WEST LAFAYETTE—Elijah Sindelar passed for 509 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another TD in Purdue's 42-24 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday. Boilermaker sophomore Rondale Moore caught 13 passes for 220 yards, both career highs.
"Our offense made a lot of big plays in the passing game so credit to Elijah, Rondale and the receiving corps," Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. "My view is pretty high of Rondale so I don't know if it can get much higher. But for someone to continually come through every week and raise the bar and not be satisfied, that's Rondale Moore. He wants to win, that's the most important thing. He was tremendous (Saturday)."
The Boilermakers (1-1) scored quickly after taking the second-half kickoff to take a 21-10 edge. Jared Sparks hauled in a wide-open 50-yard TD pass from Sindelar as one Vanderbilt defender fell down on the coverage. It was junior Sparks' first TD and the longest catch of his career.
Sindelar's 20-yard TD pass to Brycen Hopkins pushed the lead to 28-10. The play was set up after a 15-yard penalty for helmet targeting by Vanderbilt cornerback Randall Haynie, who was disqualified.
Vanderbilt (0-2) closed the deficit to 28-16 on Riley Neal's 10-yard touchdown pass to Cam Johnson early in the fourth quarter, but Moore's 34-yard TD grab gave Purdue a 35-16 lead.
Vandy's final score came on Neal's 75-yard TD pass to Chris Pierce and a two-point conversion, closing the deficit to 35-24.
Earlier, Sindelar connected with Hopkins for a 12-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-all. Sindelar's 2-yard TD pass to Payne Durham put Purdue ahead 14-7 with 4:56 left in the second quarter.
The Commodores closed the deficit to 14-10 with Ryley Guay's 48-yard field goal with 53 seconds left in the first half. Vanderbilt's drive was hurt by three penalties for 30 yards on the drive.
After blowing a 17-point third quarter lead in a 34-31 loss at Nevada in the season opener, the Boilermakers were able to maintain a lead. Purdue committed one turnover compared to five in its opener. One concern is the Boilermakers managed just 31 yards on 18 carries. Purdue had just seven yards on nine carries until the final play of third quarter.
"We've got to find a way to run the ball more and we're aware of that," Brohm said. "It seemed like every time we handed it off, we got minus four (yards)."
The Boilermakers play host to TCU next Saturday evening.