Sept. 8, 1998
Purdue Boilermakers (0-1)
vs. Rice Owls (1-0)
Ross-Ade Stadium (67,332) - West Lafayette, Indiana
September 12, 1998 - 11:10 a.m. EST
PROJECTED ATTENDANCE: 50,000
RADIO: WAZY (96.5 FM) / Purdue Sports Radio Network -- Joe McConnell
(play-by-play), Pete Quinn (color commentary), Tim Newton
TELEVISION: ESPN - Dave Barnett (play-by-play), Bill Curry (color
commentary), Dave Ryan (sideline)
A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The Purdue football team, under
second-year head coach Joe Tiller, plays its first home game of the
1998 season against Rice in West Lafayette on Saturday, Sept. 12. The
Boilermakers rose the curtain on the campaign with a hard-fought
27-17 loss to USC at the ninth-annual Pigskin Classic in Los Angeles
on Aug. 30. Last season the Boilermakers enjoyed a storybook campaign
by finishing 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten Conference for a
second-place tie (with Ohio State and Penn State). Purdue defeated
Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl 33-20 and was ranked No. 15 in the
final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today national polls.
HEAD COACH JOE TILLER: Joe Tiller is in his second season as Purdue's
head coach with a 9-4 record (.692 winning percentage) and his eighth
season as a collegiate head coach with a 48-34-1 record (.584). He is
22-6 in his last 28 games. Tiller was named the Boilermakers' 33rd
head coach Nov. 22, 1996. He was the head coach at Wyoming from
1991-96 and compiled a 39-30-1 record. The Cowboys played in the 1993
Copper Bowl and reached the 1996 Western Athletic Conference
In 1997 Tiller was named National
Coach-of-the-Year by both Football News and Kickoff magazines, the
GTE Region 3 Coach-of-the-Year (Big Ten, Mid-American Conference and
Conference USA) by the American Football Coaches Association and the
Big Ten Dave McClain Coach-of-the-Year. He also was one of six
finalists for the Paul "Bear" Bryant National Coach-of-the-Year and a
finalist for National Coach-of-the-Year by The Sporting News. Tiller
was assistant head coach and defensive coordinator for the
Boilermakers from 1983-86.
HISTORY 101 -- ALL-TIME SERIES RECORD: Purdue and Rice have met twice
previously with both teams winning one game. The Owls won 14-0 in
West Lafayette on Oct. 6, 1934, while the Boilermakers won 24-0 in
Houston on Oct. 4, 1958. The Boilermakers have not previously played
a Western Athletic Conference school, but they are 4-1-1 record
against schools currently in the WAC (2-0 vs. Texas Christian, 1-0-1
vs. Southern Methodist and 1-1 vs. Rice when all were members of the
Southwest Conference). Purdue has a 6-3-1 record against schools from
the state of Texas (2-0 vs. TCU, 1-0 vs. Baylor, 1-0 vs. Texas A&M,
1-0-1 vs. SMU, 1-1 vs. Rice and 0-2 vs. Texas).
A STRONG BREES: The temperature was 99 degrees (118 on the field) in
Purdue's season opener at USC on Aug. 31, but a strong brees (as in
quarterback Drew Brees) was blowing, as well. The sophomore from
Austin, Texas, made his first collegiate start and completed 30 of 52
passes for 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He
was named the Purdue Player-of-the-Game by ABC Sports, the Pigskin
Classic Most Valuable Player by NACDA and the Big Ten Offensive
Player-of-the-Week. As a freshman in 1997 Brees completed 19 of 43
passes for 232 yards with one interception and no touchdowns. At
Westlake High School, Brees led his teams to a 28-0-1 record as a
1998 CAPTAINS: Purdue's captains this season are senior defensive end
Rosevelt Colvin (left) and senior wide receiver Isaac Jones. In
addition, one additional captain will be selected for each game - USC
GAME 1 RECAP (USC 27, PURDUE 17): USC scored 20 unanswered points to
come from behind and defeat the Boilermakers 27-17 in the
ninth-annual Pigskin Classic in front of 56,623 fans and an ABC
Sports national television audience at the Memorial Coliseum in Los
Angeles on a 99-degree (118 on the field) Aug. 30.
Purdue built a
17-7 lead on the strength of two touchdown passes from Drew Brees,
three yards to Gabe Cox and nine yards to Cliff Jackson, and a
37-yard field goal by Travis Dorsch. But the Trojans, under
first-year head coach Paul Hackett, trimmed the deficit to 17-10 at
halftime and outscored the Boilermakers 17-0 in the second half.
