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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 6

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 26, ISSUE 6 69 BY ALAN KARPICK I t's been 50 years. And as hard as it may be to believe that it has been that long since Purdue made its first trip to the Rose Bowl, it is equally hard for those that were around at the time to believe the Boilermakers ever made it to Pasa- dena. If you set the way-back machine to the summer of 1966, you would see a Purdue fanbase that had grown restless, tired of close-but-no-cigar experiences in try- ing to make college football's promised land. Without social media and message boards in 1966, fans showed their displeasure in smaller groups with no convenient public mouthpiece like the Internet. Still, not long before the '66 season, a group of so-called Boil- ermaker fans gathered together in the shadows of Ross- Ade Stadium to hang Coach Jack Mollenkopf in effigy in a demonstration of disapproval. Yes, that Jack Mollenkopf. The Hall of Fame coach that Purdue's football facility is named after. The one whose 84 wins set the standard until Joe Til- ler broke it 39 years after Mollenkopf retired from the sidelines. You see, the Boilermakers had been close to earning a trip to the Rose Bowl on several occasions during Mol- lenkopf's head coaching tenure. Under Mollenkopf, who became the head man in 1956, the Boilermakers were knocking at the door of greatness often but had a nasty habit of losing or tying late-season games that would serve as elimi- nators from earning a spot in "The Granddaddy Of Them All." And it happened more than once. In 1958, Purdue finished with a 6-1-2 record, its most recent one- loss season. Yet two ties late in the season ended any hopes of a Big Ten crown. In '59, the Boilermakers were run- ners-up and even beat champ Wis- consin, but a tie with Iowa and loss at Michigan State in the last month doomed them. The pressure mounted even more for Mollenkopf in 1964 and '65. Sophomore quarterback Bob Griese had the '64 Boil- ermakers atop the standings with three weeks to go before setbacks at Michigan State and Minnesota kept Purdue home for the holidays. In '65, Purdue climbed to No. 1 in the coaches' poll after beating No. 1 Notre Dame in Week 2 and was look- ing like a strong contender for the league title before it suffered one of the most gut-wrenching losses in its PRESENTS: PURDUE'S GREATEST STORIES, TRADITIONS AND PEOPLE Improbable Journey Golden Rose Bowl anniversary brings back memories The Triple XXX Family Restaurants Salute Purdue's Great Icons, like Duane Purvis! Indiana's Oldest Drive-In On the Hill, But on the Level Since 1929 Bob Mitchell Perry Williams scored both of Purdue's touchdowns in the 1967 Rose Bowl. The Boilermakers' appearance marked the end of a long and often frustrating journey.

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