WEST LAFAYETTE — The 2000 Purdue football team returned to West Lafayette for the Boilermakers matchup against Illinois on Saturday.
The Big Ten champions are the last Boilers’ team to play in the Rose Bowl. Former Saints quarterback Drew Brees helped lead the team to greatness and was excited to return to his alma mater.
“So many great memories from that 2000 season and what we were able to accomplish in building the program,” said Brees. “Purdue is a special place and there’s no better time to be a Boilermaker than right now.”
The team was honored during the first quarter. Tight end Tim Stratton explained the pride the group continues to have for their accomplishments.
“Nobody had us ranked high going into Purdue and to show we could perform every week and silence those critics motivated us every week.”
Defensive lineman and current MMA fighter Matt Mitrione shared the team picked up like they never left once they reunited at Ross-Ade Stadium.
“It’s cool to be around people you haven’t seen in a while. When you’re together, you pick it right back up,” said Mitrione. “We really cared about each other. It was a team. Even with superstars like Brees and [Matt] Light, it was an entire unit. It was a pretty dope situation.”
The current Boilers wore the same uniforms the 2000 team wore during their incredible run as they defeated the Illini 13-9.