Brees, making his first collegiate start, completed 30 of 52 passes
for 248 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
equalled his career high of 10 receptions for a career-best 119
yards. J. Crabtree led the rushing attack with 12 carries for 49
yards. Willie Fells topped the team with 13 tackles, while Michael
Hawthorne picked off his third career interception and broke up two
passes. Danny Rogers punted five times for a 44.2-yard average,
including a career-long 63-yarder. It marked the earliest season
opener for Purdue in school history (previously Aug. 31 twice) and
the first time the Boilermakers played on Sunday.
NEW FACES: Against USC, the Boilermakers had 10 players make their
first collegiate start (seven on offense and three on defense), plus
freshman kicker Travis Dorsch. In addition, defensive end Chike
Okeafor made his first start since the 1996 season (he did not play
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK: A whopping 10 different players caught
passes from quarterback Drew Brees against USC (Isaac Jones 10, Vinny
Sutherland 4, Gabe Cox 3, Chris Daniels 3, A.T. Simpson 3, Chris
Clopton 2, J. Crabtree 2, Cliff Jackson 1, Randall Lane 1 and Tim
Stratton 1). Brees hooked up with seven different receivers in the
first quarter alone. Last season the greatest number of different
players to catch passes in a single game was eight on four occasions
(vs. Wisconsin, vs. Penn State, at Indiana and vs. Oklahoma State).
THE OFFENSE LIKES IKE: Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones equalled his
career high of 10 receptions for a career-best 119 yards at USC. He
also caught 10 passes for 106 yards against vs. Penn State on Nov.
15, 1997. Jones has 81 career receptions and needs 29 to move into
10th place on Purdue's career list (Steve Bryant, 1980-81, 110).
THE BALL STOPS HERE: Junior linebacker Willie Fells was the
Boilermakers' leading tackler last season with 131 stops (third in
the Big Ten) en route to being named honorable mention
all-conference. He picked up right where he left off this year at
USC, pacing Purdue with 13 tackles, including 11 solos, for the
eighth double-figure effort of his career (fifth in his last six
games, dating to 1997). His career high is 20 tackles (15 solos) at
Iowa on Nov. 1, 1997.
FROM "POOCH" TO "POP": In 1997 Danny Rogers was Purdue's "pooch
punter" who specialized in directional punting deep inside opponents'
territory (six of his 23 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line).
This season Rogers is handling all the punting chores, and he had
five boots for a 44.2-yard average, including a career-long
63-yarder, at USC. Rogers ranks fifth on Purdue's career punting
average list at 38.5 (84 punts for 3,233 yards). Of his 84 career
punts, 23 have come to rest inside the 20-yard line (27 percent).
DUH-DUH-DUH ... DUH-DUH-DUH (an attempt at the ESPN theme music):
From 1985-96 the Boilermakers posted a 1-12 record in games televised
by ESPN, with the only win a 27-10 verdict over Miami (Ohio) on Sept.
9, 1989. Last season Purdue was 2-1 on ESPN, defeating Northwestern
21-9 on Sept. 27 and Oklahoma State 33-20 in the Alamo Bowl on Dec.
30, while losing to Penn State 42-17 on Nov. 15.
A LOOK BACK AT A GREAT SEASON: In 1997 Purdue posted its first
on-the-field winning season since the 1984 Boilermakers finished with
a 7-5 record. (The 1994 team was awarded a forfeit victory over
Michigan State to improve its record to 5-4-2.) Also last season the
Boilermakers earned their first bowl berth since 1984 (Peach Bowl,
27-24 loss to Virginia) and were nationally ranked for the first time
since 1984. Purdue's final ranking of No. 15 was its highest since
UPSIDE DOWN, TURNAROUND: The Boilermakers' 9-3 record a year ago
(after going 3-8 in 1996) marked the second-best turnaround in the
nation behind only Western Michigan (2-9 to 8-3) and coach Gary
Darnell. Additionally, it was the second-greatest turnaround in
school history behind the 1943 team that went 9-0 under coach Elmer
Burnham (right) one year after the 1942 squad finished 1-8 under
TROPHY TRIUMVIRATE: In 1997 the Boilermakers claimed victories in all
of their traveling trophy games for the first time since the 1985
season. They defeated Notre Dame 28-17 for the Shillelagh, Illinois
48-3 for the Cannon and Indiana 56-7 for the Old Oaken Bucket. Purdue
outscored its three rivals by a combined score of 132-27.
