October 20, 1998
Purdue Boilermakers (3-4, 1-2 Big Ten) vs. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-5, 1-3 Big Ten) Ross-Ade Stadium (67,332) - West Lafayette, Indiana - October 24, 1998 - 1 p.m. EST - Homecoming
PROJECTED ATTENDANCE: 55,000
RADIO: WAZY (96.5 FM) / Purdue Sports Radio Network - Joe McConnell (play-by-play), Pete Quinn (color commentary), Tim Newton (pregame/halftime/postgame)
A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The Purdue football team, under second-year head coach Joe Tiller, plays host to Illinois on Saturday Oct. 24 as part of Homecoming festivties. The Boilermakers are coming off a 31-13 loss at No. 12 Penn State on Oct. 17. Last season the Boilermakers enjoyed a storybook campaign by finishing 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the Big Ten for a second-place tie (with Ohio State and Penn State). Purdue defeated Oklahoma State in the Alamo Bowl 33-20 and was No. 15 in the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today national polls.
IOWA GAME TIME SET: Purdue's home game against Iowa on Oct. 31 will kickoff at 1 p.m. EST. There will be no live television.
HEAD COACH JOE TILLER: Joe Tiller is in his second season as Purdue's head coach with a 12-7 record (.632 winning percentage) and his eighth season as a collegiate head coach with a 51-37-1 record (.579). He is 25-9 in his last 34 games. Tiller won his 50th career game against Central Florida on Sept. 19, 1998. 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 championship game. 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 Illinois have met 77 times previously with the Fighting Illini holding a 39-32-6 advantage. Purdue has won the last two meetings, 22-16 in Urbana-Champaign on Oct. 1, 1994, and 48-3 in Urbana-Champaign on Oct. 25, 1997. The two teams last met in West Lafayette on Oct. 2, 1993, with Illinois recording a 28-10 victory. The Boilermakers' last win over the Illini at home was a 9-3 verdict Oct. 10, 1987. Illinois holds a 19-15-4 advanatge in games played in West Lafayette.
CANNON TROPHY: Since 1943 Purdue and Illinois have played for the Cannon Trophy, and that portion of the all-time series is tied 24-24-2. The cannon first was presented as a trophy by Illinois alumnus Quincy A. Hall after he confiscated it from a group of Purdue students who took it to Illinois in 1905 in anticipation of celebrating a victory by the Boilermakers. More information on the Cannon Trophy can be found on page 14 of the 1998 Purdue Football Yearbook.
QUICK STRIKES: The Boilermakers' 32 scoring drives this season (23 touchdowns and nine field goals) have amassed 96 minutes and 14 seconds. That's an average of 3:00 per scoring drive. Purdue's shortest scoring drive has been 34 seconds vs. Minnesota, while its longest has been 5:39 vs. Central Florida.
HOMECOMING: The Boilermakers own a 40-31-4 record in Homecoming games. They won last season's game over Wisconsin 45-20 on Oct. 18, 1997. Purdue has played Illinois for Homecoming on 15 occasions (second-most behind Wisconsin with 19) with a 7-7-1 record.
1998 CAPTAINS: Purdue's captains this season are senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin and senior wide receiver Isaac Jones. In addition, oneor more additional captains are selected for each game - USC (John Reeves), Rice (Jim Niedrach), Central Florida (Willie Fells and Lee Johnson), Notre Dame (Henry Bell and Chukky Okobi), Minnesota (David Cohen), Wisconsin (Drew Brees) and Penn State (Randall Lane).
GAME 7 RECAP (PENN STATE 31, PURDUE 13): It was Homecoming at Penn State, and the 12th-ranked Nittany Lions celebrated with a 31-13 win over Purdue in front of 97,034 fans and an ABC national television audience at Beaver Stadium on Nov. 17. The Boilermakers led 3-0 on a 32-yard field goal by freshman kicker Travis Dorsch, but Penn State answered with a pair of touchdowns for a 14-3 halftime advantage. Midway through the third quarter Purdue trimmed the deficit to 21-13, but the Boilermakers would get no closer. Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees completed 39 of 58 passes for 361 yards with one touchdown and one interception. It was the most completions ever against Penn State. Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones tied his career high with 10 receptions for 89 yards, while junior wide receiver Chris Daniels had seven catches for 72 yards and senior wide receiver Gabe Cox added six catches for 71 yards with a touchdown. Senior defensive end Chike Okeafor led the way with 10 tackles, including eight solos, and junior strong safety Adrian Beasley and senior free safety Billy Gustin had their first interceptions of the season. The Boilermakers blocked two Penn State field goal attempts (by senior Henry Bell and freshman Matt Mitrione). Dorsch added a 40-yard field goal.
