It started at the end of last season when the young first year coach at Purdue with the reputation as an offensive guru did not disappoint when his injury-riddled team finished the season with three victories in succession, including a 38-35 thriller against Arizona in the Foster Farms Bowl in San Francisco.
That victory raised Purdue’s final record to 7-6 and the rumblings already began that maybe that one-season of seasoning was enough to send Jeff Brohm, the former University of Louisville quarterback back to his alma mater. Not that Louisville coach Bobby Petrino had not done a decent job of coaching, but the entire Cardiinal athletic program was scandal ridden, forcing out long time athletic director Tom Jurich and basketball coach Rick Pitino.
Petrino has had his issues at Louisville and maybe it was time to clean the entire athletic department and bring Brohm, a Louisville bred athlete, back home.
After all Brohm had once turned down an offer to be on Nick Saban’s staff at Alabama to remain at his alma mater. So there was loyalty. And, Brohm still owned a house in Louisville.
But one year into his new job at Purdue wasn’t the right time and the chatter passed. It became quiet as crickets three games into the 2018 season when Purdue lost its first three games–although by a total of 7 points
But then Purdue did what Brohm coached teams generally do. It started to play better, and it started to win, first beating a then ranked Boston College team decisively. A fluke? Nah. A win at Nebraska was followed by another win at Illinois, which evened Purdue’s record at 3-3.
The real test, of course, would be last Saturday night, when No. 2 ranked Ohio State came for a visit. There was precedent here and Brohm knew it. No. 2 Ohio State had visited West Lafayette in October of 1984–and left with a 28-23 loss.
On Saturday night, the Buckeyes again left disappointed and even humiliated, following a 49-20 pounding by the Boilermakers.
Oh, Jeff Brohm was not the star of the game. Those roles were filled by QB David Blough and running back DJ Knox, who passed and ran for three touchdowns apiece.
But Brohm was the architect, the man with a plan to make Purdue relevant again in the Big Ten, which might happen if the winning streak continues in East Lansing against a fading Michigan State team.
Purdue officials knew what they had last spring when they gave Brohm a contract extension through the 2024 season that boosts his salary to $3.8 million a year (according to USA Today’s coaching contract database). So any school who calls will have to dig deep into their coaching data fund. And Louisville, despite a 2-5 record, is not talking about making a change–at least not yet.
But what is important here is that Purdue did not just win a Big Ten game, it potentially changed the direction of the 2018 college football season, potentially knocking Ohio State out of the discussion. And with their Big Ten West schedule remaining, it also put Purdue in charge of its own destiny–a showdown against defending Big Ten West champion Wisconsin is set for November 17th.
For all of that, Jeff Brohm is TMG’s Newsmaker of The week.