HIGH-OCTANE OFFENSE: Scribes and broadcasters were sent scrambling to
their dictionaries and thesauruses to come up with words to describe
the Purdue offense last season. When all the numbers were finally
calculated the Boilermakers set school records with 396 points (33.0
per game) and 5,510 total yards (459.2 per game). The previous
standards were 354 points in 10 games in 1969 (35.4 per game) and
5,269 total yards in 12 games in 1980 (439.1 per game). Purdue paced
the Big Ten in passing yards (285.2 per game) and total offense and
ranked seventh in the nation in total offense, 13th in passing and
22nd in scoring.
DRIVING MISS DAISY MR. TILLER: With apologies to Morgan Freeman and
Jessica Tandy, the Boilermakers had six scoring drives of 90-plus
yards and 14 scoring drives of 80-plus yards last season.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: Purdue outscored its opponents by a
107-48 margin during the first quarter a year ago. The Boilermakers'
most-productive quarter was the second (112).
DON'T FORGET THE DEFENSE: With all the hype about the Boilermakers'
offense last season, it was easy to overlook a rather stingy defense.
Purdue surrendered just 22.3 points per game to rank 46th in the
nation. The last time the Boilermakers allowed fewer than 22 points
was during the 1981 season (21.9).
PURDUE TAKETH AWAY: The Boilermakers led the Big Ten and ranked ninth
nationally with a school-record +14 turnover margin last season. The
previous standard was +11 in 1959. The Boilermakers finished with 12
fumble recoveries and 23 interceptions (second-highest total in
school history behind the 27 in 1969). Purdue lost the turnover
battle in only two games (2-1 at Toledo and 3-1 vs. Penn State).
TAKE HOME A SACK: The 1997 Boilermakers amassed 35 quarterback sacks
(for -223 yards). The school record is 38 sacks by the 1989 squad.
Junior right end Rosevelt Colvin led the way with 12.5 sacks (for -77
yards) to rank fourth in the Big Ten.
"QB" SCHOOL: Purdue has the reputation as one of the nation's premier
quarterback schools. Previous signal-callers include Len Dawson
(1954-56), Bob Griese (1964-66 - pictured at left), Mike Phipps
(1967-69), Gary Danielson (1970-72), Mark Herrmann (1977-80), Scott
Campbell (1980-83) and Jim Everett (1982-85). Dawson led the Kansas
City Chiefs to a victory in Super Bowl IV and Griese won two Super
Bowls with the Miami Dolphins (VII and VIII).
According to research
by Sports Illustrated, Purdue ranks fifth all-time among schools
whose QB alums have thrown more than 10,000 passes in the NFL. The
list includes Brigham Young (81.6 rating), Miami (77.3), Washington
(76.9), Oregon (75.1) and Purdue (74.5). In addition, Purdue
quarterbacks have thrown more NFL touchdown passes than QB's from any
This Date In Purdue Football History
Sept. 12, 1981 - Junior tailback Jimmy Smith stole the show as the
Boilermakers, under fifth-year head coach Jim Young, opened the
season with a 27-19 win over Stanford in front of 69,958 fans and an
ABC national television audience at Ross-Ade Stadium. Smith returned
a first-quarter kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown (tying a school
record) and also rushed for two scores. He carried the ball 27 times
for 91 yards. Stanford quarterback John Elway completed 33 of 44
passes for 418 yards.
Sept. 12, 1992 - Second-year head coach Jim Colletto and the
Boilermakers rolled to a 41-14 victory over 17th-ranked California
before a crowd of 44,838 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Purdue scored on all
six of its first-half possessions en route to a 38-3 halftime
advantage. Junior tailback Jeff Hill rushed 21 times for 106 yards
and a touchdown and also caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from
sophomore quarterback Matt Pike. Hill was named the Big Ten Offensive
Player-of-the-Week. Senior linebacker Eric Beatty was named the Big
Ten and Sports Illustrated Defensive Player-of-the-Week after
recording 20 tackles, including 16 solos, and recovering a fumble. It
marked Purdue's first win over a Pac-10 team since the Sept. 12,
1981, verdict over Stanford.
Purdue Football Tentative Depth Chart For Rice
WR: 6 Isaac Jones, Sr., 6-0, 192, Wallingford, Pa.
14 Vinny Sutherland, So., 5-10, 188, West Palm Beach, Fla.
WR: 8 Gabe Cox, Sr., 5-10, 190, Tucson, Ariz.
20 Chris Daniels, Jr., 6-3, 202, Clearwater, Fla.
TE: 81 Chris Randolph, R-Fr., 6-5, 252, Memphis, Tenn.
