By NANCY ARMOUR
AP Sports Writer
EVANSTON, Ill. - Purdue and the Big Ten may as well just give Drew
Brees their record books now.
Brees threw for six touchdowns Saturday, setting a new Big Ten single-season
record and tying his own single-game school mark, in Purdue's 56-21 rout of
Northwestern. The sophomore now has 30 TD passes this season, breaking the
previous mark of 29 set by Bobby Hoying in 1995.
Brees also threw for six scores in Purdue's Oct. 3 victory over Minnesota.
It was the first road win this season for the Boilermakers (6-4, 4-2 Big
Ten), and the seventh straight loss for the Wildcats (2-8, 0-7). Northwestern
fans were streaming out of the stands midway through the fourth quarter.
The game wasn't even as close as it ended up. Northwestern bumbled its way
through the first three quarters before Gavin Hoffman connected with D'Wayne
Bates and Jay Tant for scores in the fourth.
Bates finished with six catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns. That gives
him 24 career TDs, a new Northwestern record. The senior, who missed almost all
of last season with a broken leg, also tied the school record for career
catches (197). He moved into third place on the all-time Big Ten list with
3,097 yards receiving.
But the game belonged to Brees. Northwestern coach Gary Barnett said earlier
this week that Brees was the best quarterback in the Big Ten, and he spent the
day proving Barnett right.
He was relaxed and poised as he worked out of the shotgun, throwing bullets
on each pass. With great protection from his offensive line, he had plenty of
time to throw and rarely had to scramble. He ran just once, gaining eight yards
on the play.
He finished 24-of-42 for 338 yards, and was intercepted twice. Hoffman was
16-of-29 for 204 yards and three touchdowns.
On Purdue's first series, Brees moved the Boilermakers 66 yards in 10 plays,
capping the drive with a 7-yard pass to Chris Daniels. It was the seventh time
in 10 games that Purdue scored on its first drive.
Northwestern gave the Boilermakers their next score. Todd Stelma came around
the left side untouched to block J.J. Standring's punt, and Northwestern's Mike
Nelson recovered it and was tackled at his own 11-yard line. Three plays later,
Brees lobbed an 8-yard pass to Tim Stratton, who was sitting in the back of the
end zone, completely uncovered.
The 2-point conversion attempt failed, giving Purdue a 13-0 lead with 6:26
left in the first quarter.
Brees might have saved his best touchdown for last. On second-and-18 on his
own 30, he heaved a 70-yard pass to Randall Lane, who scampered untouched up
the left sideline. It was Brees' longest throw of the year, and it gave Purdue
a 49-14 lead with 13:17 left in the game.
Brees also threw TD passes of 3, 7 and 35 yards. Eric Haddad added the final
score after backup quarterback David Edgerton fumbled at the 1-yard line and
Haddad recovered in the end zone.
Brees wasn't the only Boilermaker putting on a show. With about a minute
left in the first quarter, defensive end Rosevelt Colvin scooped up Damien
Anderson's fumble at the Northwestern 23 and rumbled for the end zone. He belly
flopped over the goal line for the score, his second career touchdown.
Brees' pass to Randall Lane was good, and Purdue led 21-7.
Colvin padded his career list on the next series with his first-ever
interception. He also had two tackles for losses, including a sack.