EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Fifth-year senior running back Zander Horvath sat on the sidelines with a boot on his left foot, no longer sporting pads across his shoulders or a helmet.
Horvath suffered a lower-leg injury during Purdue's first scoring drive against UConn on Saturday. He ran the ball two times for eight yards in what ended up being a 49-0 thrashing of the Huskies.
The Boilermakers are 2-0 to start the season, but their starting running back could miss an extended period of time.
"It looks like Zander will probably be out a little while, and we'll see how far along that's going to be come (Sunday) and Monday," Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said after the game.
In his place, the team turned to junior running back King Doerue, who shared carries with redshirt freshman and UNLV transfer Dylan Downing. Purdue put 187 yards on the ground Saturday.
The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Doerue recorded 12 carries for 74 yards and a touchdown as Purdue cruised past UConn on the road in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was his highest rushing total since a victory over Nebraska on Nov. 2, 2019.
Doerue filled in without issue, averaging 6.3 yards per carry and was only dropped for negative yards on one attempt. He also ripped off a big gain of 23 yards, but the junior was still critical of himself after the game.
"I felt decent about the running, but I still feel like I can improve in certain areas," Doerue said. "I'm not satisfied with my performance, I feel like I could've did better."
Downing complimented Doerue by putting up 72 yards rushing on 14 carries. Together, the two backups helped the Boilermakers post their first 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
However, as the team prepares for more challenging opponents throughout the rest of the 2021 season, Doerue and Downing have large shoes to fill, and they'll need to continue making big plays for a balanced offensive attack.
"I'm just going to have to step up," Doerue said. "Zander going down was bad for the team, bad for us, but we just pray that he gets a healthy recovery. But we just have to step up, and I feel that we've prepared ourselves in practice for moments like this."
Purdue will go on the road for the second straight week, traveling to South Bend, Indiana, next Saturday for a matchup with Notre Dame.
Stories Related to Purdue Football
- PURDUE-UCONN GAME STORY: David Bell caught just six passes for Purdue in a shutout against UConn on Saturday, but he put up 121 yards and three touchdowns. Starting quarterback Jack Plummer completed 19 passes for 273 yards and four scores in just one half of play. CLICK HERE
- PURDUE-UCONN LIVE BLOG: The Purdue Boilermakers hit the road for the first time this season Saturday against the UConn Huskies at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut. CLICK HERE
- PURDUE FOOTBALL 2021 SCHEDULE: Purdue's 2021 college football schedule includes nine Big Ten games and three nonconference matchups. The team will travel to South Bend, Indiana, next week to play Notre Dame for the first time since 2014. CLICK HERE