OSU Three Storylines
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Tuesday, January 01, 2013
1/01/13 at 3:22 AM
Will Marve be Marvelous?
Sixth-year Purdue senior quarterback Robert Marve engineered a three-game winning streak at season's end to secure bowl eligibility, and he did it on a thrice-torn ACL. "No one really thought after the Notre Dame game that he's going to take another snap for us," Purdue interim coach Patrick Higgins said. "And with his resolve and his determination, he came back and he did a heck of a job."
Marve hit 71.6 percent of his passes during the late-season hot streak, throwing seven touchdown passes and only one interception. He enters the bowl as owner of a school single-season record for completion percentage (.662), never mind that folks like Bob Griese, Jim Everett and Drew Brees once played at Purdue.
Immediately after OSU ended the regular season with losses to Oklahoma and Baylor, defensive coordinator Bill Young was asked what he would most like to see in the bowl game from his unit. His answer? He wants the defense to get off the field on critical downs.
OU and Baylor combined to convert 19-of-36 third downs and 3-of-5 fourth downs at the Cowboys' expense. The Sooners and Bears churned out 76 first downs. Purdue is an average team (62nd nationally) when it comes to third-down conversions - and just about every other statistical category, which is how you wind up with a 6-6 record. The Boilermakers somehow won their last two games (one of them easily) despite converting only 5-of-25 third-down situations.
After bowl pairings were announced, OSU coach Mike Gundy said the team that usually wins a bowl is the one that really wants to be there. Can the Cowboys bring their A-game to the Heart of Dallas Bowl one year after playing in a BCS bowl? Here's the flip-side of the equation: Which Purdue team will show up? Will it be the Boilermaker squad that lost five consecutive games during the regular season? Or will it be the team that nearly upset Ohio State and Notre Dame before gutting out a three-game winning streak at the end of the regular season? "We have nothing but warriors on the team," sophomore defensive end Ryan Russell said. "Nobody has ever given up here at Purdue. I'm glad that we didn't. We pulled it through, and we're hoping to make it a four-game winning streak."