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Media / bowl history
Date: Tuesday, December 29, 1998
The 1998 Builders Square Alamo Bowl was a tale of two teams. The Purdue Boilermakers were making their second straight appearance in San Antonio and very happy to be doing so. The No. 4 ranked and 11-1 Kansas State Wildcats, champions of the Big 12 Conference's North Divison, had anticipated spending the holdiays somewhere else. The end result was maybe the best game of the college bowl season and Alamo Bowl history!
Purdue, behind the arm of sophomore quarterback and Texas native Drew Brees, drove 80 yards in 54 seconds, culminating with Brees' game-winning, 24-yard touchdown pass to Issac Jones with 30 seconds left in the game. The furious, 54-second winning touchdown drive gave the Boilermakers a stunning 37-34 victory after Kansas State had erased a 10-point Purdue lead late in the fourth quarter.
Kansas State, trailing 30-20 after Travis Dorsch's 37-yard field goal with 6:44 to play, rallied to take a 34-30 lead behind the arm of Heisman Trophy runnerup and Davey O'Brien Award winner Michael Bishop. The senior quarterback from Willis, Texas, connected with Darnell McDonald on an 88-yard scoring strike with 6:23 to play, then found tight end Justin Swift in the back corner of the end zone with 1:24 left in the game. The touchdown toss to Swift capped a seven-play, 27 yard Kansas State drive and earned the Wildcats their shortlived 34-30 advantage.
Enter Brees and the Boilermakers. The sophomore from Austin, Texas, completed three passes on the game-winning drive for 54 yards while also scrambling for 11 yards to the K-State 24 yard line after being flushed out of the pocket. Purdue also got some help from the officials after the Wildcats were flagged for a 15-yard pass interference call that put the ball on the Kansas State 35.
Brees connected on 25-of-53 passes for 230 yards and three touchdowns. However, the 1998 Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year was intercepted three times by a Kansas State defense that ranked among the nation's best. Brees set bowl records and captured the bowl's Offensive MVP award with his 53 pass attempts and three touchdown passes.
The unheralded Boilermaker defense also rose to the occassion. Led by bookend defensive ends Rosevelt Colvin and Chike Okeafor, Purdue limited the explosive Wildcat offense to just 308 total yards. Colvin earned Defensive MVP honors, and Okeafor accounted for 14 tackles with six coming behind the line of scrimmage for 40 yards in losses. The two also combined for five sacks of Bishop while Colvin blocked a K-State field goal attempt in the second quarter.
Bishop struggled the entire night, completing just 9-of-24 passes for 182 yards. McDonald accounted for 88 of those passing yards on his touchdown grab in the fourth quarter. Bishop did tie a bowl record with his three touchdown passes, but also set a bowl record by throwing four interceptions.
The offensive star for Kansas State was running back/return specialist David Allen. The sophomore from Liberty, Mo., rushed for 83 yards and one touchdown, caught one pass for three yards, returned three punts for 67 yards and one kickoff for 17 yards. Allen easily jump-started a sluggish K-State offense in the second half after the No. 4 Wildcats trailed the unranked Boilermakers 17-7 at the half.
The upset victory over the Wildcats vaulted 9-4 Purdue to No. 23 in the final Top 25 polls. The loss dropped Kansas State to 11-2 on the season and a final ranking of No. 9. At No. 4, Kansas State was the highest ranked team to ever play in the Alamo Bowl.
Purdue and Kansas State combined to tie or break 17 Alamo Bowl records, including the record for combined score (71) and points by one team (37 by Purdue). Kansas State's 12 fourth-quarter points broke the Alamo Bowl record for scoring in a quarter and Wildcat receiver Darnell McDonald's 88-yard touchdown catch also set a record.
At the time, the game's 4.92 rating made it the fifth most-watched game in ESPN history, helping establish the Alamo Bowl's reputation as the fastest growing bowl game.
The 1998 game marked the first time a team defended its title, as the Boilermakers prevailed over Oklahoma State in the 1997 edition. Purdue quarterback and Austin, Texas native Drew Brees earned Offensive MVP honors while Boilermaker defensive tackle Rosevelt Colvin was named Defensive MVP. KSU defensive back Jarrod Cooper won the Fred Jacoby Sportsmanship Award.