Purdue Boilermakers Football
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Purdue Boilermakers Football
Purdue Boilermakers football
Purdue Boilermakers workmark.svg
First season1887
Athletic directorMike Bobinski
Head coachJeff Brohm
4th season, 19-25 (.432)
StadiumRoss-Ade Stadium
(capacity: 57,236[1])
Year built1924
Field surfaceBermuda Grass
LocationWest Lafayette, Indiana
NCAA divisionDivision I FBS
ConferenceBig Ten Conference
Past conferencesIndependent (1887-1890)
Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association (1891-1894)
Independent (1895)
Western Conference (1896-1952)
All-time record
Bowl record10–9 (.526)
Unclaimed national titles1 (1931)
Conference titles12 (1891, 1892, 1893, 1894, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1932, 1943, 1952, 1967, 2000)
RivalriesIllinois (rivalry)
Indiana (rivalry)
Notre Dame (rivalry)
Consensus All-Americans21
Current uniform
Purdue football unif.png
ColorsOld gold and Black[2]
Fight songHail Purdue!
MascotBoilermaker Special
Purdue Pete
Marching bandPurdue All-American Marching Band

The Purdue Boilermakers football team represents Purdue University in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) of college football. Purdue plays its home games at Ross-Ade Stadium on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. The head coach of Purdue is Jeff Brohm, the 36th head coach in program history. The Boilermakers compete in the Big Ten Conference as a member of the West Division.[3] Purdue had most recently been a part of the Leaders Division of the Big Ten,[4] but moved to the West Division in 2014 due to conference expansion.

With a 618-575-48 record at the conclusion of the 2019 season, Purdue has the 50th-most victories among NCAA FBS programs.[5] Purdue was originally classified as a Major College school in the 1937 season until 1972. Purdue received Division I classification in 1973, becoming a Division I-A program from 1978 to 2006 and an FBS program from 2006 to the present.[6] The Boilermakers have registered 64 winning seasons in their history, with 19 of those seasons resulting in eight victories or more, 10 seasons resulting in at least nine wins, and one season with ten victories or more.[7] Of those successful campaigns, Purdue has produced five unbeaten seasons in its history, going 4-0 in 1891, 8-0 in 1892, 8-0 in 1929, 7-0-1 in 1932 and 9-0 in 1943.[7] The Boilermakers have won a total of 12 conference championships in their history; eight Big Ten Conference titles and four Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles.


Early history (1887-1921)

The Purdue University football team traces its origin back to October 29, 1887, when its team fell to Butler College by a score of 48-6 in Indianapolis, Indiana.[8] A group of students at Purdue University formed the school's first football team in 1887.[9] Albert Berg was hired as the coach. Despite being deaf, Berg was reportedly "the only man in the territory with any knowledge of the game."[10] Berg was 23 years old when he became Purdue's football "coacher."[11] He was paid $1 for each lesson he gave to the newly organized football team and had only one week to prepare the team for its first game.[11][12][13] The 1887 Purdue team played its only game on October 29, 1887, against the Butler College team at Athletic Park in Indianapolis. Butler soundly defeated Berg's squad by a score of 48-6.[14] After the loss to Butler, Purdue did not field a football team again until 1889.[11][12]

Purdue's 1890 football team

In 1890, Clinton L. Hare became the third head football coach at Purdue. He coached the team that season to a record of 3-3. Purdue won each of its two home games in convincing fashion, shutting out Wabash, 54-0, on October 24 and Illinois, 62-0, on November 22. They also shut out DePauw in Greencastle, Indiana, 32-0. Purdue suffered its worst loss of the season on November 1 in Ann Arbor, falling to Michigan by a score of 34-6. Hare's squad also dropped their season opener in Chicago on October 18 to the Chicago University Football Club, 10-6, and their season finale on November 27 against Hare's former team, Butler, by a score of 12-10.[15] With their wins over DePauw and Wabash and their loss to Butler, Purdue tallied a 2-1 mark against their opponents from within the state of Indiana. Hare's team finished second place in the Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association to Butler, who beat all three of their in-state foes and was awarded the state championship.[16]

In 1891, Knowlton Ames became the head coach for Purdue, where he led the Boilermakers to a 12–0 record over two years.[17]

In the fall of 1893, D. M. Balliet became the head football coach at Purdue. Balliet led the team to a 5-2-1 record in 1893 and 9-1 in 1894. During the 1894 season, Balliet's Purdue squad defeated Amos Alonzo Stagg's Chicago Maroons and outscored opponents by a collective score of 177-42.[18][19] His 1895 squad finished with a record of 4-3.[20] In 1897, Balliet was reported to have given up a successful law practice to join the Klondike Gold Rush in Alaska.[21]

Balliet was re-hired as the head coach at Purdue in September 1901.[22] He led the 1901 Purdue team to a 4-4-1 record but finished the season with consecutive losses to Notre Dame, Illinois, and Northwestern.[23] At the end of the 1901 season, Purdue opted not to renew his services. In March 1902, the Indianapolis News reported, "He is known to be a good coach, but he turned out a loser last year and Purdue wants a change."[24] In four seasons as Purdue's head coach, Balliet compiled a record of 22-10-2.[25]

On October 31, 1903, 14 members of the 1903 squad were killed in Indianapolis Indiana when the train they were riding collided with a coal train. The event became known as the Purdue Wreck.

Purdue bounced around with many different head coaches until 1921, with most having little to no success coaching at Purdue. However, Purdue did hire Andy Smith (1913-15) and William Henry Dietz (1921), both of which would go on to become College Football Hall of Fame members.

James Phelan era (1922-1929)

For the 1922 season, Purdue hired Missouri Tigers football coach, James Phelan. Phelan lead the 1929 Boilermakers to a perfect 8-0 record and what is to date their only ever outright Big Ten Title.

Noble Kizer era (1930-1936)

In 1925, Noble Kizer became an assistant coach at Purdue under Phelan and inherited the head coaching position upon Phelan's departure for the University of Washington.

