scores. His 23-yard TD run with 2:19 iced the outcome.
“We got a little conservative in the fourth quarter, but it was a big win for us,” Tuberville said.
Moore completed 19 of 32 passes for 250 yards and ran eight times for 58 yards.
Cincinnati drove 85, 80, 75, 32 and 49 yards for touchdowns and had another 13-play, 79-yard drive that produced a 26-yard Andrew Gantz field goal in the third quarter that extended the lead to 24-7.
Safety Tyrell Gilbert’s fourth-quarter interception of Blough set up the 28-yard touchdown pass to Cole, pushing the Cincinnati lead to 31-7 with 14:10 to play.
“When you can’t get off the field on third down, and then you have too many turnovers, you’re not going to win,” said Purdue coach Darrell Hazell.
Despite passing for a career high, Blough took the blame for the loss.
“We didn’t play well at the quarterback position,” Blough said. “You can’t lose the turnover battle 5-0 and expect to win a game.”