Hunt leads Black past Gold

Purdue held its annual spring game on Saturday, with Black earning a 14-0 win over Gold at Ross-Ade Stadium. Boiler Sports Report offers the details from the action.

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Shortly after the Boilermakers drafted teams for their annual spring game, members of the Black team offered a bold prediction—a 49-0 victory over the Gold squad. Black came up a bit short, but still earned a 14-0 shutout.

"It's just trash talk for trash talk," said running back Akeem Hunt, part of the victorious Black team. "We're just motivating each other to make each other better."

Hunt took charge of an early stalemate, scoring a 15-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Hunt finished the game with 134 yards rushing on 19 carries, showing his potential as Purdue's feature back.

Black later added its second touchdown when senior quarterback Rob Henry connected with receiver Shane Mikesky for an eight-yard score. Both Black touchdowns came with Henry leading the offense.

Even with the victory under his belt, Henry spoke of the inefficiencies after the game.

"We left some points out on the board," said Henry. "I'm sure both teams would say that."

Gold struggled to muster up a solid offensive attack against a stout Black defense. Austin Appleby, one of three finalists for Purdue's starting quarterback job, held the reins for Gold's offense. The redshirt freshman completed six of his 18 passes for just 52 yards and an interception.

A running clock in the second half made it a quick finish to the game. Gold found itself driving in the third quarter, but Appleby was intercepted by defensive tackle Michael Rouse III, putting an end to the drive. On its next drive, Gold came up short again as Appleby was unable to complete a fourth-down pass.

In recapping the game, with perspective on the spring as a whole, head coach Darrell Hazell was encouraged.

"I think we're finally understanding what it takes to be a better football team," Hazell said. "How far we are, I'm not sure, but we're headed in the right direction."

Play of the game: Defensive tackle Michael Rouse provided the day's greatest highlight. He intercepted an Austin Appleby pass, then ran about as well as a 295-pound lineman could. He managed 12 exciting yards on the return.

His description of the play may have been even more exciting: "My eyes got really big. I caught it, luckily, then once from there, it was like a blur. I didn't know where to go; I just saw a crowd of people on the ground and had to jump over them. I've played enough video games to know follow your blockers. It went as well as it could."

Player of the game: Akeem Hunt likely secured his spot as Purdue's starting running back with a stellar spring, and he capped it off in grand fashion. Hunt stole the show with 134 rushing yards and a touchdown. "I've always look at Akeem as an every-down back. He's going to be a great player for us this fall," quarterback Rob Henry said of Hunt after the game.

Key stat: Hunt outgained the Gold offense in yardage, posting 143 total yards compared to Gold's 107 total.

Quote to note: "We're all learning right now and we're each getting better. Coach Shoop is doing a great job, there's no doubt about that." –Quarterback Rob Henry, on the battle for the starting job.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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