Purdue coach Jeff Brohm has
marveled at David Blough's resilience.
During his first two seasons in
West Lafayette, Brohm watched his quarterback rebound from
frustrating performances, demoralizing injuries and the loss
of his starting job. Blough's steady demeanor and
inspirational words found a perfect home in the Boilermakers'
locker room, serving as a model of how leaders respond to
Now with Blough's final game at
Ross-Ade Stadium nearing, the Boilermakers need Blough to
deliver a fitting finale to his comeback career Saturday
"He's fought and bled and
sweat and teared up for this team and put his body on the
line," Brohm said. "He came back this year to try to
help us win and he's done a great job. I think this moment
will be special for him. I want him to enjoy the moment with
his family and friends, and he's earned every right to do
Blough may not be remembered
for the stats or successes of other prized pupils from the
Cradle of Quarterbacks.
Make no mistake, though, his
legacy is every bit as strong as those who went before him —
from Len Dawson and Bob Griese to Jim Everett and Drew Brees.
Blough, a fifth-year senior,
helped engineer one of the school's greatest one-season
turnarounds last year and led Purdue from a 0-3 start to the
precipice of bowl-eligibility this season. He delivered a
signature win over then No. 2 Ohio State before playing
equally well in an upset of No. 19 Iowa.
There's also the image of
Blough cheering his teammates as he was loaded into an
ambulance last November after dislocating his right ankle.
But if Blough overcomes last
week's struggles and leads Purdue (5-5, 4-3 Big Ten) to a
bowl-qualifying victory this weekend, amid the rumors about
Brohm's future plans, it could be Blough's crowning
The Badgers (6-4, 4-3)
"You've had a chance to
watch him in a number of different games and it looks to me
like he's got a great feel of what they're trying to do. He
has an understanding of the players around him,"
Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst said. "I love the way he
So does Brohm.
"He's very smart. He takes
a lot of pride in doing the right thing, and he's been nothing
but a perfect example of a student-athlete for us," Brohm
said. "I think the sky's the limit whatever he wants to
Blough is one of 29 seniors
playing saying goodbye to the home fans Saturday.
The question all week has been
whether Brohm could leave town after Louisville fired coach
Bobby Petrino on Sunday. The rumors were in full force all
week as Brohm attempted to downplay the questions.
"I think it's important
for me — and our team — to worry about improving, getting
better, and attacking the next opponent," Brohm said.
"That's where we're going to completely focus on."
Wisconsin is in unfamiliar
territory this season — being eliminated from the West
Division title chase. Normally, the Badgers are positioning
themselves for a trip to the conference championship game. So
it's understandable why Chryst was asked about this week's
"When you talk to players
— this group and previous teams — every kid has a 'Why do
you play?' Most of the time it's very personal whether it's
family or an individual trying to do something and there's
also each other," Chryst said. "They care about
their teammates. Those don't change regardless of the
ON THE RUN
One key for Purdue this week
will be re-establishing the ground game. Another will be
taking some chances.
"We've erred on being
aggressive and taking some chances," Brohm said. "I
just think we need to be more efficient in what we're
Michael Deiter is Wisconsin's
ironman on the offensive line. This weekend will mark Deiter's
52nd start, setting a program record.
Perhaps even more remarkable is
that Deiter, a captain, has started at three positions during
his career — center and left tackle before moving to left
guard this season.
"I'm just glad I was able
to play a bunch of football with my friends, and that's kind
of how I always viewed it," he said. "I never wanted
to not be a part of it. I guess I just took that every week
and we ended up here."