Boilermakers Begin Preparations for Kansas State

December 7, 1998

Purdue Boilermakers (8-4) vs. #4 Kansas St. Wildcats (11-1)
Alamo Bowl - The Alamodome (65,000) - San Antonio, Texas
December 29, 1998 - 7:30 p.m. CST/8:30 p.m. EST

A LOOK AT THE BOILERMAKERS: The Purdue football team, under second-year head coach Joe Tiller, will take on No. 4 Kansas State in the sixth-annual Builders Square Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, on Tuesday, Dec. 29. It marks the Boilermakers' second straight appearance in the Alamo Bowl (defeated Oklahoma State 33-20 in 1997). The Boilermakers are 8-4 overall and went 6-2 in the Big Ten Conference for second place (one game behind tri-champions Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin). Purdue capped the regular season with a convincing 52-7 win over intrastate rival Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket game at home Nov. 21. It was the Boilermakers' fifth consecutive victory (by a margin of 211-75). 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 was No. 15 in the final Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today national polls.

RADIO: WAZY (96.5 FM) / Purdue Sports Radio Network - Joe McConnell (play-by-play), Pete Quinn (color commentary), Tim Newton (pregame/halftime/postgame); NCAA Football Radio Network - Chuck Cooperstein (play-by-play), Jim Wacker (color commentary)

TELEVISION: ESPN - Ron Franklin (play-by-play), Mike Gottfried (color commentary), Adrian Karsten (sideline)

HEAD COACH JOE TILLER: Joe Tiller is in his second season as Purdue's head coach with a 17-7 record (.708 winning percentage) and his eighth season as a collegiate head coach with a 56-37-1 record (.601). He is 30-9 in his last 39 games. Tiller's 17 victories at Purdue are the most by a Purdue coach in his first two seasons. Tiller won his 50th career game against Central Florida on Sept. 19, 1998. Tiller was named Purdue's 33rd head coach Nov. 22, 1996. He was the head coach at Wyoming from 1991-96 and compiled a 39-30-1 record. 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 Kansas State have met twice previously with the Boilermakers winning both games, 26-14 in West Lafayette on Oct. 5, 1929, and 29-13 in West Lafayette on Oct. 1, 1932. Purdue is 13-4 against schools currently in the Big 12 Conference (1-0 vs. Baylor, 1-0 vs. Iowa State, 6-2 vs. Missouri, 1-0 vs. Nebraska, 1-0 vs. Oklahoma State, 0-2 vs. Texas and 1-0 vs. Texas A&M).

SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS: The 1997 and 1998 Boilermakers are the first Purdue teams to post back-to-back winning seasons and qualify for bowl games since the 1979 (10-2, Bluebonnet) and 1980 (9-3, Liberty) squads under head coach Jim Young.

QUICK STARTS ... : Purdue has scored on its first possession in seven of 12 games (at USC, vs. Rice, at Notre Dame, vs. Minnesota, vs. Illinois, vs. Iowa and at Northwestern). On the 12 opening drives, quarterback Drew Brees has completed 37 of 51 passes (72.5 percent) for 470 yards with five touchdowns passing, one touchdown rushing and two interceptions.

... AND QUICK STRIKES: The Boilermakers' 63 scoring drives this season (50 touchdowns and 13 field goals) have amassed 182 minutes and 45 seconds. That's an average of 2:54 per scoring drive. Purdue's shortest scoring drive has been five seconds vs. Indiana, while its longest has been 6:52 vs. Iowa.

1998 CAPTAINS: Purdue's captains this season are senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin and senior wide receiver Isaac Jones. In addition, one or 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), Penn State (Randall Lane), Illinois (Brees and Reeves), Iowa (Matt Light and David Nugent), Northwestern (Bell and Billy Gustin), Michigan State (Todd Stelma) and Indiana (Eric Haddad and Chike Okeafor).