Allen Elward era (1937-1941)

Allen Elward became head coach after serving as an assistant at Purdue from 1927 to 1936. He compiled a 16-18-6 record at Purdue.

Elmer Burnham era (1942-1943)

Elmer Burnham served as Purdue's freshman football coach for seven years before assuming the role as varsity head coach in 1942.[26] Burnham's 1943 squad went 9–0 and shared the Big Ten Conference title with Michigan. The 1943 squad was the only undefeated team playing a full schedule in major college football, but finished third in the country per the AP Poll. This would seemingly be sufficient grounds for Purdue to claim a 1943 National Championship as the NCAA itself did not recognize champions in the era. However, Purdue has never pursued this claim.

Cecil Isbell era (1944-1946)

Cecil Isbell started out at Purdue as an assistant coach and took over as head coach in 1944. He coached there for three years with a 14-14-1 record. He was the first Purdue alumnus to become the head football coach.

Stu Holcomb era (1947-1955)

During Stu Holcomb's tenure as Boilermakers head coach he compiled a record of 35–42–4. His best year was 1952 when he led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Conference co-championship and a No. 18 ranking in the final poll. Despite having only a 4–3–1 overall record, Holcomb's team played well in conference with a 4–1–1 record. Holcomb's Purdue teams are, perhaps, best remembered for ending Notre Dame's 39-game unbeaten streak when his Boilermakers defeated the Irish, 28–14, in the second game of the 1950 season. Holcomb was known for developing solid quarterbacks including Bob DeMoss, Dale Samuels and Len Dawson. These players helped grow a strong tradition at Purdue of great quarterback play. On December 12, 1955, after his nine seasons at Purdue, Holcomb left Purdue to accept the athletic director position at the Northwestern University

Stu Holcomb oversaw the 1947 integration of Purdue's athletic teams after pressure from student led protests. It is hard to find any black athletes in the records before 1950 - where Herman Murray is first shown with the squad. Alongside Herman Murray, One of the most notable early black athletes is Lamar Lundy. Lundy was a two sport athlete who played center for the Purdue basketball team and defensive end for the football team. Lundy was extraordinary and achieved great deal of success during and after his collegiate years. He received the 1956 Purdue MVP award not even 10 years after athletic integration and received offers to play professional basketball and football after graduation. He ultimately chose football and played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1957 to 1969. Both Murray and Lundy were pioneers who paved the way for many young gentlemen.

Jack Mollenkopf era (1956-1969)

On January 2, 1967, Jack Mollenkopf coached the school's first appearance in the Rose Bowl, leading Purdue to a 14–13 victory over USC. Against Purdue's in-state rivals, Mollenkopf tallied an 11–2–1 record versus Indiana and a 10–4 mark against Notre Dame. From 1966 to 1969, a Purdue player finished in the top three in balloting for the Heisman Trophy: quarterback Bob Griese was second in 1966, halfback Leroy Keyes placed third in 1967 and second in 1968, and quarterback Mike Phipps finished as runner-up in 1969. Mollenkopf's inaugural season in 1956 was the only losing campaign of his tenure as head coach at Purdue.

Mollenkopf is Purdue's all-time leader in Big Ten Conference wins (58) and conference winning percentage (.637). His 84 wins at Purdue placed him first on the school's all-time wins list until Joe Tiller passed him in 2008, and he ranks fourth in overall winning percentage (.670). Mollenkopf's Boilermakers were nationally ranked for 80 weeks, the most under any Purdue head coach, and captured the No. 1 spot the first five weeks of the 1968 season.

Bob DeMoss era (1970-1972)

Former Purdue player and assistant coach Bob DeMoss was promoted to head coach in 1970.[27] DeMoss inherited a Purdue squad who was loaded at the running back position with Stan Brown, and Otis Armstrong, but the team struggled to find consistency out of its quarterback position.[28] DeMoss resigned following the 1972 season, citing his desire to be with his family more as his reason for stepping down.[29] DeMoss compiled a career college football record of 13–18.[30]

Alex Agase era (1973-1976)

After nine seasons as the Northwestern coach, Alex Agase accepted an offer at the end of 1972 to become head football coach at Purdue, one of the two schools for which he played.[31] Taking the job was "not an easy decision to make", he said at the time, because he was happy at Northwestern.[31] Agase coached at Purdue through the 1976 season, but his team never posted a winning record in his years there.[32] He was fired in early 1977 and took a job as athletic director at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan.[33] He stayed in that job until 1982, when he unexpectedly resigned citing "personal reasons".[34]

Jim Young era (1977-1981)

In December 1976, Purdue hired 41-year-old Jim Young away from Arizona.[35] When Young arrived at Purdue, he named true freshman, Mark Herrmann as the team's starting quarterback, and the freshman lived up to expectations, throwing for 2,041 yards through the team's first eight games.[36] Herrmann would break the NCAA record for passing yards (2,453) and passing touchdowns (18) for freshman.[37] In 1978, Young would lead Purdue to a 9-2-1 record, and a victory over Georgia Tech in the 1978 Peach Bowl. Young was named the Big Ten's Coach of the Year, the first Boilermaker head coach to ever win the award.[38] Throughout his career, Herrmann would break the Big Ten's all-time career passing yards (6,734) and passing touchdowns (48) before his senior season.[39] After a disappointing 1981 season, Young resigned from his position as head coach at Purdue, citing his desire to concentrate on athletic administration.[40]

Leon Burtnett era (1982-1986)

In November 1981, defensive coordinator Leon Burtnett was promoted as Purdue's 30th head football coach.[41] During the 1984 campaign, Burtnett's team posted its best season, which the highlight of the year was beating No. 2 Ohio State 28-23.[42] The 1984 squad's 7-4 record earned Burtnett the Big Ten's Coach of the Year Award.[43] His success that year earned him a contract extension through 1990.[44] Burtnett's teams didn't improve after 1984, and after a 3-8 season in 1986, Burtnett resigned as head coach.[45]

Fred Akers era (1987-1990)

