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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 6

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Page 64 of 117

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 6 65 P R E S E N T S T H E 5 0 - Y E A R A N N I V E R S A R Y O F T H E 1 9 6 7 B I G T E N T R I - C H A M P S Alan Karpick "W e were two plays away from it." That is quarterback Mike Phipps' recollection about how close Purdue came to winning a national championship in football. Mistakes on those two plays and 13 points separat- ed Purdue from a perfect season, and what would have likely been a national crown. Still, the 1967 team made history, doing something Purdue has only done three times in the modern era of college football (post-World War II), and that is win a Big Ten title. It finished with an 8-2 overall record, 6-1 in the Big Ten. This fall commemorates the 50th anniversary of that '67 team, which will be honored Sept. 23 on Homecoming. It is a group of guys not prone to boast about their accomplishments on and off the football field. And those personal and professional achievements have been many. They have gone on to be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, successful coaches and, from the sounds of things, lived pretty happy, fulfilled lives. "You just couldn't have had a better group of people to call teammates," said Jim Bonk, a starting offensive tackle in '67 who is still very involved with Purdue ath- letics despite living in Virginia. "All these years later, many of us remain close. The wins and losses fade a bit, but the memories of the friendships persist. But don't get me wrong — we haven't forgotten what went on on the field too, and most of that was really special." One could argue the 1966 or 2000 teams were better, because they made the Rose Bowl. But here's the rub: The Boilermakers weren't eligi- ble for the Rose Bowl in 1967 because of the Big Ten's no-repeat rule at the time, which didn't allow teams to go to back-to-back Rose Bowls. That rule didn't go by the wayside until a decade later, and, at about the same Nationally Relevant Champs Purdue's best chance at winning it all was 50 years ago Purdue The 1967 Big Ten champion Boilermakers have remained a close- knit group for the past 50 years. They will be honored on Home- coming on Sept. 23 in Ross-Ade Stadium.

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