In a stunning Week 10 upset victory against Michigan State, Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell delivered one of the best single-game performances in Purdue history.
Where does that rank him among the best Purdue quarterbacks? Let’s dig into the history and look at the players who’ve made the Purdue Boilermakers the darlings of the college football betting world.
1. Drew Brees
There’s little doubt about who is the greatest Purdue quarterback of all time. Drew Brees is not only a Purdue legend but an NFL great.
Brees became the record holder of all the crucial Purdue and Big Ten passing records during his dynamic college football career. In addition, he remains the Big Ten leader in completions, touchdowns, and passing yards.
Brees’ talent was always apparent, but his big-game acumen shone through during a stretch in his senior year where the Boilermakers defeated Michigan, Northwestern, Wisconsin, and Ohio State.
He threw for a staggering 12 touchdowns and 1,255 yards through those games and led Purdue to a Rose Bowl. He also won the 2000 Maxwell Award and Big Ten MVP honors.
2. Bob Griese
You might be familiar with Bob Griese as the quarterback of the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins. And yes, he was the epitome of a field general for those teams.
Griese’s years as the Boilermakers signal-caller remain some of most electrifying in school history. A stud athlete, Griese handled quarterback, kicking, and punting duties during his tenure.
An All-American and Heisman Trophy runner-up, Griese still ranks 10th in Purdue Boilermakers stats for quarterbacks.
3. Mark Herrmann
Mark Herrmann was the first quarterback in NCAA football history to throw for 8,000 yards. He was also the first to throw for 9,000 yards. He finished his Purdue career with a total of 9,946 yards and 71 touchdown passes.
Herrmann’s time as a Purdue Boilermaker was one of great individual and team success. He served as a unanimous first-team All-American and won the MVP award for three bowl games.
4. Jim Everett
Next on the list is Mark Herrmann’s backup, Jim Everett. A talented passer, Everett had to wait for three seasons to see any game action.
He didn’t disappoint once he received his first opportunity. Everett’s first game in 1984 was a massive upset victory against an intimidating Notre Dame squad.
Everett never let up. Despite only starting for two full seasons, Jim Everett threw for 7,411 yards and 43 touchdowns.
5. Kyle Orton
Losing a legend like Drew Brees to the NFL is a good reason for a program to take a step backward. Luckily for Purdue, they are the “Cradle of Quarterbacks,” and they had a young star waiting to step in.
Kyle Orton had the unenviable task of living in Brees’ shadow, but he never flinched. As a result, he ranks sixth in school history for both passing yards and touchdowns.
He’s also remembered for his legendary toughness. During the 2004 Capital One Bowl, he completed 20 passes, threw for a TD, and rushed for two more in defeat.
It’s a worthy performance, but legendary because Orton did all that with a dislocated thumb, a broken rib, and a sprained toe.
The Best Purdue Quarterbacks
Aidan O’Connell’s place among the best Purdue quarterbacks is still in question. But, if he leads the Boilermakers to an upset victory against Ohio State in Week 11, he’ll earn his place among these legendary players.
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