The Dark Night (Game) Rises


It was announced earlier this week that the Purdue-ND game -- Coach Hazell's second home game and first against a FBS program -- will be an 8 PM start on September 14. I have to be honest -- I love this. Much like Danny Hope had some early night games to make a strong first impression (and despite how things ended for Danny, the close calls vs ND and Oregon early in the 2009 season had a lot of us juiced), this is a terrific opportunity to inject life into the Purdue football program quickly. Joe Tiller took advantage of Notre Dame in this way; so can Darrell Hazell. (And really, given their history, wouldn't like to take advantage of ND football players? Usually, it's the other way around.)

According to Purdue sports information, this is the 36th night game Purdue has played since 1935 and only the 8th home game under the lights. That feels like such a low number, but maybe that's because we all remember the night games so clearly so it feels like there have been more of them.

It's indeed been a dark time for Purdue with regard to night games. In fact, Purdue has only played four games under the lights at Ross-Ade since 1996, with three of those against Notre Dame. The Boilers are 0-4 in those games and 1-6 overall. Maybe this is the real reason Morgan Burke is against permanent lights: he's worried the Boilers may never win again. The only win in a home night game for the Boilermakers was a game I've sat back in my rocking chair and regaled you about before. It was a crisp, clear night on September 10, 1994 and a young and handsome J attending his first Purdue football game. This game was so long ago, Tim still liked sports! Boilerdowd still had hair! I'm talking a long time ago! (Try the veal!)

But seriously, 1-6 at home all time under the lights? That's a trend that needs to be changed. The Boilers are 16-18 all-time in games starting at 6 PM or later, including bowl games, which I think are a little bit of outliers in this. In bowl games at night, the Boilers are 5-1, leaving them (for you math majors) at 11-17 in all regular season night games.

We'll obviously talk more and more about the 2013 season and what it can mean and what will constitute "success," but this game if nothing else provides a tremendous opportunity for Coach Hazell and the new brand of Purdue football to make a splash on national television.

Choo choo!

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