- Mar 22, 2010
People outside of the Purdue community have no concept of the pain inflicted by the Badgers upon our beloved.
It's mid October, 2004. A 5-0 Purdue team is ranked #5 and coming off consecutive road giant-slaying victories against Notre Dame and Penn State. College Gameday is on campus. The scene is off the charts. A once-in-a-lifetime season is underway. In front of a sold-out home crowd, the Purdue defense keeps Wisconsin phenom Anthony Davis largely in check and musters just enough offense to lead 17-14 in the waning minutes of the 4th quarter. Facing a 3rd & 3 with just 2:49 left, star QB Kyle Orton fakes the handoff, turns to run, and appears to be on his way to securing a pivotal and likely game clinching first down.
And then this happens...
EIGHTEEN YEARS later, Purdue football still has not fully healed.
That 2004 gut punch led to:
-Immediate = A 4 game losing streak and limping 7-5 finish to that once magical season
-Intermediate = Steady decline over the following 4 seasons, ending the career of legendary coach Joe Tiller
-Long term = Years of mediocrity transitioning to futility, bad coaching hires and lack of funding from the University
And ZERO wins against the Wisconsin Badgers during this time period. Even with the Jeff Brohm renaissance, we have seen a continuation of "the streak", from 11 to 15 games. And any time we think we've got them in a winnable game, Lucy is right there to pull the football away from Charlie Brown.
Until this gorilla is ripped from the back of the Purdue football program, slayed, and buried 6 feet under, the stench of that 2004 cataclysmic turn of events remains.
For a pinch of salt, there was also the Kyle Smith drop of a gift-wrapped interception with just over 7 minutes left with Purdue leading 17-7.