September 7, 2012

A look back: Exclusive club

Whether it be Caleb TerBush, Robert Marve, Rob Henry or some combination thereof, they hope to join one of Purdue's most exclusive clubs: The quarterbacks who have led the Boilermakers to wins in South Bend. Dating back to 1950, here is our list of the men who have done it:

Dale Samuels: 1950
Samuels usually. blushes when he is asked to recall the 1950 win at Notre Dame. In the first century of Purdue football, the program probably didn't have a bigger win as it made the Boilermaker program a household name for ending the Irish' 39-game unbeaten string.

Still, the 5-foot-9, 168-pound sophomore helped Purdue shock the world by driving the Irish defenders dizzy with his "moving pocket." He threw for two touchdown passes in the game which was played in a light rain. This was not a great Purdue team as it finished only 2-7, yet it was one of Purdue's greatest moments in its football history.

Len Dawson: 1954, 1956
Dawson proved not once, but twice, that beating Notre Dame was good for the resume. In his sophomore season, he tossed four touchdown passes en route to a 27-14 win over the top-ranked Irish. The win was so monumental, that it caused Dawson to be named "The Golden Boy" only to spur on the creation of Purdue's now famous "Golden Girl" in the "All-American" Marching Band. It also stopped another 20 game Irish unbeaten string.

In '56, Dawson's numbers were not as spectacular, but the Boilermakers still pulled off the upset of No. 18 Notre Dame, winning 28-14. Fullback Mel Dillard was the star in this one, but two wins in South Bend, is nothing to sneeze at.

Ross Fichtner, Bob Spoo and Bernie Allen: 1958
Substitution rules were much different in the days on one-platoon football, and this allowed (or you could say forced) teams to play multiple quarterbacks. In this one, Purdue's ground game led by Bob "Horse" Jarus' three touchdowns turned the trick. The visitors pulled to a 26-7 lead before hanging on for deal life in the end to post a 29-22 win.

The '58 squad was the most recent Purdue team to suffer just one loss in a season and was none for its 5-4 defense and running game under third-year coach Jack Mollenkopf,

Maury Guttman and Bernie Allen: 1960
Playing on Yom Kippur, Guttman's Jewish faith was shelved for one Saturday afternoon as he and Allen helped the Boilermakers to a 51-19 win. Guttman tossed a 44-yard scoring pass to Don Elwell to start the scoring, but it was a 31-point onslaught in the span of just over 10 minutes that gave Purdue a shocking 45-13 lead at the intermission. The 45-points in a half is still the school standard for points in the opening 30 minutes, tied most recently in 2004 against Ball State.

It was Mollenkopf's fourth win in five games against the Irish, and allowed Allen to join Dawson as the only quarterbacks in school history to win at Notre Dame on separate occasions.

Ron DiGravio: 1962
Threw his steady hand, the junior quarterback played through injury and helped the Boilermakers build a 24-0 lead in front of a Notre Dame Stadium record crowd of 61,296. DiGravio hadn't worked out at the position for two weeks leading into the game as had his top receiver Forest Farmer. Yet, the duo set the tone on the opening drive with a 25-yard scoring pass and the Boilermakers coasted to a 24-6 win.

Despite all the wins over the Irish in the early days of the Mollenkopf Era, the Boilermaker program was having a hard time getting over the hump. The '62 squad finished 4-4-1, and left Purdue fans wondering if the Boilermakers would ever reach their desired destination: Pasadena.

Mike Phipps: 1968
You have to give an assist to backup Don Kiepert in this one, too, as Phipps was shelved for a good chunk of the first half after sustaining an ankle injury early in the game. Much like the 1960 game, the Boilermakers used a second quarter flurry to blow this game open. Phipps hit Bob Dillingham for a score, and Leroy Keyes passed (to Dillingham) and ran for a score.

In a game of teams ranked No. 1 in opposite polls, the '68 game might have been Purdue's pinnacle in football terms. It also helped Phipps to join an even more exclusive group: the first quarterback to defeat Notre Dame three straight times. It was a designation he held until Matt Leinert equaled the accomplishment nearly four decades later.

Mike Terrizzi, Mark Vitali: 1974
If there is one common theme to Purdue's victory under the Golden Dome, it is scoring in bunches. And this game was no different. The Boilermakers built a 24-0 lead in the first quarter, as Terrizzi opened the scoring on a 1-yard run with 11:13 left the opening period, before the flood gates really opened. Terrizzi completed just one pass in the game, but it was a big one to All-American Larry Burton, that led to that critical first touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback took over in the second quarter and while he didn't throw a lot (6-7, 79 yards), he was able to keep the defending national champion Irish at bay en route to the 31-20 win.

Kyle Orton: 2004
This time, the Boilermakers waited until the third quarter to put the big hurt on the Irish. Yes, Purdue led 20-3 at the half, but it was Orton's 97-yard pass to Taylor Stubblefield early in the third quarter that started the one-sided victory.

As most Purdue fans know, Orton was one of the hottest quarterbacks in the country at the time, completing 21-of-31 passes in the game for 385 yards and ending what was a 30-year drought for the Purdue program in South Bend.

Now the question is, can the 2012 quarterbacks put an end to a skid that is about a third as long?

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