Oklahoma State football: Purdue is far from a 'gimmee' for the Cowboys
Boilermakers had unbeatens Notre Dame and Ohio State on the ropes before losing
DALLAS — Major-college football has just two undefeated teams remaining. Purdue had both on the ropes.
The Boilermakers lost 20-17 at Notre Dame on Sept. 8, when the Irish kicked a field goal with seven seconds left.
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Purdue also lost 29-22 in overtime at Ohio State on Oct. 20, after the Buckeyes drove 61 yards to a touchdown and tying two-point conversion in the final 47 seconds of regulation.
So when Purdue defensive tackle Kawann Short offers this cliché — “We can compete with anyone in the nation.” — he at least has some evidence.
But Purdue failed to consistently sustain those kinds of inspired performances. The 6-6 Boilermakers, who play Oklahoma State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on Tuesday, became bowl eligible only by winning three straight to end the season.
Of Purdue's victories, five came against opponents that finished with a losing record (Eastern Michigan, Marshall, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana) and one came against I-AA Eastern Kentucky.
The 6-6 finish cost coach Danny Hope his job. Purdue will be led by interim coach Patrick Higgins for the bowl game. Beat Notre Dame or Ohio State — or heavens both — and Hope probably would have kept his job.
“We felt like we could have had an impact on our season,” Short said of pulling a big upset. “We would have changed our season tremendously.”