ore of the same for Purdue’s QB

Sarah Mitchell

Boilermakers tight end Tim Stratton was unmoved.
Signal caller Drew Brees had just thrown for 409 yards and two touchdowns and was the game’s leading rusher, carrying 12 times for 88 yards in Purdue’s 38-24 home defeat of Minnesota. Along the way, Brees set two school records, two Big Ten records and two personal bests.
What did this mean to Stratton?
“To be honest with you, not a whole lot,” Stratton said.
No smile. No emotion.
Stratton did agree Brees’ numbers were an accomplishment. But Stratton — and everyone else who watches college football — has come to expect no less from Purdue’s quarterback.
“I get a little frustrated because we’re to the point where we expect him to be perfect and that’s not fair to the individual,” Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller said.
The Gophers have also come to expect — and fear — Brees’ near-perfection.
The last time Minnesota traveled to Purdue was in 1998 for Brees’ conference debut. Brees threw a wild coming out party, completing 31 of 36 passes for 522 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Last season, Minnesota’s defense played man-to-man and found some success. Brees was 28-of-41 for 238 yards and no interceptions.
All told, Brees has thrown for 1269 yards and 10 touchdowns against Minnesota, including Saturday’s game. Add a running touchdown to cement his final drubbing of Minnesota, and the Gophers are glad one thing will finally stop Brees: graduation.
On Saturday, the Gophers defense came out in similar style to the last year’s game, preferring to drop most of their men deep. This forced the quick releasing Brees to be more patient in scanning the field for the open receiver.
“He showed greater patience (Saturday) than he has any time since he has been at Purdue in terms of throwing the football,” Tiller said. “I thought he actually played one of his better games considering the way we were being defended.”
Brees was a tornado. The senior accounted for 497 of the Boilermakers 531 yards total offense while rewriting the Purdue and Big Ten record books.
In the first quarter, Brees became Purdue’s career passing touchdowns leader with 72. The record breaker — a 21-yarder to senior wide receiver Vinny Sutherland — put Brees ahead of former record holder March Herrmann (1977-80).
In the second quarter, Brees’ 8-yard pass completion to freshman wide receiver Andre Henderson set a new Big Ten record. It was Brees’ 798th career completion, breaking a mark held by Illinois’ Jack Trudeau (1981-85).
Also in the second quarter, Brees broke free for a 27-yard run, the longest of his career. By games end, Brees rushed for 88 yards against Minnesota, also a career best.
In the third quarter, Brees broke Purdue and the Big Ten career passing attempts records with his 1,310th toss. Once again he surpassed Harrmann.
By the game’s end, Brees had thrown for 409 yards. This was the 21st time he passed for 250-plus yards in a game, breaking Jim Everett’s (1981-85) Purdue record.
“I heard them announce them during the game, but after the game I forgot what they were because I was trying to play the game,” Brees said.
“I guess as far as production is concerned, breaking the touchdown mark that’s meaningful because that’s productive. That means I was doing my job.”
Luckily for the Gophers, Saturday was the last time Brees will do his job against them.
For Brees, his games against Minnesota are just typical.
“I was just trying to put the ball on the numbers and make some plays,” Brees said.

Sarah Mitchell covers football and welcomes comments at [email protected]