After Burtnett's dismissal, Purdue had verbally agreed to hire Ron Meyer as their next head coach.[46] Prior to finalizing a deal with Purdue, the Indianapolis Colts called and offered Meyer a contract. Meyer accepted the Colts offer.[46] After they were left in the cold by Meyer, Purdue hired former Texas head coach Fred Akers.[47] The Akers hiring caused starting quarterback Jeff George to transfer due to the Akers running style offense as opposed to Burtnett's passing offense.[47] Akers coached his teams to only 12 wins in four years.[48]

Jim Colletto era (1991-1996)

Jim Colletto was named Purdue's head coach in December 1990, accepting the position while he was serving the offensive coordinator for Ohio State.[49] Colletto came to Purdue with the goal of recruiting kids from the Chicago area, and keeping Purdue's quarterback tradition trending onward.[49] During his introduction press conference, he stated that at practice field, he planned to install a small cemetery in which he would place a tombstone for every school Purdue upset or beat on the road.[50] Colletto also provided up change on offense, as he brought his I formation with him from Ohio State.[51] During his first season as head coach, the Boilermakers improved winning two more games than they had the year before, and freshman tailback Corey Rogers was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.[52]

In 1992, Colletto lost Rogers to academic ineligibility, and was forced to use a new running back.[52] The Rogers suspension opened the door for what would become Purdue's all-time leading rusher, Mike Alstott.[53]

In 1994, the Boilermakers got out to a 4-1-1 start, and were starting to gain national attention.[54] With Rogers and Alstott leading the way out of the Purdue backfield, Purdue racked up 1,206 and 17 rushing touchdowns in 6 games.[54] However Purdue stumbled down the stretch, finishing the season 0-4-1.

Colletto resigned in November 1996.[55]

Joe Tiller era (1997-2008)

Joe Tiller, Purdue's all-time leader in victories (87).

Joe Tiller was hired by Purdue in 1997.[56] Tiller inherited a program that had only had two winning seasons in the previous 18 years. However, the Boilermakers made an immediate splash in the second game of his rookie season with a nationally televised upset of Notre Dame. Tiller would go on to lead the Boilermakers to ten bowl berths in 12 years, most notably the 2001 Rose Bowl. Prior to Tiller's arrival, Purdue had played in only five bowl games, most recently the 1984 Peach Bowl. On September 20, 2008, in a game versus Central Michigan, Tiller won his 85th game at Purdue to become the winningest coach in school history, topping the previous mark set by Jack Mollenkopf (1956–1969).[57] Tiller's "basketball on grass" offense was well renowned for its ability to score and score effectively, befuddling opposing defenses. This was especially the case when Drew Brees ran the team from 1997 to 2000. Tiller's Purdue squads were shut out only once, by Penn State, in a 12–0 defeat at Ross-Ade Stadium on October 28, 2006.

Tiller was the first coach to use the spread offense in the Big Ten Conference, although many others have since brought their own version of the spread, including Jim Tressel at Ohio State, Randy Walker at Northwestern, Rich Rodriguez at Michigan, and Ron Zook at Illinois. Under Tiller and his spread offense, Purdue annually had one of the top offenses in the Big Ten.

Danny Hope era (2009-2012)

Beginning on approximately January 7, 2008, several media outlets reported that Hope had been offered and accepted a coaching position at Purdue where it was expected that he would replace coach Joe Tiller as part of a succession plan.[58]

During his previous stay at Purdue, Hope was the offensive line coach for Tiller. He is credited with building the offensive line that protected NFL quarterback Drew Brees and produced several NFL offensive linemen, including All-Pro Matt Light.[59]

In his first game as head coach at Purdue in 2009, the Boilermakers won, 52–31, over Toledo.[60] Purdue lost their next five games before upsetting No. 7 Ohio State, 26–18, at home on October 17.[61] Later during the 2009 season, the Boilermakers won at Michigan for the first time since 1966 with a 38–36 come-from-behind win at The Big House on November 7. It was only the third time in program history that Purdue defeated Ohio State and Michigan in the same season.[62]

Hope's teams would miss out on bowl games in both the 2009 and 2010 seasons. However, the 2011 team was able record a 6-6 overall record and a 4-4 conference record, including a second win against Ohio State in 3 years. The team would end up going to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, where they defeated Western Michigan 37-32 to achieve Hope's first winning season at Purdue.[63] Following the season, Burke extended Hope with a two-year contract extension.[59]

The 2012 season was met with high expectations from fans, alumni, and Hope himself, who proclaimed that it would be his best team with many starters returning.[64] Moreover, with both Ohio State and Penn State serving bowl bans that year, the Boilermakers had a strong opportunity to win the Leaders division title. However, after a 3-1 non-conference start, the team would then open Big Ten play with five straight losses. Although the Boilers would eventually win their final three games, including victories over archrivals IU and Illinois, and become bowl-eligible for the second straight year, athletic director Morgan Burke announced on November 25, 2012, that Hope would be fired. Wide receivers coach Patrick Higgins was named interim coach for the bowl game.[65]

Darrell Hazell era (2013-2016)

On December 5, 2012, it was announced that Darrell Hazell would leave the Kent State Golden Flashes to become the head coach of the Boilermakers for the 2013 season.[66] The Boilermakers started the season with a 42-7 loss to the Cincinnati Bearcats at Nippert Stadium.[67] The following week against Indiana State, Hazell won his first game at Purdue 20–14.[68] After the Boilermakers started 1-2, and Rob Henry continuing to struggle in the team's 4th game, Danny Etling was thrust into a game with Purdue trailing 27-10 to Northern Illinois.[69] Etling finished the game with 241 yards passing while throwing two touchdowns and two interceptions.[70] During the ensuing week, Etling was named the starter for the Boilermakers.[71] With Etling at quarterback, Hazell showed he was playing the 2013 season to gain experience for younger players. The Boilermakers finished the 2013 season 1-11, one of the worst seasons in Purdue history.[72] The Boilermakers went 3-9 in 2014, 2-10 in 2015, and were 3-3 in 2016 when on October 16, 2016, Hazell was fired with a record of 9-33 with the Boilermakers, including 3-24 in conference play. He was replaced on an interim basis by wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator Gerad Parker, who went 0-6 to end the season 3-9.[73]

Jeff Brohm era (2017-present)

On December 5, 2016, Purdue hired Jeff Brohm to become head coach of the football program. Brohm came from Western Kentucky, where he was 30-10 in 3 seasons.[74] Brohm brought instant success to Purdue, success that the program had not experienced since Head Coach Danny Hope. In their game against Michigan, Purdue sold out Ross Ade Stadium for the first time since 2008 in Joe Tiller's final game against Indiana. Brohm finished his first regular season with a 6-6 record, including the first victory over rival Indiana since 2012. Brohm also was able to earn a bowl berth for Purdue, their first since the 2012 season, where Purdue defeated Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl, 38-35.

In Brohm's second season, Purdue enjoyed perhaps even higher success than their first season, even though the team started the year 0-3. Purdue would eventually finish 6-7, with a second consecutive bowl berth. Purdue defeated three ranked teams in 2018: No. 23 Boston College (30-13), No. 2 Ohio State (49-20), and No. 16 Iowa (38-36). Purdue suffered a lopsided 63-14 loss to Auburn in the Music City Bowl.

In Brohm's third season, Purdue finished 4-8 and failed to achieve bowl eligibility. Purdue's season ended with a 44-41 loss in two overtimes to Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket game.

Conference affiliations


National championships

Purdue's 1931 team was retroactively selected national champion by Parke Davis, an NCAA-designated major selector.[75][76] As a split selection, Davis also named Pittsburgh as national champion.[77][78]:112

Year Coach Selector Overall Record Conference Record
1931 Noble Kizer Parke H. Davis 9-1 5-1

Conference championships

Purdue has won or shared a conference championship on 12 occasions, including four Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association titles and eight Big Ten Conference titles.[79] As members of the Indiana Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Big Ten, the Boilermakers have amassed a record of 154-64-3 (.703 winning percentage) in conference play.

Season Coach Conference Record Conference Record
1891 Knowlton Ames IIAA 4-0 4-0
1892 Knowlton Ames IIAA 8-0 4-0
1893 D.M. Balliet IIAA 5-2-1 4-0
1894 D.M. Balliet IIAA 9-1 4-0
1918+ A. G. Scanlon Big Ten Conference 3-3 1-0
1929 James Phelan Big Ten Conference 8-0 5-0
1931+ Noble Kizer Big Ten Conference 9-1 5-1
1932+ Noble Kizer Big Ten Conference 7-0-1 5-0-1
1943+ Elmer Burnham Big Ten Conference 9-0 6-0
1952+ Stu Holcomb Big Ten Conference 4-3-1 4-1-1
1967+ Jack Mollenkopf Big Ten Conference 8-2 6-1
2000+ Joe Tiller Big Ten Conference 8-4 6-2

+ Co-championship

Bowl games

Purdue has participated in 19 bowl games throughout its history, compiling a 10–9 record.[80] Purdue did not appear frequently in post-season play from 1967 to 1984, but they played well, winning 4 of 5 bowl games including four consecutive wins between 1967 and 1980. When Tiller arrived in 1997, Purdue went to eight consecutive bowl games, but only won three of the eight bowl games. Tiller would lead the Boilermakers to a total of 10 bowl games in his 12 seasons as head coach.[81] Of those 19 bowl appearances, the Boilermakers have participated in 1 "major" Division I-A/FBS bowl games, which was part of the BCS Bowl Games. The Boilermakers have never played in a National Championship Game.

Head coaches

Joe Tiller, Purdue's all-time wins lead as head coach.

There have been 38 head coaches with 39 tenures since the inaugural team in 1887, with Jeff Brohm being the current head coach.[84]

No. Coach Years Record Pct.
1 Albert Berg 1887 0-1 .000
2 George Andrew Reisner 1889 2-1 .667
3 Clinton L. Hare 1890 3-3 .500
4 Knowlton Ames 1891-1892 12-0 1.000
5, 9 D.M. Balliet 1893-1895, 1901 22-10-2 .676
6 S. M. Hammond 1896 4-2-1 .643
7 William H. Church 1897 5-3-1 .611
8 Alpha Jamison 1898-1900 11-11-1 .500
10 Charles Best 1902 7-2-1 .750
11 Oliver Cutts 1903-1904 13-5 .722
12 Albert E. Herrnstein 1905 6-1-1 .813
13 Myron E. Witham 1906 0-5 .000
14 Leigh C. Turner 1907 0-5 .000
15 Frederick A. Speik 1908-1909 6-8 .429
16 Bill Horr 1910-1912 8-11-3 .432
17 Andy Smith 1913-1915 12-6-3 .643
18 Cleo A. O'Donnell 1916-1917 5-8-1 .393
19 A. G. Scanlon 1918-1920 7-12-1 .375
20 William Henry Dietz 1921 1-6 .143
21 James Phelan 1922-1929 35-22-5 .605
22 Noble Kizer 1930-1936 42-13-3 .750
23 Mal Elward 1937-1941 16-18-6 .475
24 Elmer Burnham 1942-1943 10-8 .556
25 Cecil Isbell 1944-1945 14-14-1 .500
26 Stu Holcomb 1946-1955 35-42-4 .457
27 Jack Mollenkopf 1956-1969 84-39-9 .670
28 Bob DeMoss 1970-1972 13-18 .419
29 Alex Agase 1973-1976 18-25-1 .420
30 Jim Young 1977-1981 38-19-1 .664
31 Leon Burtnett 1982-1986 21-34-1 .384
32 Fred Akers 1987-1990 12-31-1 .284
33 Jim Colletto 1991-1996 21-42-3 .341
34 Joe Tiller 1997-2008 87-62 .584
35 Danny Hope 2009-2012 22-27 .449
36 Patrick Higgins 2012 0-1 .000
37 Darrell Hazell 2013-2016 9-33 .214
38 Gerad Parker 2016 0-6 .000
39 Jeff Brohm 2017-present 19-24 .442


Stuart Field (1892-1924)

Stuart Field was dedicated on April 16, 1892,[85] and named for Charles B. and William V. Stuart, two brothers who served on the university's board of trustees.[86] Originally a seven-acre[86] (2.8 ha) field with 800 seats,[85] by the 1910s it was expanded to twice that area[86] and a seating capacity of five thousand.[87]

Ross-Ade Stadium (1924-present)

Ross-Ade Stadium during a game in 2006

The Boilermakers have called Ross-Ade Stadium home since 1924. It is named for David E. Ross and George Ade, the principal benefactors. Ross-Ade Stadium opened on November 22, 1924, with a seating capacity of 13,500 and standing room for an additional 5,000 people.[88] A series of additions and renovations pushed the seating capacity to almost 68,000 (70,000 with standing room). In 2001 Purdue University began a $70 million renovation, which led to a reduced seating capacity of 62,500. The current capacity is 57,236, with standing room for over 60,000.[89]

Mollenkopf Athletic Center

An indoor training facility used primarily for the football team. It includes a full practice football field, extensive weight room, and offices for the football program. Also housed in Mollenkopf is the Purdue Football Hall of Glory.


Purdue's major rival has always been Indiana University, with whom they play for the Old Oaken Bucket, but during the Joe Tiller era the rivalry with Notre Dame in football has become the most heated and most competitive with Joe Tiller led teams going 5-7 vs. Notre Dame. Danny Hope picked up the Shillelagh Trophy with a 24-21 loss in his first season as head coach. In addition, Purdue has a long-standing rivalry with Illinois, with whom they play for the Purdue Cannon trophy.

Due to having an odd number of teams from 1993 to 2010, the Big Ten utilized a rotating system of conference games. Every school was designated two official rivals, whom they played every year. The official rivals for Purdue were Indiana and Northwestern. However, after the expansion of the Big Ten to 12 schools, Purdue and Northwestern were placed into separate conference divisions and no longer played each other on an annual basis. Beginning in 2011, Purdue's new designated cross-division rival will be Iowa. This matchup has been mocked by fans of both teams. The other cross-divisional rivalries set up by the Big Ten had some history or a trophy behind the pairing, but Purdue and Iowa were left over. The respective SB Nation blogs of Hammer & Rails and Black Heart Gold Pants have since celebrated this rivalry between the two schools with the tongue-in-cheek reference to each other as "Our Most Hated Rivals" or simple "OMHR"


The series is tied 45-45-6 through the 2020 season.[90]


Purdue leads the series with Indiana Hoosiers 74-42-6 through the 2019 season.[91]

Notre Dame

Notre Dame leads the series 56-26-2 through the 2017 season.[92]

Cradle of Quarterbacks

Bob DeMoss, the oldest member of the Cradle of Quarterbacks

Purdue's football program has long been known for its prolific passing quarterbacks, ranging from players who have set School, Big Ten & NCAA records, to being named All-Americans and finalist for national awards, to being elected into the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fames.[93] This great tradition has led to the school being nicknamed the "Cradle of Quarterbacks".[94][95] When Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a victory in Super Bowl XLIV, Purdue became just the second college in history to produce 3 different Super Bowl winning quarterbacks.[93][96]

Name Years as starter NFL Draft
Curtis Painter 2005-08 201st pick by the Indianapolis Colts[97]
Kyle Orton 2001-04 106th pick by the Chicago Bears
Drew Brees + 1998-2000 32nd pick by the San Diego Chargers
Jim Everett 1981-85 3rd pick by the Houston Oilers
Scott Campbell 1980-83 191st pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Mark Herrmann 1977-80 98th pick by the Denver Broncos
Gary Danielson 1970-72 Went undrafted
Mike Phipps 1967-69 3rd pick by the Cleveland Browns
Bob Griese + 1964-66 4th pick by the Miami Dolphins
Len Dawson + 1954-56 5th pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers
Dale Samuels 1950-52 28th pick by the Chicago Cardinals
Bob DeMoss 1945-48 13th pick by the New York Bulldogs

+ Quarterbacks to start and win a Super Bowl


Marching band

The Purdue All-American Marching Band is the marching band of Purdue University. The Purdue "All-American" Marching Band (AAMB) is the primary source of auxiliary entertainment for Purdue University football games. AAMB does many service performances for high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools, and has been the host band of the Indianapolis 500 race every year the race has been held since 1927. The band has grown from an original 5 members to 373 members, making it one of the largest marching bands in the world. The two most distinctive features of the AAMB are the World's Largest Drum and solo baton twirler the Purdue Golden Girl.

In 1886 the Purdue Student Army Training Corps produced 5 men who provided music for the Army trainees to listen to during their morning conditioning runs. While operating without a director until 1904, the band had started playing at Purdue football games and had grown to over 50 members. In 1904, Paul Spotts Emrick, joined the band. His experience as a conductor resulted in his election as band president and director the next year. During his senior year at Purdue, the marching band, under Emrick, became the first band to break ranks and form a letter on the field--the famous Block "P".[98]

Emrick stayed on as director after his graduation in 1908. In 1921, Emrick commissioned Leedy to construct the World's Largest Drum, and it has been a part of the marching band ever since. In 1935, during a Purdue football game at Northwestern University the band donned lights on their uniforms while performing at halftime. With the stadium lights turned off for the performance, the band drew such awe from radio broadcaster Ted Husing, he referred to them as a "truly All-American marching band", hence the current title of the band.


Boilermaker Special

The former official mascot of Purdue : The Boilermaker Special V (1993-2011)

The Boilermaker Special is the official mascot of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. It resembles a Victorian-era railroad locomotive and is built on a truck chassis. It is operated and maintained by the student members of the Purdue Reamer Club.