NEW FACES: The Boilermakers have had 16 players make their first collegiate start this season (nine on offense and seven on defense), plus freshman kicker Travis Dorsch. In addition, senior defensive end Chike Okeafor has made his first start since the 1996 season (he did not play in 1997).
A STRONG BREES: Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees has completed 213 of 320 passes (66.6 percent) for 2,359 yards with 17 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. If the season ended today, he would establish a school season record for completion percentage (the current standard is .648, 242 of 368, by Mark Herrmann in 1980). Brees ranks eighth on the school season touchdowns list, 10th on the season passing yards list and 15th on the career passing yards list with 2,591 in 14 games.
HURRICANE DREW: Drew Brees set school records for yards passing (522), total offense (524) and touchdown passes (6) in just three quarters vs. Minnesota. The previous marks were 516 yards passing by Scott Campbell (vs. Ohio State on Oct. 31, 1981); 482 yards total offense by Jim Everett (at Ohio State on Oct. 19, 1985); and five touchdowns by Mike Phipps (vs. Stanford on Oct. 4, 1969), Mark Herrmann (vs. Iowa on Oct. 22, 1977) and Billy Dicken (at Minnesota on Oct. 11, 1997). Brees' passing yardage total was the third-highest in Big Ten history (behind 621 by Dave Wilson of Illinois at Ohio State on Nov. 8, 1980, and 558 by Chuck Hartlieb of Iowa at Indiana on Oct. 29, 1988), as was his total offense yardage (behind 585 by Wilson in the above game and 536 by Tim Schade of Minnesota at Penn State on Sept. 4, 1993). The Big Ten record for touchdown passes is seven by Hartlieb at Northwestern on Nov. 7, 1987. Three other players have thrown for six in conference games. Brees' passing efficiency rating of 262.91 was fifth in Big Ten games, while his completion percentage of .861 (31 of 36) was just short of the school record of .864 (19 of 22) by Bob Griese vs. Notre Dame on Sept. 25, 1965.
MORE BREES: Drew Brees set the NCAA Division I passing attempts record with 83 at Wisconsin. The previous mark was 79 by Matt Vogler of Texas Christian vs. Houston on Nov. 3, 1996. Brees tied the Division I record with 55 completions (also held by Rusty LaRue of Wake Forest vs. Duke on Oct. 28, 1995). Brees' 494 yards passing at Wisconsin were the fourth-most in school history and sixth-most in Big Ten history.
MANY HANDS MAKE LIGHT WORK: A total of 14 different players have caught passes this season. The breakdown by game - at USC (10), vs. Rice (8), vs. Central Florida (five), at Notre Dame (seven), vs. Minnesota (10), at Wisconsin (10) and at Penn State (eight).
YARDS, YARDS AND MORE YARDS: Purdue's 692 yards of total offense (604 passing and 88 rushing) vs. Minnesota ranks third in the Big Ten in conference games (behind 713 by Iowa vs. Northwestern on Oct. 8, 1983, and 698 by Michigan State at Purdue on Oct. 30, 1971) and ranks ninth in all games involving Big Ten teams (the record is 742 by Minnesota vs. Ohio on Sept. 11, 1982).
THE OFFENSE LIKES IKE: Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones ranks ninth on Purdue's career receptions list with 114. Next up is Cliff Benson (1980-83) with 117. Jones ranks 13th with 1,350 receiving yards. Next up is Ernest Calloway (1990-92) with 1,379.
FAST LANE AND DANDY DANIELS: Junior wide receiver Randall Lane set a Big Ten record with 18 receptions (for 178 yards) at Wisconsin. The previous mark was 17 (for 208 yards) by Jon Harvey of Northwestern vs. Michigan on Oct. 23, 1982. The Purdue record was 15 (for 190 yards) by Rodney Carter at Ohio State on Oct. 19, 1985. Also at Wisconsin junior wide receiver Chris Daniels caught 14 passes for 131 yards. It was the third-most in school history and tied for seventh in Big Ten history.
