Sept. 12, 1998
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Rice won the statistical battle, but Purdue won the game.
Drew Brees passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns as the Boilermakers held off the Owls 21-19 Saturday.
Rice pulled within two points on Chad Richardson's 23-yard TD pass to Jason Blackwell with 3:58 left, but the Owls failed on the 2-point conversion when Michael Hawthorne broke up the pass.
Purdue (1-1) then ran out the clock, moving from its 20-yard line to the Rice 19 as time ran out.
Rice (1-1) lost despite outrushing Purdue 321 yards to 82 yards and controlling the ball twice as long as the Boilermakers.
The Boilermakers had the ball less than nine minutes in the first half while opening a 14-3 lead. Rice piled up 294 yards in the opening half, and its 182 yards rushing was more than Purdue's total offense of 157 yards at the break.
After stopping the Owls on three running plays to start the game, Purdue took the punt and moved 59 yards for a touchdown on Brees' 3-yard run. Brees completed passes to Tim Stratton, Isaac Jones and Randall Lane for 52 yards on the drive.
Late in the quarter, Rice marched from its 13 to the Purdue 2, with all of the yardage coming on 11 running plays. On the 12th play, quarterback Jeremy Bates went into the end zone from the 2-yard line on fourth down. But the play was nullified by a penalty for an illegal shift, and Rice settled for a 24-yard field goal by Scott Grimes.
Grimes later had a 43-yard field goal attempt blocked by Rosevelt Colvin and the Boilermakers took over on their 26-yard line. Brees, making his first start ever at Ross-Ade Stadium, moved the Boilermakers 74 yards in 11 plays, including a touchdown pass to Gabe Cox, who outleaped two defenders in the end zone.
Brees was 5-of-7 on the drive for 59 yards.
Rice's hopes for a comeback suffered a severe blow late in the second quarter when Bates tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee attempting a pass. Richardson took over and the Owls continued to run. He became the game's leading rusher with 102 yards on 22 carries.
Rice cut its deficit to 14-10 as it moved 63 yards in 12 plays to score on a 1-yard run by Clint Leschber. The only completion of the drive was a 10-yarder to Blackwell on a fourth-and-6 play from the Purdue 24.
Purdue responded as Brees completed all four of his passes, including a 9-yarder to Lane for a TD to cap a 69-yard, five-play drive. Lane had a 37-yard reception that was Purdue's longest gain of the day on the drive.
Grimes added a 36-yard field goal with 7:18 to play after Richardson was
stopped two yards short of a first down on a third-and-6 play, and the Owls got
the ball back quickly on a mishandled lateral.