June 11, 2007

The plays of the year

Today, GoldandBlack.com will begin its countdown of its top 10 Boilermaker athletes of the now-complete athletic year.

Here we look at the top plays from the football and basketball seasons gone by.

In no particular order, here they are …

    • Purdue beat Indiana 28-19 in Ross-Ade Stadium in this past season's Big Ten finale. But who knows what the outcome would have looked like had it not been for the heroics of wide receiver Jake Standeford.

    In a first-half play that started with the elation of running back Jaycen Taylor breaking off a gigantic run, only to end with the panic of his fumble nearly being returned for a pivotal touchdown, Standeford made arguably the play of the year.

    As Tracy Porter pinball-ed his way through a fleet of would-be tacklers, keeping his feet and zig-zagging around almost in cartoon-like fashion, Standeford - after beginning his pursuit being around the point of the fumble and later being knocked to the ground well behind the ball-carrier - hustled to run Porter down from behind.

    He slapped the ball out of Porter's arms from behind, propelling the pigskin a good 15-plus yards forward, where it went into and out of the end zone. The result: A touchdown for Indiana instead became a touchback and Purdue kept the ball.

    • At Illinois, in the middle of a wild streak of Illini turnovers that basically handed Purdue a much-needed win over the road, Isiah Williams' pass was batted down by leaping defensive end Cliff Avril.

    That in itself was pretty routine, but what then occurred was nothing short of amazing.

    By sheer luck, Avril kicked the ball into the air before it could drop all the way to the ground. The mini-punt was then intercepted by defensive tackle Alex Magee, who jumped to grab the ball like a power forward snatching a rebound.

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