Friday, September 30, 2005

Varmint Victory | by Jay

If you missed Purdue's 42-35 overtime loss to the Golden Gophers last week, here's a pretty good article from's Matthew Zemek, wherein he details the cat-and-mouse game of adjustments between the two coaching staffs. It gets a little fawning, but it's a pretty good read.

Trailing 35-28 after one possession in OT, the Gophers had to get seven or lament a devastating defeat. Browning was right back under the gun after having to direct Cupito through a tying TD drive and two-point play. Once again, he had to come up with something fresh under pressure, and once again, Browning delivered. He used a bubble screen to get close to the Purdue goal line, but after a few plays got blown up by Spack’s aggressive defense, the Gophers faced 4th and goal at the 8. What was an offensive coordinator to do?

Browning had the answer.

Realizing that Spack’s defense was aggressive, and also knowing how effective the bubble screen had just begun to be for his offense, Browning used a tripps formation that initiated bubble screen-like action on the part of the slot receiver, only for another pass catcher—Logan Payne, who was set farther to the outside—to break inside while Purdue’s defense flowed to the edges. Payne got wide open, and Cupito made the easy throw for the tying touchdown. Just for good measure, Browning successfully used another bubble screen in the second overtime, but it was that 4th and goal call—which took previous play calls into consideration and manipulated tendencies—that was his greatest stroke of genius.

Lockwood. Chaney. Tiller. Spack. And especially Mitch Browning. All five of these men distinguished themselves in a game for the creative, thinking football fan. The sport to which these guys have given their lives was honored by their efforts on Saturday in the Metrodome. It was an absolute pleasure to watch, so beautiful and artistic that the only thing missing from this contest was a PBS pledge drive at halftime.
On a different note, if you're a masochist, and you'd like to relive some highlights from last year's 41-16 embarrassment, check out this video clip compilation put together by a Purdue fan. (Be sure to turn the volume down -- the music's terrible.) The 2:50 mark is particularly vomit-inducing.

As Charlie said in his presser a couple days ago, last year's game was "just painful".