Statistically speaking, Joey Elliott‘s 2009 season ended on a high note. The Purdue University quarterback led the Boilermakers to four wins in his final six contests; he finished first in the Big Ten Conference in passing with 252.2 yards per game; and the redshirt senior tossed 22 touchdowns.
In his final three games, Elliott passed for 945 yards and connected on eight of his 22 touchdowns. Plus, the quarterback become only the fourth player in the history of the program to throw for 3,000+ yards in his first season as a starter. Included on this list are current NFL superstar Drew Brees and the Indianapolis Colts backup Curtis Painter, the quarterback who played in front of Elliott for three seasons.
More important than stats, Elliott quarterbacked the Boilermakers to several historic victories. Big Ten Conference wins came against a top-ten opponent (Ohio State Buckeyes) and on the road (Michigan Wolverines). The win at the Big House, Michigan’s stadium, was the first for the Boilermakers since 1966. One has to go back to 2000 to find the last time Purdue defeated both Ohio State and Michigan in the same season.
The win against then No. 7 Ohio State snapped an early-season losing streak, including devastating losses at Pac-10 champion Oregon and at home to Norte Dame, that left the football team reeling.
“I wish the ball would have bounced our way during the 2009 season,” Elliott said. “We were really close to being a surprise team during 2009.”
Against the Buckeyes, Elliott threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Perhaps the game’s most crucial play came when Elliott focused in on Keith Smith and connected with the wide receiver down the middle of the field just prior to halftime.
“It was a huge play,” Elliott said. “The catch allowed us to get 3 points and take the lead.”
Kicker Carson Wiggs hit from 55 yards out to give the Boilermakers a 9-7 advantage. Elliott and his teammates then staved off an Ohio State rally in the second half for a 26-18 victory.
“Beating Ohio State was huge because after so many close losses we needed a win,” the quarterback said. “The celebration was like a rock was lifting off our backs.”
Elliott’s collegiate career ended at Indiana as Purdue retained the Old Oaken Bucket, a trophy prized by both schools, with a 38-21 win against their in-state rival. The quarterback completed the afternoon match-up against the Hoosiers with four touchdown passes.
“The Bucket game is a rivalry that dates way back,” Elliott said. “Growing up in Indiana I knew all about it. The records are thrown out the window and you are playing for PRIDE.”
Up next, Elliott hopes to make an impression with a NFL team in 2010.
“Every college kid wants to fill the shoes of a NFL player,” Elliott said. “I will do anything and everything to make that dream come true.”
He should land in an NFL camp this spring as he looks to join the list of Purdue quarterbacks who have played at the professional level.