When Jeff Brom arrived to coach Purdue, he knew the program included two Rose Bowl appearances, an incredible roster of all-time quarterbacks that included Bob Griese and Drew Brees, an equally impressive lineup of defensemen, and a coaching roster that included Joe Tiller. and Jack Mollenkopf.

But he didn’t know much about Spoilermakers.

- Advertisement -

Since the AP poll began in 1936, no unranked team has done better than the highest ranked teams in the country. The Boilermakers have nine wins over a No. 1 or No. 2 AP team in an unranked lineup, four more than any other program in the poll era. Purdue gets another opportunity Saturday night (8 p.m. ET, Fox) as he makes his first Big Ten Championship Game appearance and takes on Michigan, who are No. 2 in both the AP Poll and Playlists. college football offs.

- Advertisement -

Brom, who coached Purdue to defeat No. 2 at Ohio State in 2018 and No. 2 at Iowa in 2021, believes the Spoilermakers tradition stems from two sources.

- Advertisement -

“No doubt we had some opportunities when you played in this conference, and on top of that, our non-conference schedule tends to be pretty darn good as well,” Brom told Sportzshala. “On top of that, Purdue is generally a school for workers, hard workers, and that’s our team approach. You’re just trying to make the most of what you have, work hard and figure out what’s going on along the way and see if you can get something done. out.”

Brom attributes his approach to his own college coach, Louisville’s Howard Schnellenberger, who masterfully “made his team think they’re better than they really are,” Brom said, and believe anything is achievable. Schnellenberger, known for his impeccable mustache and pipe smoking, constantly communicated in a way that instilled confidence, both in the dressing room and in public, “for everyone to hear.”

Although Brom is not as bold in his public messages, his directives behind closed doors are based on faith, especially during the 24 hours leading up to kick-off. He will take the same approach before Purdue takes on Michigan as an unranked underdog with 17 points.

“You can’t be in awe, you can’t lose confidence, you can’t listen to what everyone is saying and writing, which can be true,” he said. “You have to believe that on any given day, if you prepare properly and play aggressively – not timidly, not to keep the game close, but aggressively – you might have a chance.”

Here are Purdue’s nine wins as an unranked team against a No. 1 or No. 2 AP featuring Brom and Cory Palm, Purdue’s broadcast director who is working on his second Boiler football history book.

Purdue 24, No. 2 Iowa 7

Date: October 16, 2021
Location: Iowa City, Iowa

Iowa earned its highest AP rating since 1985, coming into the game after beating Penn State the week before. But the Hawkeyes were limited offensively, relying heavily on their superior defense and dedicated teams to win games.

“We had to find a way to get a lead,” Brom said.

Perdue took a 7-0 lead and then 14-7 behind quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who ran for a touchdown and threw another. The Boilers defense then took control in the second half, holding Iowa 15 clean yards on the first three discs before recording interceptions in the next two possessions. Cam Allen had two of Purdue’s four interceptions, and the offense rose sharply behind O’Connell (375 passing yards, two touchdowns) and wide receiver David Bell (240 receiving yards, one touchdown).

“We played the pass,” Brom said. “You have to be aggressive in your approach, you have to attack. We made them throw the ball more than they wanted and we were able to get interceptions. This is not the formula they like to use. a bit of game action, play defense and keep the game close. We have rid them of that formula.”


Purdue 49, No. 2, Ohio State 20

Date: October 20, 2018
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

The most memorable night of Brom’s tenure included a performance against Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, as well as the presence of Tyler Trent, a Purdue student and cancer-fighting superfan. Trent, whose story was featured that morning on College GameDay, watched his beloved Boilers never fall behind Ohio State, hold the Buckeyes six points for three quarters, and reach the end zone four times in fourth.

Freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore had a massive night (170 receiving yards, 58 return yards), along with quarterback David Blau and running back DJ Knox, while Marcus Bailey led the defense with 15 tackles and a 41-yard spade six in closing. minutes. The 29-point winning lead was the third-largest among unranked teams against the AP’s top two rivals.

“There was a lot of motivation, not only playing for a top team, but also the story of Tyler Trent,” Brom said when Trent died on January 1, 2019. – Although Ohio State was really good, a couple of teams were playing close. It was a question: “Okay, how can we move to the next step?” We were just aggressive. We have changed the situation in defense. We stepped on their heels a little in the attack.

Purdue hit Ohio State and showed different views by turning the Buckeyes into the red. Then, after a relatively quiet third quarter, the Boilers gave a big boost.

