The Journey Continues, Part 5 Of Ross-Ade Stadium

By: Kenny Thompson

This is part 5 of a series celebrating 100 seasons of Purdue football at Ross-Ade Stadium.

The best decade of football in Purdue history, the 1960s saw Purdue not only share a Big Ten championship but also reach the Rose Bowl for the first time.

Jack Mollenkopf’s teams went 8-2 against Indiana and 7-3 against Notre Dame. Just as phenomenal was the Boilermakers’ success against Michigan. Following a 1962 home victory against the Wolverines, Purdue won the next four matchups from 1963-66 at Ann Arbor.

A composite record of 65-28-3 in the decade propelled Mollenkopf to his eventual election to the College Football Hall of Fame. Joining him there from the 1960s were Leroy Keyes, Bob Griese and Mike Phipps.

That decade of success paved the way for the greatest recruiting class in Purdue football history. Among the freshmen enrolled in 1969 were future NFL first-round draft picks Dave Butz (5th), Otis Armstrong (9th) and Darryl Stingley (19th). Gary Hrivnak (2nd round), Steve Baumgartner (2nd round), Gregg Bingham (4th round), Brent Myers (6th round) and Donn Smith (7th round) also saw time in the NFL. Quarterback Gary Danielson went undrafted but played 13 seasons with Detroit and Cleveland.


Best Ross-Ade games of the 1960s

Oct. 15, 1960: Purdue 24, No. 3 Ohio State 21 – Willie Jones rushed for three touchdowns, and Bernie Allen’s 32-yard field goal proved to be the game winner.

Oct. 28, 1961: Purdue 9, No. 5 Iowa 0 – With Bob DeMoss coaching in place of hospitalized Jack Mollenkopf, the Boilermakers shut out the Hawkeyes for the first time in 79 games.

Ron DiGravio scored on a 1-yard sneak in the first quarter and Skip Ohl added a 27-yard field goal in the third quarter on a rainy afternoon.

Sept. 25, 1965: No. 6 Purdue 25, No. 1 Notre Dame 21 – Bob Griese became a great quarterback on this day, completing 19 of 22 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns.

“This was the finest passing performance I’ve ever seen,” Notre Dame coach Ara Parseghian said afterward.

The completion percentage (.864), and 322 yards of total offense were among four Purdue records Griese established. Gordon Teter’s 3-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the difference.

Nov. 19, 1966: No. 10 Purdue 51, Indiana 6 – A 34-point second quarter left no doubt that the Boilermakers would wrap up their first trip to the Rose Bowl.

Purdue led 7-0 after the first quarter on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Bob Griese to Jim Finley. The lead was 41-0 at halftime thanks to touchdown runs by Griese and Leroy Keyes plus touchdown passes of 67 yards to Bob Baltzell and 10 yards to Jim Beirne. Keyes also threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Beirne.

Sept. 30, 1967: No. 10 Purdue 28, No. 1 Notre Dame 21 – Sophomore quarterback Mike Phipps was on the cover of Sports Illustrated following this victory after combining with Notre Dame’s Terry Hanratty to throw a stadium record 98 passes.

Phipps was 14 of 24 for 238 yards, including the game-winning 31-yard touchdown pass to Bob Baltzell. Perry Williams ran for two scores, and Leroy Keyes caught an 11-yard touchdown pass from Phipps.

Nov. 23, 1968: No. 12 Purdue 38, Indiana 35 – With Jack Mollenkopf sidelined due to illness, Bob DeMoss coached the Boilermakers to victory in the final game for Leroy Keyes, Perry Williams and other key members of the Rose Bowl squad.

Keyes scored the game-winning touchdown on a 1-yard run with 95 seconds to play. He accounted for four touchdowns and 289 yards of total offense. Keyes became the first Boilermaker to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and finished with 2,090 for his career.

Oct. 4, 1969: No. 8 Purdue 36, No. 17 Stanford 35 – Mike Phipps outdueled Stanford’s Jim Plunkett, completing 28 of 39 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns. All four of those figures broke Purdue records.

Phipps pulled Purdue within 35-34 late in the game on a 14-yard TD pass to Stanley Brown. Coach Jack Mollenkopf went for the win, and Phipps passed to Greg Fenner for the two-point conversion.

“There was a little bit of luck there,” Phipps said in 1998. “I scrambled and threw across the grain, which is not a good idea.”

Plunkett, who would win the Heisman Trophy in 1970, was 23 of 46 for 355 yards and four touchdowns.

“It was probably one of the most exciting games I ever played in,” Phipps said.


Top players of 1960s Ross-Ade

Bob Griese – The future College and Pro Football Hall of Famer almost didn’t play quarterback at Purdue.

Assistant coach Bob DeMoss, who knew a thing or two about throwing the football, struggled to correct Griese’s wobby passes during his freshman season. So, DeMoss turned to his old coach, Cecil Isbell. The former Green Bay Packers record-holder watched Griese throw two passes on film.

