The last time that Purdue head coach Ryan Walters and Virginia Tech head coach Brent Pry wore the headphones for the same game, it was as defensive coordinators at their previous stops and it was a historic battle in 2021. Now two years later, the two will be squaring off against each other at Lane Stadium this Saturday running their own programs.
Walters and Pry oversaw the defenses in an epic Big Ten battle
When the Illinois Fighting Illini traveled to Beaver Stadium to face 7th-ranked Penn State on Oct. 23, 2021, the Nittany Lions were in contention for a College Football Playoff berth. That dream was dashed by a 20-18 Illinois win that went into nine overtimes. Yes, you read that correctly, nine overtimes.
The game was 10-10 through regulation and each team kicked a field goal in the first two overtimes. After they played five more scoreless extra sessions, by the time it got to the eighth overtime, both teams started making two-point conversions. After they both made their first, Illinois made their second and the Nittany Lions missed theirs.
You can say that it was that game that forced the hand of the NCAA who adjusted their overtime rules the following year. The NCAA moved up the OT rules to start two-point attempts in the third overtime instead of the fifth.
Both coaches having a history as defensive coaches should make this an interesting matchup. Virginia Tech came into this season looking to create more turnovers and they that did against Old Dominion in the season opener with three in the second half, two fumbles, and an interception. Clearly, it was something that the Hokies worked on in camp.
Purdue comes into the game after giving up 39 points at home to an underdog Fresno State team. You have to think that Walters went back to the drawing board this week with his unit and coaches to make adjustments. Hopefully, another classic is in store for this weekend, only this time, they will be making bigger decisions as head coaches, not defensive coordinators.