89 Tim Stratton, R-Fr., 6-4, 234, Oak Brook, Ill.
LT: 78 Matt Light, So., 6-4, 283, Greenville, Ohio
55 Ian Allen, So., 6-4, 279, Fairburn, Ga.
LG: 73 David Cohen, Jr., 6-4, 299, Ballwin, Mo.
75 Aaron Starnes, Jr., 6-3, 289, Shawnee, Kan.
C: 63 Jim Niedrach, Jr., 6-3, 282, LaGrange, Ga.
72 Josh Kirkpatrick, R-Fr., 6-1, 268, Veedersburg, Ind.
RG: 56 Chukky Okobi, So., 6-2, 313, Hamden, Conn.
65 Pete VanderWeele, Sr., 6-5, 304, Fort Wayne, Ind.
RT: 77 Brandon Gorin, So., 6-6, 285, Muncie, Ind.
68 Kelly Kitchel, Fr., 6-6, 280, Walton, Ind.
WR: 84 Randall Lane, Jr., 6-1, 205, Chicago, Ill.
25 Cliff Jackson, Jr., 5-10, 178, Chico, Calif.
QB: 15 Drew Brees, So., 6-1, 212, Austin, Texas
10 David Edgerton, So., 6-2, 213, Liberty, Mo.
RB: 34 J. Crabtree, Jr., 5-9, 201, Wichita, Kan.
24 Dondre Johnson, R-Fr., 6-0, 213, Kokomo, Ind.
2 Chris Clopton, So., 5-7, 159, Lynwood, Ill.
16 Eric Haddad, Sr., 6-1, 235, Westlake, Ohio
LE: 54 Chike Okeafor, Sr., 6-5, 248, West Lafayette, Ind.
87 Rocco Foggio, So., 6-4, 276, Farmington, Mich.
LT: 42 Brent Botts, So., 6-3, 264, Cincinnati, Ohio
98 Matt Mitrione, R-Fr., 6-3, 286, Springfield, Ill.
RT: 82 David Nugent, Jr., 6-5, 291, Collierville, Tenn.
90 Derrick Williams, Jr., 6-4, 297, Houston, Texas
RE: 59 Rosevelt Colvin, Sr., 6-3, 248, Indianapolis, Ind.
58 Warren Moore, So., 6-2, 263, Memphis, Tenn.
WLB: 35 Lee Johnson, Sr., 6-0, 230, Palatka, Fla.
23 Willie Burroughs, Sr., 5-11, 225, Punta Gorda, Fla.
MLB: 40 Willie Fells, Jr., 6-1, 225, Palatka, Fla.
88 Jason Loerzel, R-Fr., 6-3, 212, Park Ridge, Ill.
SLB: 4 Mike Rose, Jr., 6-1, 238, Dayton, Ohio
3 John Reeves, Sr., 6-4, 227, Bradenton, Fla.
LCB: 11 Michael Hawthorne, Jr., 6-3, 195, Sarasota, Fla.
27 Henry Bell, Sr., 5-11, 180, Los Angeles, Calif.
FS: 5 Billy Gustin, Sr., 6-2, 196, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
22 Lamar Conard, Jr., 5-10, 200, Elkhart, Ind.
SS: 7 Adrian Beasley, Jr., 6-0, 194, Atlanta, Ga.
37 Todd Stelma, Sr., 5-11, 192, Goshen, Ind.
RCB: 33 Da'Shann Austin, Jr., 5-10, 179, Liberty, Mo.
22 Lamar Conard, Jr., 5-10, 200, Elkhart, Ind.
Punter: 26 Danny Rogers, Jr., 5-10, 205, Sanibel, Fla.
2 Scott Kurz, R-Fr., 6-1, 187, Bloomington, Ill.
Field Goal, 30 Travis Dorsch, Fr., 6-6, 192, Bozeman, Mont.
PAT Kicks: 2 Scott Kurz, R-Fr., 6-1, 187, Bloomington, Ill.
Long Snapper: 60 Andy Standifer, So., 6-1, 207, North Judson, Ind.
Holder: 26 Danny Rogers, Jr., 5-10, 205, Sanibel, Fla.
Punt Returns: 33 Da'Shann Austin, Jr., 5-10, 179, Liberty, Mo.
Kickoff Returns: 2 Chris Clopton, So., 5-7, 159, Lynwood, Ill.
84 Randall Lane, Jr., 6-1, 205, Chicago, Ill.