Freshman running back Jarvion Franklin rushed for 163 yards on 19 carries and three touchdowns in his collegiate debut but the Western Michigan football team fell just short, 43-34, against Purdue on Saturday afternoon.
Franklin's 163 yards is the second-most by a freshman running back in his collegiate debut in Western Michigan. Only Jerome Persell rushed for more when he totalled 241 yards against Eastern Michigan on Sept. 11, 1976.
The Broncos outgained the Boilermakers 456-407, racking up 243 yards through the air and 213 on the ground. Sophomore quarterback finished 18-of-36 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Both of Terrell’s touchdowns came in the second half, in which he started 9-of-11. Sophomore wide receiver Daniel Braverman led all receivers with 10 receptions for 130 yards to set all new career-highs.
Junior linebacker Grant DePalma led the Broncos with 11 tackles on defense. Senior defensive tackle Richard Ash made seven tackles, all solo, and three tackles for loss.
Purdue took an early 7-0 lead when Danny Etling connected with Justin Sinz from 11 yards out with 7:45 left in the first quarter. The touchdown pass capped off a 9-play, 80-yard drive.
As the first quarter was winding down the Broncos forced a three-and-out and had great field position after Purdue’s Thomas Meadows’ punt only went 21 yards. Starting on the Boilermaker 28 the Broncos needed just four plays, all rushes, to score their first touchdown of the season. Terrell opened up the drive scrambling for 12 yards and then Franklin did the rest of the work with carries of eight, three and finally five yards for the six points and his first career touchdown.
After holding Purdue to a field goal, Western Michigan took a 14-10 lead after Franklin capped off a four-play drive by taking it to the house for a 61-yard touchdown run. After a nine-yard reception by Braverman the Broncos had the ball at their own 39-yard line, Franklin took the hand-off from Terrell to the right side of the line of scrimmage. Freshman tackle Chukwuma Okorafor opened up a hole and Franklin found daylight. The Tinley Park, Ill., native out-raced the Purdue safety and got a key block from wide receiver Michael Henry at the Boilermaker 15-yard line to seal the touchdown.
Purdue added another field goal to cut the lead to 14-13 before a Terrell pass was picked off by Frankie Williams and returned to the Western Michigan 4-yard line. Etling ran it in from there to give Purdue a 20-14 lead.
The Boilermakers added another field goal with 16 seconds remaining in the first half to push the lead to 23-14.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the third quarter with the Broncos striking first. WMU took the opening drive 75 yards in nine plays with Franklin breaking free from 26 yards out for his third rushing touchdown of the day.
Purdue scored two-straight touchdowns to push the lead to 37-21 on a rush by Raheem Mostert and a touchdown pass to Gabe Holmes.
The Broncos responded with a quick 7-play, 75-yard drive in just 2:35 to get back within nine. Terrell opened the drive with a 47-yard completion to Braverman and then six plays later found Kendrick Roberts open in the endzone for his first touchdown pass of the season.
WMU cut the lead to three, 37-34, with 8:11 remaining in the fourth quarter after Corey Davis made a highlight-reel catch in the left corner of the endzone to cap off an 12-play, 82-yard drive. Terrel completed all six attempts on the drive, including the 14-yard touchdown pass.
Purdue responded with a scoring-drive of its own, eating up 4:29 on eight plays and 75 yards. Akeem Hunt broke a 38-yard rush to push the lead to 43-34 with just 3:42 remaining.
WMU turned the ball over on downs with 2:40 left and once again with 22 seconds left before time expired.
The Broncos have a bye week before heading to Moscow, Idaho to battle the Vandals on Saturday, Sept. 13 at 8 p.m. ET. The game can be streamed live on ESPN3.com and the WatchESPN app.