Season of The Giant Killers - Game 6
October 21, 1967
The Beavers traveled to the Midwest to face the Purdue Boilermakers in Lafayette, Indiana, for the sixth game of the
1967 Oregon State Football Season. OSU was coming off a two-game losing streak, the last being a humiliating home
opener against BYU. The Beavers were hungry for redemption, and eager to prove themselves against one of the best
teams in the nation.
Walking off the field following the loss to BYU, the players were doing their best to come to
grips with their shock and embarrassment. As they returned to the locker room, the shock was rapidly being replaced by anger. Quarterback Steve Preece was the first to speak up. Preece, a natural
leader, stood and faced his teammates, putting into words what many of them were already feeling. His exact words
have been lost to time, the delivery and intonation a hazy memory, but the effect of his speech is unlikely to
ever be forgotten by those who heard it. In the end, the team promised the coaches that they wouldn't be
embarrassed again, and more importantly, that they wouldn't lose again. As Coach Dee Andros recently recalled,
"I could see it in their eyes: it wasn't just talk. They meant it."
Defensive Tackle Jess Lewis: "They (BYU) just nailed us. I remember that feeling. Nobody played well. Sometimes it seems like your playing hard, but it just doesn't all come together."… "I remember Steve Preece standing up and giving a speech right after the game and saying how embarrassed he
was by our performance. It was a gut check. 'Remember BYU' was kind of our motto after that. There was no way we were going to let that happen again."
Despite Preece's inspirational words and the promise the team had made to the coaches, practice the following week
was no picnic. The coaches were angry and embarrassed too, and they were not about to let the players off easy.
Defensive Line Coach Rich Brooks had his linemen take countless trips through the obstacle course - Coach Brooks'
favorite form of punishment.
No. 2 In The Nation
60,147 screaming Boilermaker fans packed into Ross-Ade Stadium to celebrate Homecoming and watch what they thought
would be another Purdue victory. Purdue was entering the game undefeated, with a 10-game winning streak and ranked by the AP as the second best team in the country. They hadn't lost at home since 1965, another 10-game stretch. No one outside
of Corvallis gave the Beavers a chance of pulling out a victory, but Coach Andros saw something while scouting
the opposition that led him to believe differently.
Halfback Bill Main returns a punt against Purdue. Main was part of a Beaver ground game that put up 244 yards on the Boilermakers.
Purdue was the reigning Rose Bowl champion, and legendary Coach Jack "The Ripper" Mollenkopf had his
crew ready to make another run at the big game. The Boilermakers had beaten Texas A&M, Notre Dame,
Northwestern, and Ohio State in their first four games of the season, so they weren't overly concerned about the
struggling Beavers. Purdue didn't exactly roll out the red carpet for the visiting Beavers either, something the
OSU coaches made sure did not go unnoticed.
The star of the Purdue offense was running back Leroy
Keyes. Keyes was a threat as a runner, a receiver, and as a kick-returner, and to this day is listed in all
three categories in the Purdue record book. Later in the year, Keyes would finish third on the Heisman Ballot,
and in '68 he finished second behind O.J. Simpson. Joining Keyes in the backfield was quarterback Mike Phipps.
Phipps would go on to finish a close second in the Heisman vote of '70. He was drafted in the first round by the Cleveland Browns, and retired after 11 years in the NFL.
The game opened with an offensive flourish, as both teams scored within the first five minutes of play. The Beavers
struck first with an eight play, 82-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession. Quarterback Steve Preece was
the star of the series, with runs of six and 17 yards, as well as a keeper-and-pitch to the trailing halfback Bill
Main for a 26-yard gain. Preece capped the drive by selling a fake to sprint left, only to stop short and drop a
18-yard gimme to receiver Roger Cantlon who was wide open in the endzone. Mike Haggard's PAT was good, and with
less than four minutes off the clock, the Beavers were up 7-0.
The Boilermakers wasted no time and immediately got on the board with a seven-play, 62-yard scoring drive of their
own. Most of the yards came on the ground, as the Beaver defense was unable to find their footing against the
Boilermakers' offensive front. The PAT was good, and Purdue had tied the game in just a little more than two minutes
The offensive fireworks quickly lost their luster, as the defensive units from both teams tightened down. The Beaver
offense went almost 18 minutes without registering a first down, and the Boilermakers were unable to score another
point for the rest of the half.
The first half stalemate finally broke with nine minutes left until intermission. The Beavers had forced Purdue
to punt from their own 49, but whether by design or defensive pressure, the punter couldn't get the kick off and
tried to scramble for a first down. The Beaver defenders stopped the feeble attempt well short of the first down
marker, giving the OSU offense good field position. The Beavers were unable to capitalize, however, as the Boilermakers
intercepted a Preece pass at the Purdue four-yard line.
