As in, four Purdue wins over top ten teams since I started following Purdue football in 1988. (Sheesh I am getting old).
Had to wait until 1996 to see my first - a blistering 9-3 win over #9 Michigan in West Lafayette. A couple years later, Purdue beat #4 Kansas State 37-34 in the Alamo Bowl, and followed that up the next year with a 52-28 drubbing of #5 Michigan State in West Lafayette. And then a 10 year drought until today's big win over Ohio State.
I still remember that 1996 win over Michigan. Back when ESPN2 couldn't even afford capital letters (remember those days?). Amy and I were two of about 33,000 people in attendence to witness that, the week after Jim Colletto announced his resignation. The goalposts came down and were soon deposited in the Wabash River.
The Alamo Bowl win is still probably my favorite win ever by a Purdue team. The defense played phenomenal against a potent, fast offense. It catapulted Roosevelt Colvin and Chike Okeafor into the NFL, and started the Drew Brees legend. Even though Drew had a relatively poor game (he completed less than 50% of his passes, for like barely over 200 yards, and had something like 2TDs and 3 picks), he had a last minute drive that was one for the ages.
The 1999 win over #5 MSU wasn't really an upset. Purdue was ranked in the top 25 at the time, and MSU, while piling up Ws, wasn't exactly a dominant team that year. I expected Purdue to own MSU, as did everyone in the stadium, and that's what happened. If I remember right Purdue jumped out to a 28-7 lead by early 2nd quarter and never looked back.
And then the drought. Much has been made of Purdue's inability to beat a ranked team, let alone a top 10 team, since 2003. Six years is a long time. Even Colletto managed Ws against ranked Cal and West Virginia, and Akers beat OSU in Columbus.
Since moving to Seattle, days where Purdue plays a top ten team is pretty much treated like a holiday, even in the past few down years under Tiller. We plan our day around it, make a party out of it, and of course wind up disappointed.
So today, while I hurried up after Spencer's soccer game to start the recording of the game, I also didn't treat it with the specialness reserved for Spoilermaker opportunities. What were the odds? I mean, this is a Purdue team that needed two late TDs to pull within 7 of mighty Northern Illinois. Sheesh.
Today's game reminded me of the 1996 win over Michigan. You watch this team, and you say "you know, there's some talent here. Not NFL talent, but talented kids who can play football." Then you watch them shoot themselves in the foot week in and week out. Then they put it together and bite someone, and actually look pretty good in the process.
Boiler Up. Who knows when we'll see a W again, let alone against a top ten team. Here's to it not being 10 years...