WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The Purdue football team fell to Fresno State by a score of 39-35 after a late touchdown pass in the final minute spoiled Ryan Walters’ head coaching debut in the 2023 season opener at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The Boilermakers (0-1) took a 35-32 lead deep into the fourth quarter after Devin Mockobee recorded his first touchdown of the season with 4:36 remaining. The Bulldogs proceeded to drive down the field and tack on the winning score with a 22-yard pass from quarterback Mikey Keene in the back of the end zone.
In the high-scoring affair, quarterback Hudson Card went 17-of-30 passing for 254 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in his debut as a Boilermaker. He wasted little time opening his scoring account at Purdue, hitting Deion Burks for an 84-yard touchdown pass on Purdue’s opening drive. Fresno State kept pace with the Boilermaker offense, as the hosts carried a 21-17 advantage into the break.
Tyrone Tracy Jr. got Purdue off to a hot start in the second half with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown on just his third career kick return. He was the first Boilermaker to take a kickoff to the house since Raheem Mostert in 2013 at Penn State and the first at Ross-Ade Stadium since Akeem Hunt went 99 yards against Indiana State that same season. However, Fresno State later answered with a nine-play, 74-yard touchdown drive to lower the Bulldogs deficit to 28-25.
Fresno State opened the 4th quarter by capping off an 85-yard drive to take a four-point lead, 32-28. After being stuffed on 4th and Goal late in the game, the Boilermakers rallied with Dillon Thieneman making his first career interception on an acrobatic catch along the sideline, which ultimately resulted in Mockobee’s score.
In his first game playing with Card, Burks highlighted the Purdue offense with a career-high 152 receiving yards on four catches, two of which went for his first two collegiate touchdowns. Thieneman paced the Boilermaker defense with 10 tackles in his first collegiate game, also securing the game’s only turnover.
• Saturday was the first meeting between Purdue and Fresno State.
• The Boilermakers are now 87-32-3 when facing an opponent for the first time.
• Burks totaled four catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns. He had the first 100-yard receiving game since Charlie Jones against Michigan on Dec. 3, 2022.
• Dillon Thieneman led the team with 10 tackles in his first game as a Boilermaker, the most by a Purdue defender since Jaylan Alexander in the Music City Bowl in 2021.
• Devin Mockobee posted 16 carries for 60 yards and a touchdown.
• The Boilermakers recorded two sacks on the afternoon, coming from OC Brothers and Kydran Jenkins.
• Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen tallied a career-best four receptions and finished with 46 yards.
• Tyrone Tracy Jr. scored twice in the season opener after not finding pay dirt his first season in West Lafayette.
The Boilermakers will travel to Virginia Tech next Saturday for a noon kick on ESPN2.