The Beaver defense maintained its pressure and quickly regained possession of the football. Unfortunately, the
offense once again failed to convert and gave up another interception, this time at the Boilermaker seven-yard
line. Still the Beaver defense refused to relent, and only moments later, tackle Jess Lewis and nose guard Jon
Sandstrom combined to recover a fumble on the Boilermaker 26. With 46 seconds left in the half, Haggard came in
and banged a 26-yard field goal to give the Beavers a 10-7 lead as they headed into the locker room.
Purdue came out strong in the second half, covering 65 yards in six plays. The drive was capped with a seven-yard
scoring run by Keyes and gave the Boilermakers the lead at 14-7. It would prove to be the last offensive success
the Boilermakers would enjoy, as the Beaver defense didn't allow their opponents past the OSU 40-yard line for
the rest of the game.
It wasn't until late in the third quarter that the Beaver offense once again came alive, this time with a ten-play,
43-yard drive that set up another Haggard field goal. The key play of the drive was a new wrinkle to the Beaver
offense. Preece, off an option start, reversed the ball to halfback Bill Main who scampered for a 24-yard gainer.
In the fourth quarter, the Beavers were again deep within Boilermaker territory, but an interception on the Purdue
eight-yard line put an end to the drive. However, the Beaver defense once again showed its mettle. Lewis recovered
his second fumble of the day, returning possession to the Beaver offense on the Purdue 30-yard line with 6:35 remaining
to be played.
Coach Andros could see that the Boilermaker defense was losing steam after spending the day trying to stave off
the Beavers' unrelenting rushing attack. Bill "Earthquake" Enyart was called upon to deliver the final
blow, and carried the ball on six of the next seven plays. The drive was capped from the four-yard line when Enyart bulled his way in for the touchdown. The two-point conversion failed, but with only three minutes left to play and
the impenetrable Beaver defense returning to the field, the 19-14 lead appeared to be enough - barring a miracle.
Coach Andros: "Mike Haggard was on the sideline with me, getting ready to kick off, and I said to Mike,
'Mike, kick it away from Keyes. Don't get it anywhere near him.' So Mike went out to kick, and he was so worried
about kicking it away from Keyes, that he didn't get all of the ball. Now, Mike was a good kicker, but that ball
went up and kind of floated, giving our boys time to get underneath it."
OSU kicker Mike Haggard completes his third field goal of the day, a 38-yarder that put the Beavers up for good, 22-14.
A Purdue player attempted to receive the kickoff off of the first bounce, but was blasted out of the play by a
Beaver cover man. OSU cornerback Mel Easley recovered the ball on the Purdue 28, setting up a 38-yard field goal
for Haggard, his third successful attempt of the day.
Any hopes the Boilermaker fans may have had for a miracle comeback were crushed when linebacker Mike Groff picked
off a desperation pass from Phipps on the first play of Purdue's final drive. At this point the Beaver sideline was going
crazy, as they knew they had just pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the 1967 college football
Post-Game Comments, 1967
"We just got beat by a better team today. They out-fought us, out-spirited us, out-hit us, and just beat
us. They gave us one of the roughest times of the year all afternoon and their pass rush was very good - as good
as any we've run into. They came ready to play football." - Purdue Head Coach Jack Mollenkopf
"This has to be the greatest victory of my career, and the credit should go to the kids and other members
of the coaching staff who got them ready for the game."… "I've never seen such dedication during practice as our kids showed all week. When they came on the field, they thought they could beat the best, and they did.
We beat a great team." - Coach Dee Andros
Stars of the Game
Fullback Bill Enyart was too much for the Purdue defense to handle, especially in the latter portion of the game
when the Beaver offensive line was beginning to dominate in the trenches. Most of Enyart's 91 yards came in second half, and were a major contributor to Purdue's defensive fatigue.
Left defensive tackle Jess Lewis terrorized the Boilermakers, refusing to allow any running success up the middle
and rattling the Purdue quarterback at every opportunity. He finished the day with two fumble recoveries and three
solo tackles for a loss. Lewis was awarded a 'Hard Rock' for his outstanding play.
Each week, after reviewing the game film, the Beaver coaches would present the best defensive player (and occasionally
an offensive player) with a Hard Rock. Hard Rocks were a river rock, painted orange and black with the game score,
date, and the player's name. They didn't look like much more than a pet rock, but they were a great source of
pride for those who received them. Hard Rocks are still a cherished possession for many of the Beavers who were fortunate
enough to earn one.
Are You Kiddin' Me?
The players were not allowed to drink water during practice. This wasn't punishment. They never were allowed water during practice, but they were given salt pills to help prevent cramping. Salt pills?... mmm, refreshing.