Purdue University is a land-grant university (or Agricultural and Mechanical (A&M) university) created through the Morrill Act of 1862. In the 1890s, Purdue became a leader in the research of railway technology. For many years Purdue operated the "Schenectady No. 1", and later the "Schenectady No. 2", on a dynamometer in an engineering laboratory on the West Lafayette campus. These were 4-4-0 type steam locomotives manufactured by the Baldwin Locomotive Works of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Schenectady was a classic Victorian-era design similar in construction to the Western and Atlantic Railroad No. 3 (see The General (locomotive) on display at the Southern Museum of Civil War and Locomotive History). Purdue even operated its own railroad to connect the campus to a main rail line. In the 1930s the dynamometer was decommissioned and the Schenectady No. 2 was retired as the railroad industry in the United States converted from steam to diesel-electric locomotives.

Purdue did not have a mascot. In 1939, Purdue student Israel Selkowitz suggested the school adopt an official mascot to represent Purdue's engineering heritage. He originally proposed a "mechanical man". After much debate, it was decided to build a locomotive on an automobile chassis. This choice allowed the mascot to build on Purdue's engineering and railroading heritage, as well as represent the school's nickname "Boilermakers" in a meaningful way.

The "Boilermaker" nickname came about during the early years of Purdue football. There had been rumors the university enrolled burly boilermakers from the Monon Railroad shops in Lafayette, Indiana as students/football players to help beef up the scrawny football team. When a railroad operated an extra train independent of the scheduled timetable, it was known as a "special". Thus, the trains which carried Purdue's sporting teams and their fans to other cities for athletic contests were known as "Boilermaker Specials". It was a perfect match.

Financial and moral support for the first Boilermaker Special was provided by key members of the Purdue University graduating class of 1907, and members of the Purdue Reamer Club from the graduating classes of 1940 and 1941.

Purdue Pete

Purdue Pete was first designed as a logo by the University Bookstore in 1940.[99] They would put it on their products and portray him dressed up in different clothes for the different majors. He got the Purdue part of his name from Purdue University.[100] The owners of the bookstores gave him the name "Pete", yet no one officially knows why this was chosen to be his name.[100] He was given a physical identity in 1956 as he came out and helped the students cheer at a pep rally.[99] Over the years, the appearance of Purdue Pete has gone under several drastic changes as well as several minor changes. His original head was made of paper-mâché, pasted onto a chicken wire frame.[100] This was very inconvenient for the person who would be underneath because it would limit his movements, yet he was still expected to move around and do stunts.[100] This head was changed to a giant fiberglass head where the person inside would use a harness to support it. This was unpractical due to the sheer size of it. In the 1980s, Purdue Pete acquired the appearance he is now associated with.[100] Proposals to switch to a soft-sculpture costume were rejected in 2006 and 2011.[101][102]

Den of Defensive Ends

Purdue has also had a more recent tradition of sending defensive ends to the NFL. Since 1999, Purdue has had 9 defensive ends selected in the NFL Draft. With their success in the NFL, Purdue has earned the nickname, the "Den of Defensive Ends".[103]

Name Years as Starter NFL Draft
Ryan Kerrigan 2007-10 16th Pick by the Washington Redskins
Cliff Avril + 2004-07 92nd Pick by the Detroit Lions
Anthony Spencer 2003-06 26th Pick by the Dallas Cowboys
Rob Ninkovich + 2004-05 135th Pick by the New Orleans Saints
Ray Edwards 2003-05 127th Pick by the Minnesota Vikings
Shaun Phillips 2000-03 98th Pick by the San Diego Chargers
Akin Ayodele 1999-2001 89th Pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars
Chike Okeafor 1994-96, 1998 89th Pick by the San Francisco 49ers
Rosevelt Colvin + 1995-98 111th Pick by the Chicago Bears
Keena Turner + 1976-79 39th Pick by the Miami Dolphins
Lamar Lundy 1954-56 47th Pick by the Los Angeles Rams
Leo Sugar 1949-51 123rd Pick by the Chicago Cardinals

+ Defensive ends to start and win a Super Bowl.

Logos and uniforms

David Blough in the 2019 Purdue uniforms.

Purdue's colors are Old Gold and Black, as are its uniforms. Home uniforms are black with old gold numerals. On the shoulder is the player's number in old gold, and on the sleeve, there is an old gold stripe at the bottom. The pants are old gold with one black stripe along each side, with the Purdue train logo right above it. The helmet is old gold with a black stripe down the middle, a black facemask, and a black slanted "P" logo on each side. The away uniform is white with black numerals. The shoulders have black numerals on them, and the sleeve has a black stripe at the bottom. Both home and away jerseys sport the Purdue train logo in the center front of the collar, surrounded by a patch of black fabric. The away pants are black one old gold stripe on each side as well as the Purdue train logo. This uniform also features the old gold helmet used for the home uniform. Since 2013, Purdue has added in some alternate uniforms. Purdue has always had alternate uniforms utilizing black jerseys with black pants or white jerseys with old gold pants, but these uniforms always used the same old gold helmet. When Purdue updated its uniforms during Danny Hope's coaching time, they added white pants with a black stripe on each side and a train logo as well. These pants are usually seen accompanied by a white jersey, but Purdue wore them at home with their black jersey and gold helmet once in 2013. Also, in 2013, Purdue added a matte black helmet with gold railroad tracks that run down the middle of the helmet being wider in front and gradually narrowing to the back of the helmet where it ends and in its place is a train logo. The sides of the helmet also feature a gold slanted "P" logo on either side and a black facemask. This helmet was features at home in 2013 against the Ohio State Buckeyes with the default black jersey and pants. Purdue also wore this helmet as an away uniform with the default white jersey and black pants during the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game at Indiana. In 2014, the Boilermakers wore this helmet a couple of more times, namely when they played Notre Dame at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, when they wore it with default white jerseys and pants. They wore this same uniform combination at Indiana at the end of the year. In 2014, Purdue added no permanent uniforms, but they did have a couple special occasion helmets. In one game earlier in the year, they wore an old gold helmet with a black stripe down the middle and black facemask, but the slanted "P" logo was instead a black outline with pictures sent in by season ticket holders inside of it. In October, when the Boilers played Michigan State at home, they featured a matte black helmet with a lime green stripe down the middle, lime green slanted "P" logos, a large lime green cancer ribbon in the back, and the slogan "Hammer Down Cancer" at the back of the helmet. While, the jersey and pants were Purdue's default white for both, they also features lime green nike socks. Later in the season when they played Wisconsin at home, the Boilermakers used a matte black helmet with 3 stripes down the middle that were red, white, and blue in order with slanted "P" logos on the side that were filled with a waving American flag. The slogan at the bottom said "United" in red, "We" in white, and "Stand" in blue. This was worn with their default black jersey and pants. In 2015, Purdue added even more excitement to the uniforms. They have featured a white helmet with one side featuring the train logo in black and gold chrome with the other side featuring the player's number in black. There are two black stripes and a gold chrome stripe going down the middle, and the facemask is black with a gold chrome stripe in the middle where the stripe on the helmet continues. Also, Purdue added an Anthricite Gray alternate that used a dark gray helmet with light gray railroad tracks down the middle and a light gray slanted "P" logo on each side. The jerseys are dark gray with light gray numerals on the front and back, with light gray numerals on the shoulder and a light gray stripe at the bottom of the sleeve. Instead of the player's last name being features on the back of the jersey like all of the others do, this jersey says "BOILERMAKERS" in all black. The pants to this uniform are dark gray with a light gray stripe on each side and an alternate version of the train logo that uses only black and light gray. Against Indiana State, Purdue used a helmet similar to the one they wore in 2014 against Wisconsin but this time, the helmet was white with a black facemask. This was worn with the Anthricite gray jersey and pants. Since the arrival of Joe Tiller in 1997, Purdue players have not worn names on the backs of their jerseys. When Danny Hope took over in 2009, he added names to the backs of the jerseys.[]

Before Tiller, the team wore uniforms that sported the school's name across the front of the jersey, and the old gold color was more pronounced, with almost a copper hue. In Tiller's first season, the helmet color was lightened substantially, as was the gold used on the rest of the uniform.

Purdue's Pride sticker (given out for good performances) was the Purdue logo (locomotive). This was changed in 2006 to a sledgehammer with the slant "P" in the hammer's head (like the one wielded by mascot Purdue Pete). In the 2006 game against the Indiana State Sycamores, Purdue wore a throwback uniform from 1966, in honor of the 40th anniversary of the school's first Rose Bowl team. It featured a white jersey with two outer black stripes on the shoulder and one inner gold stripe. The numerals were black with no outline. The team wore gold pants with two black stripes on the sides, and the helmets were old gold with black numbers and one black stripe down the middle. The gold in the throwback uniforms was more yellow in hue than that in the regular 1997-present uniforms.

David Hedelin in the all-black Purdue uniforms.

In 2002, Purdue changed from its black home jersey to an old gold jersey. The old gold uniforms had white numerals and black outline for home games, and white uniforms with old gold numbers and back outline for away games. Some complained that the numerals on the jersey were too hard to see, so in 2003 they changed to an old gold jersey with black numerals outlined in white, and white pants with two black stripes down the sides. After losing their opening game at home to Bowling Green, Tiller and the team decided to dump the gold jerseys and go back to the black uniforms. After they changed back to the black uniforms, the team came out to "Back in Black" by AC/DC for every home game in 2003. Since then, Purdue has stayed with the black uniforms. In one game against Wisconsin in 2006, the Boilermakers wore the black jersey with black pants. They had not sported an all-black look at home since the last game of the season in 1996 against Indiana.

In 2009, Purdue also wore the Black on Black in a night game against Notre Dame on the Purdue Blackout, and then wore them for the remainder of their home games. In 2010, the Black on Black remained the normal home uniform with the exception being the Homecoming game against Minnesota where the team donned Throwback Uniforms for the 2001 Rose Bowl team. While the original jerseys were made by Champion, the replicas were Nike branded.

In 2013, Purdue designed a new black helmet that was used during the Ohio State and Indiana games. The all black helmet had a matte finish with a decal of train tracks down the center of the helmet, with the University's official athletic logo at the end of the tracks. Also on the helmet was the phrase "One Brick Higher", the motto coach Darrell Hazell had chosen for the season.[104] During the 2015 season, Purdue introduced a white helmet, as well as an anthracite gray uniform.

In 2016, Purdue announced that they would have a complete re-design of their uniforms for the 2016 season, using the motto, "Focus, Fight, Finish" for the three different designs.[105]

Final rankings

Purdue has finished a season ranked in the Associated Press (AP) poll on 17 occasions.[106] The Boilermakers have finished ranked amongst the top 10 in college football on five occasions. Purdue attained its highest-ever ranking in the polls during the preseason of the 1968 season, when they were ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll for 6 straight weeks before they lost to No. 4 Ohio State 0-13.[106][107] Since the implementation of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998, Purdue has finished the regular season ranked one time in the final BCS standings. While the Boilermakers are 54–175–5 against opponents ranked in the AP Poll, they have an all-time record of 111–65–10 when ranked in the AP Poll themselves.[108]

Season Record AP
1943 9-0 5
1952 4-3-2 18
1958 6-1-2 13
1960 4-4-1 19
1961 6-3 12
1966 9-2 7
1967 8-2 9
1968 8-2 10
1969 8-2 18
1978 9-2-1 13
1979 10-2 15
1980 9-3 17
1997 9-3 15
1998 9-4 24
1999 7-5 25
2000 8-4 13
2003 9-4 18


Purdue has knocked off the No. 1 ranked football team in college football seven times over the years--the third most of all the Division I teams in college football. Only Notre Dame and Oklahoma have accomplished this more times.[109] The first Spoilermaker game occurred in 1950 when Purdue broke Notre Dame's 39-game win streak.[110] In 1953, Purdue ended Michigan State's 28-game win streak with a 6-0 win.[111]

Date Opponent Location Score
October 7, 1950 No. 1 Notre Dame South Bend, Indiana 28-14
October 24, 1953 No. 1 Michigan State West Lafayette, Indiana 6-0
October 2, 1954 No. 1 Notre Dame South Bend, Indiana 27-14
November 12, 1960 No. 1 Minnesota Minneapolis, Minnesota 23-14
September 25, 1965 No. 1 Notre Dame West Lafayette, Indiana 25-21
September 30, 1967 No. 1 Notre Dame West Lafayette, Indiana 28-21
November 6, 1976 No. 1 Michigan West Lafayette, Indiana 16-14

Individual accolades

Heisman Trophy candidates

Bob Griese, two-time Heisman Trophy candidate and 1966 Sammy Baugh Trophy recipient

Purdue has produced eight Heisman Trophy candidates. Four Boilermakers, Bob Griese, Leroy Keyes, Mark Herrmann and Drew Brees have each been finalist for the award in two separate seasons.

Season Player Finish Votes
1943 Tony Butkovich 8th 65
1965 Bob Griese 8th 193
1966 Bob Griese 2nd 618
1967 Leroy Keyes 3rd 1,366
1968 Leroy Keyes 2nd 1,103
1969 Mike Phipps 2nd 1,334
1972 Otis Armstrong 8th 208
1979 Mark Herrmann 8th 54
1980 Mark Herrmann 4th 405
1985 Jim Everett 6th 77
1999 Drew Brees 4th 308
2000 Drew Brees 3rd 619

Major award winners

Seven Boilermaker players and coaches have won major college football awards.

Season Player Position Award
1966 Bob Griese QB Sammy Baugh Trophy
1969 Mike Phipps QB Sammy Baugh Trophy
1980 Mark Hermann QB Sammy Baugh Trophy
2000 Drew Brees QB Maxwell Award
Tim Stratton TE John Mackey Award
2001 Travis Dorsch P Ray Guy Award
2018 Rondale Moore WR Paul Hornung Award


A total of 50 Boilermakers have been recognized as All-Americans by various media selectors.[112] Among those selections, 20 have achieved Consensus All-American status. Of those consensus All-Americans, seven were unanimous selections.[113]

Purdue All-Americans
Season Name Pos.
1929 Elmer Sleight* OT
1929 Ralph Welch* FB
1931 Charles Miller C
1931 Paul Moss End
1932 Roy Horstmann FB
1932 Paul Moss# End
1933 Duane Purvis* RB
1934 Duane Purvis RB
1939 Dave Rankin End
1940 Dave Rankin* End
1943 Alex Agase* G
1943 Tony Butkovich FB
1944 Babe Dimancheff HB
1945 Tom Hughes T
1951 Leo Sugar DE
Season Name Pos.
1952 Bernie Flowers* End
1954 Tom Bettis G
1958 Tom Franckhauser CB
1958 Gene Selawski K
1960 Jerry Beabout TE
1962 Don Brumm T
1964 Harold Wells DE
1965 Bob Griese* QB
1965 Karl Singer OT
1965 Jerry Shay DT
1966 Jim Beirne End
1966 John Charles DB
1966 Bob Griese QB
1967 Leroy Keyes# HB
1968 Leroy Keyes# HB/DB
Season Name Pos.
1968 Chuck Kyle* G
1969 Tim Foley DB
1969 Mike Phipps# QB
1971 Tom Luken OG
1972 Otis Armstrong* HB
1972 Dave Butz* DT
1973 Carl Capria DB
1974 Larry Burton WR
1975 Ken Long OT
1975 Ken Novak DT
1979 Mark Herrmann QB
1980 Mark Herrmann# QB
1980 Dave Young# TE
1985 Rod Woodson DB
1986 Rod Woodson* DB
Season Name Pos.
1989 Shawn McCarthy P
1990 Steve Jackson DB
1995 Mike Alstott RB
1997 Brian Alford WR
1999 Drew Brees QB
2000 Drew Brees QB
2000 Matt Light OT
2001 Travis Dorsch* P
2003 Stuart Schweigert S
2004 Taylor Stubblefield# WR
2006 Anthony Spencer DE
2010 Ryan Kerrigan# DE
2018 Rondale Moore* WR/KR/PR
* - denotes Consensus All-Americans
# - denotes Unanimous All-Americans

Conference award winners

The following Boilermakers have been recognized with Big Ten Conference football individual awards.

Hall of Fame inductees

College Football Hall of Fame

Jack Mollenkopf, Purdue Head Coach (1955–69)

A total of 18 Boilermakers have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Pro Football Hall of Fame

Four Boilermakers hold the distinguished title of Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees.

Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame

Since its institution in 1994, the Purdue University Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame recognizes those participants that have helped elevate Boilermaker athletics into one of the most respected programs in the nation. Former athletes, coaches and administrators are eligible for selection 5 years following their association with Purdue athletics.[138] The following individuals have been inducted into the Purdue Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame for their contributions to the Boilermaker football program:

Boilermakers in professional football

Purdue has produced a total of 184 NFL draft selections.[139] The following "Active" and "All-Star" lists account for past and present Purdue University football players that have participated in the National Football League, the Canadian Football League, and the Arena Football League.


As of September 2020, there are a total of 16 Boilermakers listed on team rosters in the NFL,[140] and CFL[141]


Among the numerous Boilermakers that have participated in the NFL, CFL, and AFL, a total of 34 have received all-star recognition by their respective leagues.

Mike Alstott, Purdue's all-time leading rusher and six-time NFL Pro Bowl selection

NFL top 50 draft selections

Of Purdue's 185 players selected in the NFL Draft, 55 Boilermakers have been amongst the top 50 selections of the draft.[178]


All statistical records are courtesy of the Purdue Football Record Book unless otherwise cited. Statistics containing the "#" symbol denote NCAA FBS records.

Future non-conference opponents

Announced schedules as of December 2, 2020.[179]

There are no games scheduled for the 2032 season.

Radio network affiliates


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