WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — David Blough followed the script in his first college start Saturday for Purdue.
He played smart, with poise and avoided the temptation of taking too many risks.
It was good enough to give the Boilermakers a chance against Bowling Green's high-scoring offense — but not quite enough to get his first college win. Travis Greene scored on a 12-yard run with 9 seconds left to give the Falcons a 35-28 victory; Blough's ensuing interception ended any hope of a miraculous comeback.
"I thought he was seeing things very well, got the ball out of his hands and made a couple key first downs on third-and-longs," coach Darrell Hazell said. "From the sideline, he looked like he had pretty good control."
The numbers proved it.
Blough was 29 of 39 with 340 yards with two TD passes. He also scored on 1-yard run, became the first Boilermakers quarterback to top 300 yards since the 2013 season finale and finished with a better passer rating than Bowling Green's Matt Johnson, who entered the game leading the Football Bowl Subdivision in passing touchdowns and yardage.
That wasn't good enough for Blough.
"The goal is to win a game," he said. "There are definitely some corrections that need to be made."
Purdue (1-3) has lost two straight, thanks to Bowling Green's late gamble.
Greene took the handoff, sidestepped one defender on his way to the hole and finished the run by bowling over two Purdue defenders at the goal line. Game over.
"Everybody in the stadium says you are going to throw it," Bowling Green coach Dino Babers said. "If you run it, and it doesn't work, I have to stand in front of you guys and say I am a dumb-dumb. It did work, so I get to smile."
The Falcons (2-2) have now beaten two Big Ten schools in three weeks. It's the first time since 2003 they've beaten multiple power-conference teams in one season.
Johnson topped the 400-yard mark for the fourth time this season, extending his own single-season school record, but wasn't his usually efficient self. He went 43 of 59 for 402 yards with one TD pass, one interception and took two sacks.
Greene caught six passes for 75 yards, ran 11 times for 70 yards for two scores and executed the decisive run just like he envisioned.
"I made my reads and looked at who I wanted to make miss," Greene said. "Everything just happened right after that. It helps having our passing attack. If a team is going to play the pass, we are going to run the ball."
But the difference came down to two 10-point swings.
With the score tied at 14 late in the first half, Purdue's Paul Griggs missed a 19-yard field goal wide right. Then, with the scored tied 28 late in the fourth quarter, Griggs pushed a 32-yard attempt to the right.
Each time, Johnson responded by taking the Falcons on 80-yard scoring drives to retake the lead — the second aided by two 15-yard penalties on the Boilermakers.
Purdue would not go away, though.
Blough's first career scoring run tied the score at 7. His first career TD pass tied the score at 14.
After the first of Donovan Wilson's two scoring runs made it 21-14 at halftime, the Boilermakers tied the score again on a 5-yard TD run from Jarrett Burgess early in the third quarter.
Bowling Green answered Johnson's 4-yard TD pass to Ronnie Moore, and Blough tied it again at 28 when he hooked up with Gregory Phillips on a 62-yard TD pass.
But just when it looked like the Boilermakers were about to break through, Griggs missed the second field goa and Johnson finished it off.
Phillips had four catches for 92 yards.
Bowling Green's Gehrig Dieter caught 10 passes for 96 yards, while Moore had nine receptions for 74 yards.
AP College Football website: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org