STRATTON AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS: Redshirt freshman tight end Tim Stratton is tied for fourth in the nation among players at his position with 16 receptions. He ranks ninth with 151 receiving yards. Louisville junior Ibn Green leads the way in both categories with 25 catches for 461 yards.
CRACKLIN' ROSEY: Neil Diamond sang the song, and senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin is making Purdue fans smile. He tops the team with 11 tackles for loss, nine quarterback sacks and two blocked field goals. His two blocks ties the school season record (also held by Kevin Holley in 1986, Steve Jackson in 1989, Kevin Strickland in 1989 and Jarrett Scales in 1990). Colvin has three career blocked field goals to share the school standard with Scales (1987-90). Colvin has 50 career tackles for loss to rank third on the school list.
THE BALL STOPS HERE: Junior linebacker Willie Fells was the Boilermakers' leading tackler last season with 131 stops (third in the Big Ten). He tops the team again this season with 66 tackles, including 44 solos. Fells has finished with double-figure stops in four games (13 at USC, 15 vs. Rice, 10 at Notre Dame and 11 at Wisconsin) and has 11 double-figure efforts during his career (eight in his last 12 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 the junior is handling all the punting chores, and he has a 42.1-yard average. He had a career-long 63-yarder at USC on Aug. 30, 1998, and equalled it vs. Central Florida on Sept. 19, 1998. Rogers ranks fifth on Purdue's career punting average list at 39.1 (106 punts for 4,148 yards). Of his 106 career punts, 30 have come to rest inside the 20-yard line (28 percent).
THREE FOR TRAVIS: Freshman kicker Travis Dorsch converted three field goals at Notre Dame (from 37, 40 and a career-high 47 yards). It marked the first time a Purdue kicker made good on three field goals since Brad Bobich vs. Penn State on Oct. 14, 1995 (from 37, 21 and 22 yards). Dorsch's 47-yard effort was the longest by a Purdue kicker since Larry Sullivan tied the school record with a 51-yarder at Minnesota on Oct. 7, 1989, and it is sixth-longest in school history (behind two from 51, one from 50 and two from 49). Dorsch also made three field goals at Wisconsin (from 45, 44 and 45 yards). The last Purdue kicker to hit three or more field goals from 40-plus yards in a game was Jonathan Briggs (from 47, 49, 44 and 47 yards) at Illinois on Oct. 11, 1986. For the season Dorsch is 9 of 11 on field goal attempts (81.8 percent), including 6 of 7 from 40-plus yards. He has made his last eight attempts.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: The combined record of the Boilermakers' first seven opponents currently stands at 31-12 (.721 winning percentage). The breakdown by foe: USC (5-2), Rice (2-4), Central Florida (5-1), Notre Dame (4-1), Minnesota (3-3), Wisconsin (7-0) and Penn State (5-1).
"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 other school.
This Date In Purdue Football History (October 24)
Oct. 24, 1953 - The Boilermakers, under seventh-year head coach Stuart Holcomb, upset No. 2-ranked Michigan State 6-0 before a crowd of 35,000 at Ross-Ade Stadium. It was one of only two wins by Purdue during the 1953 season and snapped a 28-game winning streak for the Spartans. Senior fullback Dan Pobojewski (age 24) scored the only touchdown. Ironically, Pobojewski transferred to Purdue from Michigan State because he could not make the Spartans' roster. The Boilermakers had five interceptions.
Oct. 24, 1981 - Sophomore quarterback Scott Campbell completed 17 of 23 passes for 237 yards with four touchdowns and on interceptions to pace Purdue to a 27-26 win over Michigan State in front of 69,877 fans at Ross-Ade Stadium. Senior flanker Steve Bryant had eight catches for 120 yards with three touchdowns. Defensively, sophomore linebacker Brock Spack totaled 17 tackles, including eight solo efforts.
Oct. 24, 1992 - Purdue upset 10th-ranked Iowa 27-16 before 70,397 spectators in Iowa City. Junior running back Arlee Conners rushed for 107 yards on 14 carries with one touchdown, while senior running back Earl Coleman and sophomore running back Galen Morrow also had scored touchdowns via the ground. Senior kicker Joe O'Leary was good on field goals from 25 and 40 yards.