BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Hudson Card threw for 248 yards and rushed for a score to lift Purdue to a 24-17 victory over Virginia Tech on Saturday after a lengthy weather delay.
Card’s 1-yard run with eight minutes remaining was the difference for the Boilermakers (1-1), who handed first-year coach Ryan Walters his first victory and took some of the sting out of a 39-35 defeat to Fresno State in the season opener.
Several Boilermaker players gave Walters a Gatorade shower after the game.
“It makes you want more,” Walters said. “I’m really proud of the guys. This was a unique game in and of itself with the delay, but to get that first one on the road against a quality opponent, I thought the guys showed a lot of resiliency and just how they’d respond to adversity.”
The Boilermakers survived what turned out to be a long day at Lane Stadium. A thunderstorm hit the area with five minutes remaining in the first quarter, resulting in Virginia Tech officials clearing the stadium. The storm dumped more than four inches of rain and caused a 5 hour, 27-minute delay.
Card completed 23 of 34 for the Boilermakers, who finished with 427 yards of offense.
Virginia Tech (1-1) rallied from a 17-0 deficit, scoring 17 unanswered in the final six minutes of the first half. But the Hokies’ six second-half possessions ended with four punts, a turnover, a loss of possession on downs.
Grant Wells threw for 243 yards and two scores for the Hokies, but also threw two interceptions and was sacked three times.
“My hat’s off to those guys,” Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said. “They played a nice football game. That was a group that was in the Big Ten championship last year. They have some kids on that football team that know how to win, kids with experience and size and some good wins under their belt.”
Purdue: The Boilermakers weren’t perfect in this one, but Card made some timely plays, Devin Mockobee had some tough runs, the defense held in the second half, and most importantly, Purdue did not turn the ball over. That will be the recipe for success for this team the rest of the season.
“That was a really big win for us and just the confidence for our guys,” Card said. “I’m proud of the way we competed. It wasn’t easy, but we found a way.”
Virginia Tech: For the second straight game, Virginia Tech’s running game was awful. The Hokies finished with 11 yards against Purdue after rushing for just 109 in the season opener against ODU. Expect that to be a point of emphasis for coach Brent Pry and his staff going forward.
“We’ve got to be able to run the ball better,” Pry said. “We’ve got find ways to run the ball. If it can be inside, we’ve got to run it outside. We’ve got to be little more creative there.”
Purdue’s players spent much of the delay playing Spades or Hangman, or just hanging out with family and friends in the stadium’s concourse — all part of their coach’s strategy to get their minds off the game and the delay. Officials from both schools wanted to restart the game at 3 p.m., but the storm hadn’t dissipated, and they then contemplated cancelling the game before agreeing to attempt a 6:15 p.m. restart.
“We did not want to do that,” Walters said of cancelling. “We got in touch with our pilots, and they said as long as we were taking off by 4 in the morning, we were good. I figured if we could start playing by 1 a.m., we’d be in good shape. You only get 12 guaranteed opportunities, so I didn’t want to waste this one.”
Purdue: The Boilermakers host Syracuse on Saturday.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies play at Rutgers on Saturday.
___ AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll