Supporting Purdue football has been a frustrating endeavor. Fan interest is waning, optimism is fleeting, and the stadium is becoming bereft of spirit – there just isn’t enough coal in the boiler.
Aside from an unexpected encounter with legendary former basketball coach Gene Keady at book signing, today’s atmosphere began like any other at Purdue. From the crack of dawn, Chauncey Hill was alive with costumed fans filling the bars for the traditional “Breakfast Club.” The Boilermaker Special, World’s Largest Drum, and Purdue’s talented All American Marching Band generated thrills outside of Ross-Ade Stadium, but it just didn’t translate to jubilation on the field. The early 6-0 Boilermaker lead wouldn’t be enough to hold off the powerful Gopher rushing attack that amassed 326 yards and buried Purdue for a 41-13 victory. Minnesota’s offense had been inept the past few games providing Purdue with some hope to capitalize on their misfortune. Instead, the Boilers helped the Gophers find their rhythm.
Playing the role of underdog can provide motivation as it offers an opportunity to hush the naysayers. But, as the losses pile upon the heap, the experience can grow fatiguing for players and fans – an emptying stadium in the fourth quarter is the visual.
On our way out of town the day after the game, we enjoyed breakfast at the iconic Triple XXX Family Restaurant – a celebrated diner that has been a fixture on campus since 1929. I ordered the “Drew Brees First Choice”, and it got me thinking – Purdue isn’t that far removed from having teams in the Top 25 with players celebrated enough to have their own meal at the school’s most well-known eatery. The Lafayette area is such a unique gem in the midwest, and Purdue deserves to have its rich history restored once again through gridiron prosperity. Bang that drum and BOILER UP!