“Turn it off,” Isbell said to DeMoss. “Here’s what’s wrong with him. He’s not turning his wrist out.”

DeMoss put Griese in front of a mirror and had him practice the proper form. Griese became the starting quarterback in 1964 and earned All-America honors in 1965 and 1966. Purdue went 22-7-1 with Griese at the helm.

Griese should have been Purdue’s first Heisman Trophy winner in 1966, but former Indianapolis Star sports editor Bob Collins speculated in his book “Boilermakers: A History of Purdue Football” that a national magazine article stating Florida’s Steve Spurrier was the better NFL prospect was the difference in the voting.

Spurrier became a career backup in the NFL while Griese earned two Super Bowl rings with the Miami Dolphins.

“To Bob DeMoss, I feel I owe my football life,” Griese said in the 1972 book “Great Quarterbacks.” “He taught me how to throw. Really. Without him, I’d still be a side-armer playing catch with my son on Sunday mornings.”

Leroy Keyes – “The Greatest Player in Purdue Football History,” as voted by fans on the 100th anniversary of Boilermaker football in 1987, seldom needed motivation against any opponent.

Notre Dame fans, as well as most of the national media, fueled Keyes on the eve of a rare No. 1 vs. No. 1 matchup. The Boilermakers were atop the Associated Press poll, while the Fighting Irish led the UPI rankings going into the 1968 matchup at South Bend.

“We were the kids on the block who got no respect,” Keyes recalled in 1998. “Most of them wrote, ‘if Leroy Keyes stays healthy and matches his junior season when he won the national scoring title, Purdue can win.’ We believed to a man when we came to spring ball that we could win the national championship.”

Some Notre Dame students came up with the idea of plastering “Most Wanted” signs on campus with Keyes’ photo underneath. “I wondered, ‘what did I do to these guys?’” he said.

The next day he did plenty, scoring two touchdowns and throwing a touchdown pass in the convincing 37-22 victory.

Elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1990, Keyes’ school records include scoring 19 touchdowns during the 1967 season.

“When I was on the football field, my job was to be the best player on the field,” Keyes said. “It became a will game to me. Who had the greater will to get the job done? I willed myself not to get beat.”

Bob Hadrick – The shifty end was the first Boilermaker to be selected first-team All-Big Ten three times.

As a junior, Hadrick was Purdue’s Most Valuable Player. As Bob Griese’s go-to receiver in 1964 and 1965, Hadrick caught 113 passes for 1,391 yards.

Perry Williams – The third man in arguably the greatest backfields in Purdue history from 1966-68 (Bob Griese or Mike Phipps at quarterback and Leroy Keyes), Williams rushed for 2,049 yards and scored 30 touchdowns.

During his time as a Boilermaker, Purdue went 25-6 with a Rose Bowl victory and a share of the 1967 Big Ten title. Williams scored both touchdowns in the 14-13 victory against USC in Pasadena.

“Great blocker, fantastic runner, great hands as a receiver and one hellacious competitor,” Keyes recalled in 2004.

Mike Phipps – The first quarterback to lead his team to victory three consecutive years against Notre Dame, Phipps was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.

The Boilermakers finished 8-2 in each of his three seasons (1967-69). The Fighting Irish were ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 9 at the time of those victories.

“I’m very proud of it, but I was just the quarterback,” Phipps said in 1998. “We had great players on offense and defense. We expected to win. Notre Dame just happened to be in the way.”

Phipps was a unanimous All-American in 1969 and runner-up to Oklahoma’s Steve Owens in one of the closest votes in Heisman Trophy history.

Tim Foley – As an All-American safety, Foley helped Purdue compile a 24-6 record between 1967 and 1969.

Foley then played 11 seasons with the Miami Dolphins, earning two Super Bowl rings.

Jim Beirne – A first-team All-American wide receiver in 1967, Beirne held the Purdue career receiving yards record (1,864) for 13 seasons.

Beirne was selected to Purdue’s all-time football team in 1987.

Jerry Shay – A first-team All-American defensive tackle in 1965, Shay helped the Boilermakers record three consecutive victories at Michigan between 1963-65.

A first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Vikings in 1966, Shay became a distinguished scout with the New York Giants. Among the players he was directly responsible for the Giants drafting included Lawrence Taylor, Michael Strahan, Harry Carson and Phil Simms.

John Charles – An All-American defensive back in 1966, Charles made 11 tackles on his way to winning Rose Bowl Most Valuable Player honors.

Charles was a first-round pick by the Boston Patriots in 1967 and recorded 16 interceptions during an eight-year career that included stops in Minnesota and Houston.

Chuck Kyle – Like Hadrick, Kyle was a three-time first-team All-Big Ten selection at middle guard from 1966-68.

His career highlights included a then-school record three interceptions against Iowa and 27 tackles in his final game against Indiana.

– Kenny Thompson is the former sports editor for the Lafayette Journal & Cou¬rier and an award-winning journalist. He has covered Purdue athletics for many years.