It has been three months that we have waited to celebrate, but after last night we finally can. Thanks to Clemson’s 35-31 victory over the juggernaut that is Alabama Purdue can lay claim to college football’s transitive National Championship. We owe it to the strip-fumble of Cayce Crouch by Gelen Robinson and the right foot of J.D. Dellinger. Darrell Hazell rides off into the sunset with a national championship for the Boilers, something we could only dream of, especially after a wild nine win
Then again, we knew this would happen because Purdue owns Nick Saban.
Let’s recap the path to the title!
Purdue 34, Illinois 31 OT
I was there that day in Champaign. A week after getting absolutely demolished by Maryland in College Park, Purdue managed to pick itself off the mat and bring home the Cannon. Little did we know that it would also bring the program a national title. This game would feature the only touchdowns of the season from Malik Kimbrough and Richie Worship as Purdue ran for an impressive 231 yards. Brian Lankford-Johnson had a career day with 127 yards and a touchdown.
It was also a back-and-forth affair as the most reliable kicker entering the game faltered and the least reliable triumphs. Chase McLaughlin missed his first field goal of the season as time expired in regulation. Once in overtime, Robinson stripped Crouch (who had rushed for 142 yards and 2 TDs) and it was recovered by Leroy Clark. That set the stage for Dellinger, who kicked a game-winning 28 yard field goal for the win after being just 2 of 5 on field goal attempts before this game.
DELLINGER GAME WINNER!!!!!Posted by Hammer & Rails on Saturday, October 8, 2016
Illinois 31, Michigan State 27
Three decades ago Jeff George left West Lafayette and began a long career of completely pissing off entire fanbases. Against Michigan State, his son redeemed him in the eyes of Purdue fans. Jeff George Jr. found Sam Mays on a 16-yard touchdown pass with 1:35 left to give the Illini a 31-27 victory over the defending Big Ten Champions in Champaign. The Spartans had rallied to take a 27-24 lead on a 13-yard pass from Damion Terry to R.J. Shelton with 2:52 left, but the mulleted wonder needed only 1:17 and four plays to go 75 yards for the win.
Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28
In a fierce battle between two ranked teams the Spartans jumped out to a 36-7 lead with 3:45 remaining in the third quarter. It looked like Michigan State, ranked 12th at the time, would win in a walk over the 18th ranked Fighting Irish. Notre Dame then began a furious comeback with three straight touchdowns and even had the ball with 4 minutes left down eight, but surrender punted back to Michigan State. A couple of first downs iced it for the Spartans. The road victory over a ranked team gave the Spartans a huge leg up in returning to the Playoff.
Notre Dame 30, Miami 27
The first game back in South Bend after the infamous Catholics vs. Convicts game in 1988 handed a 4th-straith loss to the Hurricanes. Miami fell behind 20-0 in the second quarter before scoring 27 unanswered points to take a 27-20 lead with 6:49 left when Michael Jackson recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown. The Hurricanes gave up a 41-yard touchdown run by Josh Adams before Justin Yoon won the game with a 23-yard field goal with 30 seconds left. I was almost at this game too, but tickets were too expensive and I chose to go to the record-breaking Penn State-Purdue game instead.
Miami 51, Pittsburgh 28
Just a week later in Miami the Hurricanes recovered to break their losing streak in a big way. I was at this game as Miami dominated the second half 24-7. Brad Kaaya threw four touchdown passes and had 356 yards while Mark Walton ran for 125 yards and a touchdown. Ahmmon Richards also had a big game with eight catches for 144 yards.
Pittsburgh 43, Clemson 42
A week after getting its ass kicked in Miami, Pittsburgh recovered to stun Clemson in Death Valley on a long, late field goal. Chris Blewitt hit a 48 yard field goal with six seconds left to give the Panthers a surprise victory. Pitt had a chance to tie with 5:17 left after a 20-yard TD from James Conner, but the two-point conversion was no good. Nathan Peterman was impressive with 308 yards and five touchdown passes, while the Panther defense picked off Deshaun Watson three times despite giving up 580 yards through the air.
Clemson 35, Alabama 31
Alabama was supposed to be the greatest team of all-time, but Nick Saban cannot escape Purdue’s mastery over him. The man with five national championships since 2003 has only lost to one team three straight times in his coaching career. He may be 205-61-1 overall, but against Purdue he is a sad 1-3-1 and has lost three in a row. That’s right. Nick Saban, in all his mastery, STILL HAS AN ACTIVE THREE GAME LOSING STREAK TO PURDUE! Look it up! I’ll wait:
9/23/1995: Purdue 35, Michigan State 35 (The last ever tie for either school) at Purdue
8/31/1996: Michigan State 52, Purdue 14 at Michigan State
11/8/1997: Purdue 22, Michigan State 21 at Purdue
11/14/1998: Purdue 25, Michigan State 24 at Michigan State
10/30/1999: Purdue 52, Michigan State 28 at Purdue
No wonder he refuses to bring the Tide to West Lafayette. The last time he came to Purdue his team was 6-0 and ranked No. 5 in the country, but Drew Brees threw for 500+ yards and 5 TDs. Chris Daniels caught an NCAA record 21 passes for 301 yards and 3 TDs. We told him to run his ass back where he came from, and he fled the Big Ten for the easier SEC and LSU after the season.
As for this one, it was one of the greatest games in the history of college football and blah, blah, blah. Alabama was doomed from the beginning. Many were already crowning them as the greatest team of all-time, but as we learned with Miami in 2002 (which has a huge asterisk) and USC in 2006 it means very little until you actually win the championship. More importantly, because Dellinger kicked that field goal on October 8 the fate of the Crimson Tide was sealed because of one fact:
Purdue owns Nick Saban.
‘bama don’t want us.