Joe Tiller's great games at Purdue: 2006-2008

Brian Neubert, GoldandBlack.com staff
Gold and Black
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AP

Joe Tiller's great games at Purdue: 1997-99 | 2000-02 | 2003-05

Joe Tiller, Purdue's all-time winningest coach, passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 74.

His impact in West Lafayette will long live on with the scores of fond memories he and his teams created for the Boilermaker program — the momentous or improbable wins, even some of the wild losses.

Win or lose, it was always eventful for Purdue during the Tiller Days.

Here's a look at some of the most memorable games between Purdue's storied 2006 season and his final season in 2008.

PURDUE 17, MICHIGAN STATE 15 — Nov. 4, 2006

In typical Purdue-Michigan State fashion, the Boilermakers won a thriller in East Lansing, blocking the PAT after the Spartans' go-ahead touchdown early in the fourth quarter, then later turning Justin Scott's interception into a short game-winning field goal by Casey Welch, the backup kicker Tiller turned to in the biggest of moments amidst struggles at the position.

HAWAII 42, PURDUE 35 — Nov. 25, 2006

Again, not an outcome Purdue wanted, but a memorable scene. The Boilermakers lost a pinball game — the two teams combined for more than 1,100 yards — to one of college football's most formidable offenses in as hostile an environment as any it would face in the Big Ten. The crowd, already riled up to face a team from the mainland, seemed to take it personally that Tiller made comments suggesting he'd have preferred the game not been scheduled, and celebrated accordingly when Hawaii scored with a minute-and-a-half to win it.

PURDUE 33, NOTRE DAME 19 — Sept. 29, 2007

In front of a sellout crowd — the norm vs. the Irish in Ross-Ade Stadium — the Boilermakers dominated Notre Dame, in the first half, almost as emphatically as they did in '04, leading 23-0 at halftime. Golden Tate's touchdown with eight minutes left made the crowd sweat, but Curtis Painter put it away with a touchdown pass to Dustin Keller with five-and-a-half minutes left.

PURDUE 51, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 48 — Dec. 26, 2007 (Motor City Bowl)

Purdue was just 3-5 in the Big Ten in '07 and needed a win in the Motor City Bowl; behind the scenes there were some questions about what might happen without one. They were rendered moot by Chris Summers' 40-yard field goal as time expired, capping a thriller in which Curtis Painter threw for 546 yards and three scores.

PURDUE 48, MICHIGAN 42 — Nov. 1, 2008

Tiller's final season was marred by injury, narrow misses and the upheaval that came with Purdue's coaching transition, but it was able to kick Michigan while it was down, winning a high-scoring affair on a memorable hook-and-ladder completion by Justin Siller — he moved to QB from running back in-season due to injuries — to Greg Orton to Desmond Tardy.

PURDUE 62, INDIANA 10 — Nov. 22, 2008

To end a difficult season, Purdue gave Tiller a fitting send-off, obliterating the rival Hoosiers, riding Curtis Painter's return from injury to the tune of nearly 450 passing yards and five touchdowns. Then, Tiller said good-bye to Ross-Ade Stadium in an emotional speech.

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