Purdue utilized the element of surprise and a fake kneel to complete their surprising bowl-winning season on Wednesday.
Content they were not.
With 47 seconds left, Purdue lined up in standard kneel-down formation, with the diminutive running back D.J. Knox crouching behind a guard.
Quarterback Elijah Sindelar slyly handed the rock off to the 5’7″ back then darted to his right as the offensive line just stood up. As Arizona defenders tracked Sindelar, Know took off, breaking a 30-yard gain and putting his team into field-goal position.
Purdue running the fake kneel is my new favorite thing pic.twitter.com/4ld5KjsYCm
— Alejandro Zúñiga (@ByAZuniga) December 28, 2017
Here’s another angle.
This Purdue trick play – the fake kneel sweep – is just a thing of beauty. pic.twitter.com/kUTU3DwfOO
— Sam McKewon (@swmckewonOWH) December 28, 2017
The play proved crucial to a Boilermakers victory. Six plays later, they’d tack on a field goal.
It’d be the last points they’d score until this wild finish gave them the lead for good.
Purdue’s final two plays on their game-winning drive were bonkers. pic.twitter.com/svHgcIXG1q
— Eleven Warriors (@11W) December 28, 2017
The salt was strong with Wildcats players and head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Rich Rodriguez’s thoughts on the Purdue fake kneel down. pic.twitter.com/ucS5EcaGP4
— Ben White (@Ben1White) December 28, 2017
“The referee told us it was a kneel,” said Wildcats linebacker Tony Fields II. “That’s all it is. When the ref tells us it’s a kneel, it’s really a dead play. We can’t do anything. They don’t even want us to rush the quarterback. That’s an injury-prevention thing. They just got us.”
But Arizona probably should have been ready for it: first-year Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm pulled the trick play out last year when he was helming Western Kentucky.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 21, 2016
Jeff Brohm on the kneel-down play: “It was a very legal play. … We’ve practiced that for a couple years now, we use it about once a year.”
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) December 28, 2017
Brohm steered a massive turnaround for the Boilermakers this season. After going 9-29 over four years, Purdue went 7-6 with a bowl win in his first campaign.