Rondale Moore

Purdue / WR

Tim May
tmay@dispatch.com
[Michael Conroy/The Associated Press]

The college football world has discovered Rondale Moore.

But then, how could you miss him? The freshman receiver and returner has provided lightning to Purdue coach Jeff Brohm’s intermittent thunderstorm of an offense.

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That has helped some think that the Boilermakers might be able to pull an upset special Saturday night against No. 2 Ohio State. It’s no secret the Buckeyes have been susceptible to giving up the big play.

Now turn on the Moore highlights. They all seem to be big plays.

“His change of direction is really good, his top-end speed is really good, too,” Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller said after perusing Purdue scouting reports and video. “We’ve definitely got to keep him in our sights at all times.”

That has been the credo of defenses since Moore, from Trinity High School in Louisville, made his Boilermakers debut in a close loss to Northwestern. He set a Purdue record for all-purpose yards with 313 (79 on two runs, including a touchdown; 109 on 11 catches, including a TD; 125 on five kick returns).

In combination with quarterback David Blough the past three games — wins over Boston College, Nebraska and Illinois — Moore combined to make 20 catches for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and not just on downfield heaves. His 7-yard TD play against Illinois came on a 2-foot shovel pass in the backfield from Blough.

He has shown why schools the across the country, including Ohio State and Alabama, were in the chase for him. He committed to Texas last summer but changed his mind and became one of the great gets in Brohm’s rebuilding project at Purdue.

What Moore brings to the offense more than anything is the threat of a sudden touchdown or big gain. And what has the Buckeyes defense struggled with containing this season? That question, of course, was rhetorical. But if they don’t contain Moore, the consequences could be historical, for all the wrong reasons.

“You have to trust your techniques and trust the defense that we’re in, what the coaches call,” Fuller said.

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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