EXT. ROSS-ADE STADIUM - NIGHT
The stadium lights are strobing, fireworks go off in the night sky. Fans pour onto the field. We see a fast moving stream of Black and Gold take up the screen. Purdue players are being swarmed with quarterback David Blough raising his HELMET into the air.
Camera cuts to Tom Rinaldi, holding his microphone up to coach Jeff Brohm, who himself is holding the GAME BALL. They are near midfield.
Rinaldi: Coach, what does this win against the No. 2 team in the country mean?
Brohm: Tom, it means the world. This team began 0-3, and has turned everything around. I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished and—
Brohm looks out over the crowd and sees Tyler Trent toward one of the end zones.
Brohm: Tom, I gotta go.
Sprinting passed the mob, Brohm meets Trent. The Boilermaker sound effect continuously goes off. “We Want Bama” chants are heard in the background.
Tyler: Congrats, coach! And thank you—
Brohm: No. Thank you, Tyler. We wouldn’t have been able to win this game without you. Here’s the game ball.
Camera focuses on scuffed football. There’s a Purdue emblem embedded on the leather. Tyler takes the ball, flips it to the side with the emblem, studying it. He looks back up and Brohm, eyes meeting.
Brohm: No matter what happens from here on out, you will always be a Boilermaker. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Boiler Up!
Tyler: Boiler Up!
We see the whole stadium from the sky. The field is basically filled with Black and Gold, the stadium announcer can be heard faintly, telling people the final score.
Stadium Announcer: The final score. Ohio State, 20, your Purdue Boilermakers, 49. [Voice begins to fade]. Please be cautious on while leaving of the stadium, and take Northwestern Avenue out of stadium parking. Thank you for your support of Purdue athletics.
Mark Rylance as Tom Rinaldi
Les Miles as Jeff Brohm
Freddie Highmore as Tyler Trent
That’s not what exactly happened at the end of the game, but like all Hollywood movies, some creative liberties had to be taken. However, the basis of the story is still true: an unbeaten juggernaut, the Ohio State Buckeyes, were stifled by the up-start Purdue Boilermakers, a team that lost their first three games in close, heartbreaking fashion before winning four in a row. On top of that, one of their biggest fans, Tyler Trent, was there to take in the biggest win in Purdue history since their toppling of Ohio State in 1984 — when the Buckeyes were also ranked No. 2.
If you didn’t catch the story of Tyler Trent on Saturday’s edition of ESPN’s “College GameDay,” it is one that will bring a tear (or many tears) to your eye. Trent had bone cancer that went into remission. Then four months before starting his college career at Purdue, the cancer reemerged.
Trent vowed to go to school, and did just that. He attended Boilermaker football games, and camped out for one of them, where he ran into Brohm. From there, a relationship formed between Tyler and the football program. I’m giving you a very CliffsNotes version of the story. If you want the whole thing, you can catch it below.
Though it was a nightmare for Ohio State and their fans, it was a Hollywood-esque ending for Purdue. Not only did they win a game they weren’t supposed to win — they were nearly 14-point underdogs — but they dismantled the Buckeye defense in front of a national audience en route to a 29-point blowout.
David Blough put on a passing clinic, and wide receiver Rondale Moore showed that he is the real deal. So much of a real deal that a Goliath like OSU had no answer for how to stop him, and in the final four minutes, had no answer for how to tackle him, or anyone for that matter.
Did Ohio State deserve to lose this game? Yes.
Did Purdue deserve to win this game? You bet.
But in seasons past, Ohio State has been able to escape these kind of games with wins, perilous as they might be. Well, the big ones at least. The last two meetings with Penn State and the 2016 edition of “The Game” with Michigan were contests that seemed to be Ls for the Buckeyes early on.
But, by strokes of fortune and mismanagement by the opposing coaches, Urban Meyer and his squad pulled those smoldering Ls out of the fire before they could be applied to the Bucks’ loss column.
Just like Iowa last season, the sleepwalking got to the Buckeyes — leaving them exposed. But all is not lost. An 11-1 Ohio State team would still give them the Big Ten East crown, and a win in the Big Ten Championship Game would still give credence to OSU’s playoff aspirations.
But, the loss to Purdue is still a doozy. In the grand scheme of things, though, it makes sense.
If the higher authorities of life summoned me and asked me for what changes I would make in life, I would have a simple one: before any one passes on, they get to either see their team win a championship, or if that’s not feasible, they at least get to witness their team win a game where they were heavy underdogs.
Ohio State has had a slew of games in just the Meyer era to reminisce upon. For Purdue, this was their big one.
This was a case of life imitating art, and even though OSU lost big time, I’m okay with it.
Speaking of Hollywood...
In a change of pace, Nebraska finally got their first win of the season. Now, this movie would be nowhere close to what Purdue pulled off, but it would be a good B-list movie that you’d see in the deep recesses of Netflix. I’d probably still watch it, though.
Scott Frost finally got his first win at his alma mater. And while it took seven tries to get there, he still got there. Minnesota squandered last week’s game to Ohio State, and the football gods were going to taketh away even more this week. The Huskers stockpiled 53 points on the Gophers, which really makes you think how inefficient the Buckeye offense really is.
I’ve been incredibly hard on Frost. Even people in the comments have even told me that I’m a little too hard on him and the program.
Nebraska used to be one of the darlings of the college football world. The empire that they built was fortified in the 1990s with national titles. Now, they’ve struggled to piece together campaigns that even include bowl trips. The empire’s walls have, figuratively, been overrun with ivy. A new college football fan would be shocked to turn the pages and realize that Nebraska was once a power, and be even more shocked at how fast they degraded.
Frost had a tough job out of the gate, but he’s doing the best that he can. I hope Nebraska turns into a perpetual 10-win team with him at the helm. With Bethune-Cookman this week, the Huskers will more than likely enter the Horseshoe on Nov. 3 with two wins. The downside, though, is that Ohio State will be out for blood — looking for redemption after the idle week.
Paul Bunyan’s Great Michigan Adventure
The last four games between Michigan State and Michigan have been alternating wins. Meaning that the Paul Bunyan Trophy has been traveling back and forth between East Lansing and Ann Arbor.
On Saturday, an hour and 15 minute weather day pushed the battle of Spartans and Wolverines way out into the 3:30 p.m. ET broadcast window. Nothing you can do when the weather won’t cooperate, but man, poor Washington-Colorado, a 3:30 ET kickoff game, got pushed from Fox to Fox Business Channel until the conclusion of the Mitten State game. That’s some disrespekt.
Speaking of disrespekt, we had some before the weather delay in East Lansing — and even before kickoff.
This wasn’t unprovoked, as the Spartans went onto the field arms linked and basically clotheslined some UM players.
Michigan & Michigan State got hot including the Spartans logo getting scuffed pre-game pic.twitter.com/hjOwi0HvS8— Fanatics View (@fanaticsview) October 20, 2018
Long story short: Michigan won 21-7, and Jim Harbaugh and Mark Dantonio played games of he said-he said in the post game presser about the incident. This is what happens in a rivalry. Actually, this is probably par for the course for those coaches, rivalry or not.
UM is now a top-5 team, which means that the incredible late-season blunder is on the horizon. They did this two seasons ago when they fell to Iowa and Ohio State within a three-week period. Michigan has an idle week before hosting Penn State, but they are still on upset alert when the Nittany Lions travel to Ann Arbor. The Wolverines control their own destiny for the College Football Playoff, and things won’t get any easier from here on out.