May 28, 2010

10 Minutes Or Less: 2000 Penn State vs. Purdue (Drew Brees Is Foiled Again)

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Here's a little treat for you this Memorial Day weekend: One of the most emotional victories in Penn State football history. It's hard to believe this was ten years ago already, even though many of us can recall this one as if it happened last season. I can still recall the "WE BELIEVE" signs being held up by the fans throughout Beaver Stadium as the team was not only struggling through what would turn out to be its first of four losing seasons during the first half of the 2000's (better known in the PSU football lexicon as "The Dark Years") but also grieving over the recently fallen Adam Taliaferro. While we all know Adam's story has a happy ending (Adam would go on to lead the team out of the tunnel in their 2001 season opener, graduate from PSU, and obtain his JD from Rutgers. He is now a practicing attorney in Philadelphia), it was still uncertain at this point whether he would ever walk again.

I can also recall watching Gameday that morning and hearing Kirk Herbstreit predict that Purdue's Heisman Trophy-candidate quarterback Drew Brees would have a "field day" against PSU's secondary*. As we all know though, Herbie turned out to be dead wrong as Brees was limited that day to rather pedestrian passing numbers. Just like in 1999, Brees had an opportunity to quarterback a game-winning drive for Purdue in the game's final minute but came up short once again. While it would be foolish to claim that this one game alone killed Brees' Heisman hopes, it surely had to have some sort of impact on the Heisman voters when December rolled around...Okay, perhaps not, but it certainly lends credence to the phrase "Happy Valley: Where Heisman Dreams Go To Die."

Unlike Bald Bull in "Mike Tyson's Punch-Out," stepping out of the way from Derek Wake's bull-charge only makes things worse.

Undoubtedly the most memorable part of this game are the back-to-back botched punts by Purdue's Travis Dorsch that occurred deep in Purdue territory, thanks to linebacker Derek Wake's bull-charging past Purdue's blockers, getting to Dorsch before he even had a chance to get into his punting motion. These two gaffes made all the difference in the game, as PSU took advantage of the short field, scoring touchdowns in both instances and hanging on for the 22-20 decision in their favor.

I don't want to get too entrenched into details, that's what the video is for. Make sure you don't exit out of the video early, lest you miss a rare instance of Joe Paterno choking up during a post-game interview...Happy Memorial Day.

* Remember, this was long before Herbie came out of the closet as a PSU fan.

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  1. These are incredible videos man. Keep them coming. A lot of these games are just in our memories and it's great to see them again. On another note, you can see that Joe is much more than just a football coach.

  2. Just you wait... it's only going to get better!

  3. Thanks Matthew, I always enjoy putting these old game clips together. It helps me to re-piece some fuzzy memories of games that I remember watching when I was younger. As Mike said, there's more to come. We plan on making this a regularly occurring segment during the season.

  4. Maybe at some point you can make a highlight tape of the great plays that happened in losses as well, e.g. Zemaitis' pick-6 against Ohio State in 2003. I'd also like to see the Northwestern game from 2001.