Heisman Trophy Showdown ’99 took place in West Lafayette, Indiana. From Wisconsin was Ron Dayne who needed only 321 yards to become the nation’s all time leading rusher surpassing the mark set by Ricky Williams who won the coveted prize last season. From Purdue came Drew Brees who electrifies audiences with a consistent arm and fantastic mobility. They meet at Ross-Ade Stadium in an integral matchup in the Big Ten.
Purdue is looking for New Year’s Day bowl bids while Wisconsin is still gunning for the conference title. The probability of this goal has heightened as well with the Golden Gophers stunning the #2 Penn State Nittany Lions earlier in the day. Senior day at Purdue provided further special meaning for the Boilers while the band, Boilermaker Pete, and the Boiler Express kicked off the festivities. Wisconsin partisans made their presence known looking like a bright red sore mark amongst the black and gold.
With Joe Tiller’s “basketball on grass” offense and Drew Brees as the engineer, the Boilers have become challenging to defend. Teams must keep them off guard by finding several different ways to dent the endzone. Wisconsin managed just that by scoring four touchdowns and all by separate means. Quarterback Brooks Bollinger tossed the first one, while Nick Davis returned at 90 yard kickoff to nab the second. Ron Dayne chugged 53 yards to put up the third while Jamar Fletcher intercepted a Drew Brees pass and returned it 30 yards for the final touchdown. Fletcher did the same thing to Brees last year causing nightmares for him. Dayne managed a whopping 222 yards becoming second only to Ricky Williams now.
The excitement of beating an excellent Purdue team with intimidating surroundings gave Badger fans the sense that Wisconsin’s number ten ranking was deserved. Ross-Ade Stadium is loud with the students flailing their gold paraphernalia while the band thunders “Hail Purdue” at a decibel level that reaches the state borders.
With 99 yards for Dayne to reach the record and one win away from at least guaranteeing a tie for the Big Ten title, it seemed like Wisconsin was setting up for a very memorable upcoming weekend…