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Purdue Selected to Play in 2000 Outback BowlNovember 24, 1999
Tampa, FL -- Outback Bowl 2000 officials extended an invitation today to Purdue University to play in the New Year's Day game which will be the first major sporting event of the new millennium. The 19th ranked Boilermakers finished the 1999 regular season with an 7-4 record and feature quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Drew Brees. They will play a team from the Southeastern Conference, which will be determined on December 5, the day after the SEC Championship game.
"We could not be happier with the opportunity to have a team as rich in history and exciting to watch for our first game of the new millennium," said Outback Bowl Chairman Chris Griffin. "I know the Boilermaker fans are very excited and so are we."
"I was fortunate enough to see Drew Brees and Chris Daniels record performances in a game earlier this year in West Lafayette," adds Team Selection Chairman Terry Kors. "There is no doubt that our bowl fans are going to be excited about witnessing one of the most explosive offenses in the country."
"This is a great honor for our football team," says Purdue Head Coach Joe Tiller. "We are excited about the opportunity to play in a New Year's Day Bowl in the state of Florida. It is nice that the Outback Bowl recognizes the achievements or our program."
"We have well over 10,000 Purdue alumni living in Florida and that does not include the snowbirds who migrate there during the winter," adds Purdue Athletic Director Morgan Burke. "Our entire fan base will be excited about going to Tampa for this game. What a great way to start the 21st century!!"
Outback Bowl 2000 kicks-off the New Year's Day bowl lineup. The game is telecast internationally on ESPN TV at 11A.M. Tickets to the Outback Bowl are $45 each and are available at Ticketmaster outlets throughout Florida, via phone at (813) 287-8844 and online at www.ticketmaster.com. (Only Membership packages will be sold through the bowl office).PURDUE IN '99: The Boilermakers are ranked 19th in the AP Poll and 23rd in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll. The team is ranked 8th nationally in total offense and 2nd in passing offense and leads the Big Ten Conference in seven categories including Total Offense (456.4 Yds/game), Passing Offense (328 Yds/game), First Downs (275), 3rd Down Conversions (48.6%), Punt Returns (14.9), Sacks Allowed (12) and PAT Kicking (37-37). The Purdue offense is ranked 8th nationally and led by QB Drew Brees, as well as WR Chris Daniels (109-1,133 Yds, 5 TDs ), and RB Montrell Lowe (158-754 Yds, 4.8 Avg., 5 TDs). The defense is led by LB Willie Fells (85 tackles, 5 TFL 3 Int.), LB Jason Loerzel (71 tackles, 7 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 Int.), SS Adrian Beasley (70 tackles, 5 Int.), and DE Akin Ayodele (59 tackles, 18 TFL, 9.5 sacks).
PURDUE TRADITION: Playing its 112th season of football this will be Purdue's first bowl game in Florida and the first New Year's Day bowl since the 1967 Rose Bowl where it defeated USC 14-13. The Boilermakers are 6-1 in bowl games and 4-3 against SEC opponents. In fact, the last time Purdue played an SEC team was in 1979 when they defeated Tennessee in the Bluebonnet Bowl.
DREW BREES: Heisman Trophy candidate Drew Brees is the most recent of a long line of successful Purdue quarterbacks including Jim Everett, Gary Danielson, Bob Greise and Len Dawson to name a few. Brees is also a likely finalist for the Davey O'Brien National QB Award and the Maxwell Award this year. He currently holds two NCAA records, seven Big Ten records and eleven team records.
His 1999 stats: 301-494-11, 60.9% 3,541 yards, 21 TDs, 321Yds/game. Drew's career statistics are 681-1106-32, 7,823 yards, 60 TD. Brees announced earlier this month that he will return for his senior season.
WELCOME HOME: While this is Purdue's first trip to the Outback Bowl, a number of Boilermaker players are from the Tampa Bay area. Team MVP and Big Ten leading receiver Chris Daniels (Clearwater H.S.), CB Michael Hawthorne (Sarasota Booker H.S.), WR Chris James (Tampa Jesuit) and LB Willie Fells (Palatka H.S.) are all area products.