WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue made public the news of a one-game suspension for starting quarterback Caleb TerBush about an hour before the kickoff of Saturday’s season opener with Eastern Kentucky.
Robert Marve filled in quite nicely. He does, after all, have experience as a starter.
Marve threw for 295 yards and three touchdowns in the Boilermakers’ 48-6 victory in front of 40,572 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Marve completed 30 of 38 passes. Rob Henry was 7 of 9 for 77 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first game after missing last season with a knee injury.
“We all rotate. Rob (Henry) takes as just as many reps as I do at practice and same with Caleb. We try to make it work the best way possible,” Marve said. “We all feel like we’re better at certain things than others. We’re doing whatever we can to win games.”
Akeem Shavers rushed for 74 yards and one touchdown. Safety Landon Feichter, a Bishop Dwenger graduate, intercepted a pass and returned it 34 yards for a touchdown in the blowout win over the Colonels, a Football Championship Subdivision school.
The drama came before the first snap. TerBush started all 13 games last season for Purdue. He and tight end Sterling Carter served a one-game suspension for a “violation of team rules.”
“We’re going to be a disciplined football team, and we had two varsity players that broke team rules and as a result they had one-game suspensions. That’s the way it is,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “We have to be a much more disciplined football team, whether it’s on the field or off the field and that will be the difference in us being champions in 2012.”
Marve started four games for the Boilermakers in 2010 before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He returned as the No. 2 quarterback for Purdue last year and was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA in the offseason.
Marve’s first series Saturday ended with an interception. He bounced back the next time Purdue had the ball, finding Gary Bush for a 4-yard touchdown.
Feichter caught a tipped pass and raced down the right sideline for a touchdown to extend the lead to 13-0. It was Feichter’s first interception and first touchdown with the Boilermakers.
“That is something special, something you dream about,” Feichter said. “The coaches put me in a great position to come out and execute the play that was called. … I just kind of ran (after the interception) and hoped I wouldn’t trip.”
Purdue collected two interceptions and two fumbles. But the Boilermakers were also sloppy with the ball, turning it over five times (two interceptions, three fumbles).
Despite the miscues, the game was never really in doubt. Purdue scored two touchdowns in the first quarter and three more in the second to lead 34-6 at halftime.
“Thank goodness we have invested some time in the No. 2 quarterback and the No. 3 quarterback. There are going to be some other times this season we will lose the No. 1 guy, and we’re going to need the No. 2 guy to come in and lead us to a victory,” Hope said. “And we’re in position to do that as a football team.”
Note: Eastern Kentucky receiver Cameron Bailey, a Snider product, had five catches for 60 yards.