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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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Page 15 of 81

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 16 Senior captain Phillips, who, like Mahoungou, lost his starting job midseason, had a career day in the bowl game (14 catches, 149 yards, two TDs, all Purdue postseason re- cords). And Sindelar may have saved his best for last — though he was crucial in that comeback victory against Minnesota, too. Despite playing with a torn ACL in his left knee over the final three-and-a-half games — he got hurt in the first half against Northwestern, his first game as a starter after taking over for the injured Blough — Sindelar completed 60 percent of his passes for 1,192 yards and 12 touchdowns with only two interceptions. And those kind of efforts helped Purdue's offense do just enough. And those efforts, along with the defense's performance, along with Tony Levine's creativity on special teams — punter Joe Schopper completed two passes this season and also ran for a first down on a fake — led Purdue here. It had Bentley talking after it was all finished about a "storybook" season. A 7-6 season qualifies as storybook? For these players, the ones who'd labored in vain, as Ezechukwu said, for three, four seasons, even five sea- sons? Yes, it does. "It was like a fairytale to me," said Knox, who just fin- ished his fourth season in the program and will be back for Year 5. "Nobody really expected too much at the beginning of the season. Everybody was like, 'Hmm, this is going to be interesting to see.' But I felt like after the Louisville game (in Week 1), everybody was like, 'Maybe these guys want to play some football now.' We're just trying to prove the world wrong. Not just working for everybody else, but for self-sat- isfaction, too, as far as everybody on the team, just knowing we're good enough to do what we need to do. "Once we accepted the coaching and just followed the leadership, it pretty much just took us wherever we needed to go. We still have big steps to take. In the end, I'm pretty sure everybody wants a national championship. You don't start every season off like, 'OK, we're going to run this last gasser so we can be 6-6.' Nobody trains to be 6-6. We don't break it down (in the huddle) on '.500.' Nobody trains to be second place. "I see the potential, especially with the new facilities and the new coaches and the coaching that they give to the players, I don't see why this can't be a place with a national championship in the near future. I definitely feel like if Coach Brohm stays down with the program, this could be a dynasty. Dynasty. Maybe? Hopefully so." j The Best Purdue Sports Information On The Web • Real-time recruiting • Game stories, analysis and blogs • Premium message boards • Video, audio, live stream events and more • Exclusive access to premium information Part of the network Note: is a separate subscription than your subscription to Gold & Black Illustrated/Gold and Black EXPRESS. Free trials available! It's All On

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