August 25, 2015

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) Junior quarterback Austin Appleby has won the starting job at Purdue.

Third-year coach Darrell Hazell made the announcement after practice on Tuesday, selecting Appleby over redshirt freshman David Blough. Appleby started the Boilermakers' final seven games last season, but was challenged by Blough during spring practice and fall camp.

Purdue opens the season on Sept. 6 at Marshall.

''They both did a great job, but right now, I think (Appleby) will give us a great chance to win,'' Hazell said. ''I just like where he is right now. Experience plays into the decision, sure. He did a good job taking care of the ball throughout fall camp, which is what we asked him to do. That is why we are going with Austin.

''He is so much better now at understanding what we want. He has to think like a head coach, seeing the big picture and understanding situational football, whether we are in the red zone or coming out of our own end zone. That is where he has made strides as a quarterback.''

Appleby went 1-6 as the starter last season. He completed 144 of 272 passes for 1,449 yards and 10 touchdowns with 11 interceptions.

''I went into camp doing everything I could to be the starter,'' Appleby said. ''Everything I do is to be the starter, and nothing changes. I'm glad it is official, and now I can focus on getting this team ready for the opener.''

Appleby said he and Blough were called to Hazell's office on Tuesday morning and told of the decision.

''Coach Hazell said that we had done what we needed to accomplish in the spring and now and that I had improved tremendously,'' Appleby said. ''He said to keep doing what I am doing, which is to take care of the football, keep making those makeable plays and being a great leader. Coach Hazell said he thought I will give us the best chance of winning.''

The decision likely was sealed during this past Saturday's 75-minute scrimmage during which Appleby threw two touchdown passes and was not intercepted, while Blough was intercepted twice to go with one TD pass.

Blough has yet to take a snap in a college game, and had he been selected, would have made his first college start against a Marshall team that was 13-1 last season.

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