“We extended the lead because we remained aggressive,” Brom said. “If you are not going to do it and take risks, you will find a way to screw up against a good team. You want your players to know, “We’re not in the lead.” ‘”


Purdue 28, No. 2 Ohio State 23

Date: October 6, 1983
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Ohio State entered Ross Aid Stadium with an offense spearheaded by several future NFL players: quarterback Mike Tomczak, running back Keith Byars, and wide receiver Chris Carter. Boilers coach Leon Burtnett would call the Buckeyes “the best offensive football team we’ve ever faced.”

But Purdue had its future NFL standouts, including quarterback Jim Everett, who completed 17 of 23 passes for 257 yards and three touchdowns. The Boilers had a strong fourth quarter, scoring twice off Tomczak’s interceptions.

“They held on to Ohio State the whole game, and the icing on the cake was Rod Woodson at the end of the game, putting him out of reach,” Palm said.

Purdue opened the season by upsetting No. 8 Notre Dame in the first game played at the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis. That fall, the Boilers also beat Michigan to share second place in the Big Ten, but finished 7–5 after losing to Virginia in the Peach Bowl.


Purdue 16, No. 1 Michigan 14

Date: November 6, 1976
Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Bo Schembehler brought one of his strongest teams to West Lafayette. Michigan won their first eight games with an overall score of 352-58. The Wolverines closed off four opponents, including the previous two to Purdue, and inflicted the Navy’s worst loss (70-14) in team history.

“This case was as big a shock as any of them,” Palm said. ” [Purdue] head coach Alex Agase was leaving, they lost three matches in a row. Michigan, they looked like world champions.”

But Perdue turned to running back Scott Dirking, who made a team-record 38 carries and rushed for 162 yards against the Big Ten’s best defense. Michigan scored on the first possession but only scored once as Perdue choked quarterback Rick Leach. Down 14–13, Perdue drove methodically down the field and turned to Rock Supan, a defensive tackle with 11 tackles in the game, for a 23-yard field goal. He did, and Perdue won after Michigan missed a 37-yard attempt to the left.

It would be Michigan’s only loss in the regular season. The Wolverines climbed back up to 2nd after defeating Ohio State later that year, but fell 14–6 to 3rd at USC in the Rose Bowl. Perdue finished 5-6, his fourth losing season in a row, and fired Agase.


Purdue 31, No. 2 Notre Dame 20

Date: September 28, 1974
Location: South Bend, Indiana

Notre Dame won the national championship in 1973 going undefeated under coach Ara Parseghian and opened the season with easy road wins over Georgia Tech and Northwestern University. Perdue lost the first shot to Wisconsin by 14 points and then tied with Miami (Ohio), missing three field goal attempts on the stretch.

As a result, the Boilers were underdogs with 35 points.

“Agase said he was offended by the fact that they were such big losers,” Palm said. “They definitely showed up in that game.”

Perdue scored 24 points in the first quarter, the most ever scored against Notre Dame in the first 15 minutes. The resurgence included Purdue’s fumble recovery in Notre Dame’s second game, a 52-yard touchdown by Pete Gross, and linebacker Bob Mannella’s sixth pick.

The (Lafayette) Journal and Courier headline on September 30 read: “Spoiler Makers Strike Again!”


Perdue 23, no. 1 Minnesota 14

Date: November 12, 1960
Location: Minneapolis

Perdue had an exciting 1960 season when he finished 4-4-1 but finished 19th in the final AP poll. Six of the nine Boilers’ opponents have appeared in AP Top 20 games, and Perdue has faced No. 1 teams twice, losing to Iowa but beating Minnesota, which went on to win the Rose Bowl and the national championship.

The Boilers took a 14-0 lead behind quarterback Bernie Allen, who spent 12 seasons in Major League Baseball. Allen scored a field goal in the second half as Perdue pinned the Minnesota. Defensive end Forest Farmer had two sacks and four receptions to earn the National Linesman of the Week title.

Perdue also beat No. 3 Ohio State and No. 12 Notre Dame that season, starting with a tie against No. 8 UCLA.


Purdue 20, #1 Michigan State 13

Date: October 19, 1957
Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Perdue entered the game 0-3 as Michigan State began its rise under Hall of Famer coach Duffy Daugherty. The Spartans were 21-point favorites over the Boilers, who had several players missing due to the flu. Michigan State had a significant lead in first downs (19-7) and finishes (10-2), but lost five fumbles, including one in the second quarter that led to…