Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell is away from the team and with family in Illinois after his older brother, Sean, died late last week.
The Boilermakers believe O’Connell will rejoin the team in time to play in Saturday’s Big Ten title game against Michigan in Indianapolis.
O’Connell completed 18 of 29 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns in this past Saturday’s 30-16 win over Indiana in Bloomington to help clinch the Big Ten West division title.
He was seen crying into a towel in the final minutes of the game and didn’t speak to reporters afterward.
But Sunday, he released a statement through the Purdue football Twitter account to announce the death of his brother. The cause of death wasn’t revealed.
“My family and I would like to express our gratitude for the love and support we have received over the past few days,” O’Connell said in the statement. “We are deeply saddened to share of the passing of my oldest brother, Sean.
“Sean was not only one of Purdue football’s biggest fans, but he was a better son, brother and friend. He lit up any room he walked in and all that knew him testify to his contagious joy.”
Boilermakers coach Jeff Brohm remains amazed over O’Connell’s efforts and leadership on Saturday.
“He played his heart out for his teammates and gave us a great effort,” Brohm said Monday of the performance. “Of course, he’s got things he has to deal with this week, but we’ll be there to support him and whenever we get him back to work, we look forward to that.”
Purdue (8-4, 6-3 Big Ten) has received solid play from O’Connell, who has passed for 3,124 yards, 22 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.
Overall, he has passed for 8,853 yards, 65 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in his career. The yardage ranks sixth in Purdue history and the touchdowns passes are fifth, but he stands just six scoring tosses shy of second-place Mark Herrmann (1977-80).
His career completion rate of 66.6 percent ranks first in program history.
–Field Level Media
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