GAME 12 (PURDUE 52, INDIANA 7): The Boilermakers made certain the Old Oaken Bucket stayed put with a resounding 52-7 victory over intrastate rival Indiana before 68,512 fans (the largest crowd for a Big Ten home game since 69,748 against Indiana on Nov. 22, 1986) at Ross-Ade Stadium on Nov. 21. Purdue scored 52 straight points after the Hoosiers grabbed an early 7-0 lead. Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees was 20-for-33 for 237 yards with touchdowns and in the process set Big Ten records for attempts, completions and yard passing in a season. Senior wide receiver Gabe Cox caught seven passes for 97 yards with a touchdown, while senior wide receiver Isaac Jones had four receptions for 58 yards with a touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Vinny Sutherland and redshirt freshman tight end Tim Stratton both caught two touchdown passes. Junior running back J. Crabtree rushed for 110 yards on 20 carries. Senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin recorded his third blocked field goal of the season and fourth of his career to set school records in both categories. He also had four tackles for loss and one sack among seven tackles. Redshirt freshman linebacker Jason Loerzel led the way with 10 tackles, while senior cornerback Henry Bell, senior free safety Billy Gustin and senior strong safety Todd Stelma each recorded interceptions.

A STRONG BREES: Sophomore quarterback Drew Brees has completed 336 of 516 passes (65.1 percent) for 3,753 yards with 36 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. He holds school and Big Ten season records for attempts, completions, yards and touchdowns and is just shy of the school season record for completion percentage (the current standard is .658, 242 of 368, by Mark Herrmann in 1980).

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. Brees tied his school record with six touchdown passes at Northwestern on Nov. 7, 1998.

NO SIGNS OF LETTING UP: Drew Brees set the NCAA Division I passing attempts record with 83 at Wisconsin on Oct. 10. 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 15 different players (including quarterback Drew Brees twice on batted attempts) have caught passes this season. The breakdown by game - at USC (10), vs. Rice (8), vs. Central Florida (5), at Notre Dame (7), vs. Minnesota (10), at Wisconsin (10), at Penn State (8), vs. Illinois (10), vs. Iowa (8), at Northwestern (8), at Michigan State (8) and vs. Indiana (8).

THE OFFENSE LIKES IKE: Senior wide receiver Isaac Jones ranks fifth on Purdue's career receptions list with 143. Next up is Steve Griffin (1982-85) with 146 receptions. Jones ranks ninth with 1,665 receiving yards. Next up is Jim Beirne (1965-67) with 1,795 yards.

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 in the Wisconsin game, 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 ranks second in the nation among players at his position with 37 receptions, second with seven touchdowns and sixth with 369 receiving yards. Louisville junior Ibn Green leads all three categories with 55 catches for 884 yards and 12 touchdowns.

CRACKLIN' ROSEY: Neil Diamond sang the song, and senior defensive end Rosevelt Colvin is making Purdue fans smile. He tops the team with 19 tackles for loss (fifth on the school season list), 13 quarterback sacks (tied for school record with Jeff Zgonina in 1992) and three blocked field goals (school record). Colvin holds school career records with 31 1/2 sacks and four blocked field goals and ranks second with 59 tackles for loss.

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 100 tackles. Fells has finished with double-figure stops in five games (13 at USC, 15 vs. Rice, 10 at Notre Dame, 11 at Wisconsin and 13 vs. Iowa) and has 12 double-figure efforts during his career (nine in his last 17 games, dating to 1997). He was named the Big Ten Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Week for the week ending Nov. 1, 1998.

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 40.2-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 38.9 (122 punts for 4,741 yards). Of his 122 career punts, 39 have come to rest inside the 20-yard line (32 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. Dorsch has been named one of 20 semifinalists for the Lou Groza Award.

SPECIAL STELMA: Senior Todd Stelma has been named one of 14 finalists for the 1998 Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Award. The winner will be presented at the Hula Bowl Maui All-Star Football Classic in Honolulu on Jan. 24, 1999. Stelma has recorded two blocked punts in the Boilermakers' last two games.

SENIOR SALUTE: A total of 18 Purdue football players took part in their final home game against Indiana - Henry Bell, Willie Burroughs, Rosevelt Colvin, Gabe Cox, Tarah Graham, Billy Gustin, Eric Haddad, Lee Johnson, Isaac Jones, Noble Jones, Chukie Nwokorie, Chike Okeafor, John Reeves, Shane Ryan, Todd Stelma, Pete VanderWheele, Doug Withers and Chris Zurba.




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