Jan. 1, 2001
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - This was not the Drew Brees who Purdue fans were accustomed to watching.
He's usually sharp and unflappable, but No. 4 Washington wouldn't let Brees be himself Monday at the Rose Bowl.
"What they were doing was walking guys up to the line of scrimmage, pressing our receivers on the inside and dropping the safeties," Brees said following Purdue's 34-24 loss. "They were trying to confuse us."
The Huskies (11-1) did a better job than most of the Boilermakers' opponents this season.
They limited Brees to just 23-of-39 passing, 275 yards and two touchdowns and sacked him twice. Brees was sacked just seven times before Monday.
And they frustrated him, too.
"I wasn't frustrated with their defense," Brees said. "I was frustrated because we couldn't convert on third downs and I was frustrated we didn't get more of an opportunity."
Purdue (8-4) committed a season-high 11 penalties, nine in the first half.
Montrell Lowe lost a fumble deep in Washington territory, just when it appeared Purdue could get back in the game.
Brees misfired on one potential touchdown pass late in the first half and had another dropped by John Standeford on the same drive. Purdue instead settled for a field goal.
The biggest problem, though, was a third-quarter stretch during which Brees couldn't manage a first down.
"I think when we had the two three-and-outs in the third quarter. That put our defense at a disadvantage," coach Joe Tiller said.
But Brees, for all the magic he's weaved in his three seasons at Purdue, failed to produce then when the Boilermakers needed him most.
A 3-yard pass on third-and-5 allowed Washington to use up more than two minutes. Three plays later, facing third-and-4, Brees completed another 3-yard pass.
Washington promptly marched 45 yards for a touchdown to make it 27-17.
"Our job, when the defense comes out after a 15-play drive is to go out and make some first downs," Brees said. "We didn't do that, and I agree with coach Tiller that that really hurt us."
Even so, Brees managed to show flashes of the player most Boilermakers fans will remember.
He guided Purdue on a 61-yard scoring march to make it 34-24 and twice more got the Boilermakers into scoring range. But Purdue squandered both opportunities, and Brees' college career ended with a thud.
"It was a great road getting here," Brees said. "We've had ups and downs. Of course, I'm upset that we lost the game. But we never gave up and that's what I'll remember about this season, that we never gave up."
By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer