UNIVERSITY PARK, Texas — Akeem Shavers can't earn a commission from Purdue's ticket office.
A thank you card might be in order, though.
“I know Purdue made a pretty penny off my family and friends,” he said, laughing.
That's because Purdue's leading rusher came home to play his final college game. He is from Texarkana, Texas, and finishing his senior season Tuesday in the Heart of Dallas Bowl provided a unique opportunity.
It's not often that a player who chooses a school in another part of the country gets to finish his career back in his home state.
Shavers and the Boilermakers knew there was a good chance their bowl would take them south. Texas, Florida and Arizona were among the likely landing spots. But when Shavers saw Purdue's name pop up with the Heart of Dallas Bowl during ESPN's selection show, he couldn't believe his luck.
“I can't explain how good it feels to be back in Texas for my last game,” he said. “You really want to set it up to end this way. It just worked out.”
Shavers had a hand in making it so.
Purdue had to win its last three games to get bowl eligible, and in beating Iowa, Illinois and Indiana, Shavers had three of his best games of the season. He averaged just under a hundred yards a game and scored a touchdown in each contest.
That upped his season totals to 778 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
Now, he has a chance to continue that roll on home soil.
“If he keeps playing the way he's been playing,” Purdue quarterback Robert Marve said, “it'll be a good show for everybody.”
And there'll be plenty of Shavers' family and friends there to see it. He was able to get Heart of Dallas Bowl tickets for about 20 people — he'll provide for family as well as a few high school and junior college friends — but he didn't come close to filling the requests that he received.
“Man, I don't have any more tickets,” he told people who kept calling him. “I don't know what to do.”
He did the only thing he could — point them in the direction of the Purdue ticket office.
Shavers is happy to have the ticket hassle. It means he's playing back home in the Lone Star State.
“To me,” he said, “there's nothing more I could ask for.”