clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Spoilermakers of Yore: Purdue Football Beats No. 1

New, 47 comments

It has happened before. Seven times, in fact. If you're not careful Purdue will wreck your shit!

Deal with it, Bob says.
Deal with it, Bob says.
George Rose/Getty Images

Let's have some good football memories, shall we? Yesterday Reddit CFB published this article documenting the poll positions that each school at the FBS level has beaten the most. Shockingly, the position Purdue has beaten he most is right at the top. The Boilermakers, nay, SPOILERMAKERS, have beaten the No. 1 team in the nation 7 times. That puts us right up there with some pretty elite company:

Miami has beaten the AP #1 team 9 times, Alabama and Notre Dame 8. Purdue, USC and Oklahoma 7.

Alabama, Miami and Notre Dame have beaten the #1 team in the coaches' poll 8 times, Purdue 7.

#1 in either poll, Miami and Notre Dame 9 times, Purdue and Alabama 8.

Yeah, I was stunned too, but can you just imagine it: Purdue facing the No. 1 team with the eyes of the country on us and pulling off a shocking upset? According our media guide Purdue is 7-11 all-time against the No. 1 team in America, and it documents the wins:

October 7, 1950: Purdue 28, No. 1 Notre Dame 14 at Notre Dame

This has to be one of the more shocking wins of the seven. The fighting Irish were 7-2-1 the previous season and were No. 1 after a season opening win over North Carolina. They only finished 4-4-1, but Purdue would only win one more game on its way to a 2-7 finish. Purdue later beat Indiana 13-0 to finish 2-0 vs. the state, but 0-7 elsewhere.

October 2, 1954: #19 Purdue 27, #1 Notre Dame 14 at Notre Dame

Almost four years to the day later a much stronger Purdue team pulled off another stunner in South bend. This might have been the toughest schedule in the history of Purdue football and Purdue went 5-3-1. It managed to face No. 1 Notre Dame, No. 6 duke, No. 2 Wisconisn, and No. 2 Ohio State. The Irish finished 9-1 and the loss to Purdue cost them a national title, as it was split between undefeated Ohio State and UCLA.

October 19, 1957: Purdue 20, #1 Michigan State 13 at Michigan State

You did NOT want to play Purdue while ranked No. 1 in October in the 50's! Purdue entered at 0-3 after losses to Notre Dame, No. 3 Minnesota, and No. 16. Michigan State went on to finish 8-1 and this, too, cost them a national championship. They did not even win the Big Ten, as Ohio State went 10-1 and won the Rose Bowl over Oregon. The 20 point given up was the most MSU gave up in a game that entire season.

November 12, 1960 Purdue 23, No. 1 Minnesota 14 at Minnesota

This was Purdue's SECOND game against a No. 1 team in 1960. Earlier in the year the Boilers lost 21-14 at Iowa. Purdue was just 2-4-1 entering the game and well out of the Big Ten race with losses to No. 3 Ohio State, No. 8 UCLA, and No. 12 Notre Dame. Minnesota would win the Big Ten and go on to lose the Rose Bowl to Washington. It was their first of two consecutive Rose Bowl appearances, and they have not been back since. This also potentially cost them a national championship.

September 25, 1965 #6 Purdue 25, #1 Notre Dame 21 at Purdue

For the third time in 15 years and first time ever at Purdue the Boilers beat No. 1 Notre Dame. Purdue moved to No. 2 in the country the next week before a 14-14 tie at SMU. They Irish would be in the title picture all season before a loss to Michigan State in November. Purdue finished 7-2-1 and would have gone to the Rose Bowl if not for a 14-10 loss to eventual Big Ten champ Michigan State.

September 30, 1967 #10 Purdue 28, #1 Notre Dame 21 at Purdue

Jack Mollenkopf does it again this time with Mike Phipps instead of Bob Griese. Purdue was coming off of winning the Rose Bowl and beating Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. The Boilers would reach No. 2 in the polls before losing to Oregon State at homecoming. The Boilers would share the Big Ten title with Indiana and Minnesota, to date the last Big Ten football crown for either school. Overall Purdue was 8-2 and legitimately could have won the national title if not for the season ending 19-14 loss at Indiana. USC, at 10-1, was the consensus national champ after beating Indiana in the Rose Bowl.

It should be noted that Purdue would enter the next season at No. 1 for the first and so far only time in school history. They would beat No. 2 Notre Dame in South Bend in the only 1 vs. 2 game in school history, but miss a Big Ten title and Rose Bowl because of losses to Ohio State and Minnesota.

November 6, 1976 Purdue 16, #1 Michigan 14 at Purdue

During the height of the 10-year war era of the Big Ten Ohio State and Michigan simply did not lose to anyone in the conference except each other. It just did not happen. Before this day Michigan's last non-Ohio State loss in Big Ten play came at Michigan State in 1969. Purdue finished a modest 5-6, but it was bittersweet for the Wolverines. After three losses and a tie in the previous four years to Ohio State they were finally able to beat the Buckeyes and get to Pasadena. A loss in the Rose Bowl to USC and the Purdue loss cost them a national title.

Officially, Purdue has not had a chance at knocking off a No. 1 ranked team in 26 years. The last game against a team ranked No. 1 came at Notre Dame in 1990 when Purdue lost 37-11. Purdue last played No. 2 in 1999 in a 31-25 home loss to Penn State. (Ed. Note: Thanks to Juan for pointing out that Michigan State was No. 2 last year when they escaped with a 24-21 win in East Lansing). Ohio State was ranked No. 3 in 2002 during the famous "Holy Buckeye" 10-6 win in 2002. The last game against No. 4 was the 56-0 unmerciful beatdown handed out by Ohio State in 2013. To round out the top 5, the last time Purdue played No. 5 was 1999 when Purdue beat No. 5 Michigan State 52-28 behind five Drew Brees touchdown passes.

Finally, if you're wondering when the last time Purdue beat a ranked team at all you'll be surprised. In 2011 Illinois was technically ranked No. 23 when Purdue beat them 21-14. It was the second of six straight losses the Illini had after a 6-0 start. The Illini would go on to lose 20 straight Big Ten games before beating Purdue two years later during Darrell Hazell's first season.