My 17 Favorite Images From the 2017 Purdue Football Season

Today Purdue is going to do something that not many gave them a chance to do when the season started. They are going to play in their bowl game at the home of the San Francisco 49ers. I will even admit that after the last few years I have been conditioned to fear the worst when the season started. I was just hoping to see progress and a fun team to watch. From the get go at Lucas Oil Stadium this team showed that it would be an exciting team, and that they have a bright future ahead. This year more than ever I felt distanced from the team. I was out of town many times when they were playing. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t enjoy photographing a game in Ross Ade Stadium. I remember one game day waking up to the sound of a train in Virginia. My first thought was that it was game day. Next year hopefully the schedule works out so that I can photograph the Boilers a few more times. Before I can do that here are my seventeen favorite photos from this season.

17. Back during the spring game you knew that the season would rest on these two arms. You didn’t know who the starter would be, but you knew it would be a good player. Back during that spring game you just hoped to see some signs that things could turn around. It is really hard to come away with anything though as the games are usually very vanilla and against players everyone knows so well by that point. I like to look at those photos now though through the filter of knowing how the season played out. It is fun to see the people that stepped up to make the season the success that it was.

16. I have shot the run out of the team many ways in the past. So have many other photographers. I think that it is hard to shoot from a new angle anymore. Here I played around with using my wide angle to make the smoke look cool, and I kind of like how it turned out. In the process of using the wide angle though I saw great potential if only I had used a telephoto lens. I have one more thing to try next season.

15. DJ. Knox is fun to photograph. When he was just coming in to the program I had a lot of fun photographing him during the media day. He was cutting everyone up and making my job easy. Here he flexes during warm ups before the IU game. This was just a fleeting moment, but for some reason I was there to capture it.

14. Richard Worship will make a couple more appearances on this countdown. Here he makes his first as he scores in Lucas Oil Stadium to start the season. I love the expression and the gestures all around here. Shooting that game in Lucas Oil was great fun. 

13. I feel bad that I don’t have more defensive photos on the countdown. This defense is a huge reason why the team will be playing in a  bowl game today. You could see that back in September when the team opened up in Indy. Here they swarm tackle a Louisville player.

12. This could be titled why I get to games early. I sadly don’t know who either of these two players are, but I love the moment. This is way before the game would start, and it shows a little of the love that the players have for each other. Just a great moment that I was glad I was there to capture.

11. Here is one great moment from the Indiana game. Anthony Mahoungou makes a nice catch after the ball just went past the Indiana defender. He would run down the sidelines to score, but I liked this moment in time the best from that. Mahoungou was a huge reason the Boilers are bowling this year after having two great games to clinch the berth.

10. One goal every year for Purdue football has to be to win the Old Oaken Bucket. The last time Purdue won it I came down from the stands to photograph the celebration. This was my first time on the field to photograph it. Of course I got sidetracked with a photo that will show up at #1 so I did not have a good position to photograph it. I still like the photo and the moment though. A word of advice to sports photographers though. Don’t ever get in between a trophy and the offensive line. They don’t see you down where you are, and can move right through you.

9. For some reason Kirk Barron always ends up in my year end countdown. He just looks like a football player on the field, and that translates to great photos. I love this shot of him before the game looking ready for battle. These are the little moments that make getting to games early very fun.

8. Early in the Indiana game I lucked out by moving to the far side. The play came right at me as well as the celebration. It was not the most fun shooting backlit at the time, but the sun did add to some photos. Here is another sense of place photo that I really like.

7. Most of my photos of Richie Worship are of him running someone over, or just before or after he has done that. Here against Nebraska he decided to go over someone. When you are a big load to bring down people will naturally go low to try and stop you. It is fun to watch players adjust, and here Worship shows that he has done just that.

6. I love this moment. The ball hits three hands at once. Because it is a still image it is up to you to decide what happened next. I know what happened but I will leave it up to you to decide who caught the ball if anyone did.

5. Whenever I visit a new stadium I usually go up high and make a photo of it. I photograph the outside and other angles as well, but this is usually my ‘here I am’ photo. At Lucas Oil it was special because of the way that the stadium was laid out. My friend Tom and I made a few photos from different angles before coming to the one we knew was the best angle. I wanted the field to have a few less people on it so it was worth the wait. This will show up again I am sure on the year end stadium countdown.

4. This is one of those moments when it is okay to chimp right after the play. With time winding down in the half I thought that Purdue might try for some kind of a Hail Mary play. I quickly ran to the side of the field to try and get a good angle on the action. Of course the pass was dumped off to the running back who had a little room to run. As the defender came up to tackle him DJ Knox went airborne to try and keep the play alive. As soon as he was down the half was over so I quickly checked to see if I had the shot. I did!

3. This is one of those moments in a game when it really starts to become fun. Jackson Anthrop scored a touchdown to put Purdue up seven against Louisville in the home opener. Before the game nobody gave Purdue a chance. Here they score off the bat to give us a glimpse of just what the season could be. I love the sense of place in this photo, and it could easily be number one on the countdown as well. I knew I had a special photo from the moment I made this one. I had no idea of the special season ahead for Purdue.

2. This would probably have been number one in any other year. I love the show of strength here by Richie Worship after scoring a touchdown. Worship is a fun player to photograph as he tends to give you a lot to work with. This moment did not last long as he was mobbed by teammates, but it was fun while it lasted.

  1. This is what sports photography is all about. Finding the moment of elation. It is what keeps me going. This countdown has some action in it, but the moments that I like the best are the moments in between the action. Here is one that is hard to beat for me. During a football game you rarely see the players without their helmets on. To get a jube shot after the game like this where you can clearly see the face is great. The emotion of winning the bucket and heading to a bowl was high for everyone.

After a fun season there is only one game left. I want more than anything to see Purdue come away with the win. I also know that no matter what this team has been fun to watch this year. They already won the Cannon and the Bucket so why not add a bowl trophy to the collection? I will be on the road tonight when the bowl is played, but I will be rooting the Boilers on from afar.

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About Pinola Photo

I am a sports and lifestyle photographer based in West Lafayette, IN home of Purdue University. I cover sports for Big Ten teams as well as other colleges. You can follow me on twitter @pinolaphoto. You can also view my website at www.davewegielphoto.net

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