Road Tripping: Purdue

By Joe Beale on July 4, 2013 at 9:30a

One thing that the 2013 Ohio State football team will be looking to avoid is another poor showing in West Lafayette. Despite the fact that Purdue has not been a consistent contender for the championship of the Big Ten over the past 9 years, Ohio State has lost 3 of 4 games at Purdue during that span. Especially painful was the 2009 "Purdue Harbor" loss, which doomed OSU's chances of a berth in the BCS championship game.

Ohio State is a Big Ten best 39-13 on the road in conference games since 2000, but 4 of those 13 losses have come at Purdue. Meanwhile, at home they have not lost to the Boilermakers since 1989, but they nearly took it on the chin against a mediocre Purdue team at Ohio Stadium last season. As a result, there will be considerable interest both locally and nationally when the Buckeyes travel to West Lafayette once again on November 2nd.

The Tippecanoe Battlefield MonumentCelebrating the achievements of the first "Buckeye". 

Many OSU fans will make the trip to Purdue, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, it's not a terribly long drive and there will not be a lot of traffic. Second, if the Boilers are not having a great season then the tickets will be plentiful and easily available, both in advance and on game day. Finally, since it is basically a day trip, most fans will not spend the night either in West Lafayette or in Indianapolis (65 miles to the Southeast), and so it will not cost a lot of money.

However, if you do decide to spend a night or two in the area, you will find that there are several attractions that are either educational or entertaining. Not only that, but if you arrive early, you might be able to check out a few of them before you even go to the game because tailgating at Purdue is not exactly at the same level as at Ohio State.


The time of the game has not yet been announced, but assuming that Purdue is mostly out of Big Ten contention at this late point in the season, it might be safe to assume that it will be a 12:00 noon start (as the last two OSU games there have been). Still, if you leave Columbus (or wherever) early enough, you should have time to check out a couple of the local attractions.

For history buffs like me, the Tippecanoe Battlefield Park is a place that might be interesting. It is located in the sister city of Lafayette, just across the Wabash river. The park features a monument to the battle fronted by a statue of former U.S. president William Henry Harrison. Harrison, you might recall, claimed Ohio as his adopted home state (he was born in Virginia), thus making this a special treat for Ohio natives. 

If it turns out to be a late afternoon game, you could check out one of the unusual lunch spots in the city. Specifically, you might wander over to Harry's Chocolate Shop, which is not really a chocolate shop but a glorified bar and grill. There you can take in a personal pizza, a burger, or one of their peculiar brands of french fries such as "I.U. Road Kill". Either that, or you might check out the double cheeseburger served up at the oddly-named Triple XXX Family Restaurant.

If you're into flowers and you don't mind going on campus, as you can visit the school's famous Horticulture Gardens. If architecture is your thing, stroll over to the Cary Quadrangle, also on campus, or you could visit the nearby John Christian House (a.k.a. Samara) designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. If you want to commune with nature, the Celery Bog at the Lilly Nature Center is the place to go.


Purdue plays their home games at Ross-Ade Stadium, which was dedicated in 1924 and was named after two guys who donated a lot of money to the project. Of all the schools in the Big Ten, Purdue ranks near the bottom in terms of how full their stadium is on a weekly basis. In 2012, they ranked 55th out of 120 FBS teams in attendance at just over 43,500 on average. So not only will tickets be readily available, they will probably be cheap as well.

This is what driving around in circles will make you do.What no one should be doing while they are visiting Indy.

The playing surface at Ross-Ade is Prescription Athletic Turf or PAT, a sort of grass/turf compromise that allows them to play on a natural surface while still maintaining control of drainage and temperature. The PAT system was developed at Purdue and Ross-Ade was the first stadium to utilize it. The net effect of playing on natural grass is that play will be relatively slow, especially in November when OSU plays there.

Parking at the game is available in intramural sports fields located just southwest of the stadium. Tailgating is allowed and the rules are relatively relaxed. That said, Purdue fans are not known for their raucous antics or spectacular feasts at the game. This is a basketball school, and it shows on football game day.


If you decide to stay for the evening and you're looking to get out a little, then you'll probably want to head over to Indianapolis. There are plenty of reasonable hotels in the Indy area and the night life is far superior to what you will find in a sleepy college town like West Lafayette.

For a mix of food and dancing, try Ike & Jonesy's, but if you just want to kick it up, try The Vogue. If your taste is more sophisticated, you might try Sensu. If you just want a meal at a fancy restaurant, you can check out Cerulean, Napolese, or Delicia. For live music, you have plenty of choices depending on your taste: The Slippery Noodle Inn for Blues, The Chatterbox Jazz Club for Jazz, The Tin Roof for Rock.

Of course, the main thing that will make your trip to the area worthwhile is a victory by the men in scarlet and gray. Assuming they take care of business as expected, you can do whatever you like after the game and the celebration will be just as sweet.


Comments Show All Comments

Michibuck's picture

Thanks, Joe. Nice travel guide.

pjtobin's picture

Thanks for the info. It reminds me of a time long ago. We took this trip to garden grove. It smelled like Lou dog inside the van. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

pjtobin's picture

A down vote for a sublime song? Very tough crowd. 
When I read road tripping the song Garden Grove popped up in my head. Now the greatful dead are playing. What a long, strange trip it's been. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

ScarletGray43157's picture

Thanks for the info.  
There is a lot of activity in downtown Indy, both day and night, and it is mostly safe to walk downtown, at least in my experience.  
The Colts play the Texans on November 3rd in Indy; Former Buckeyes on the Texans roster as of this post are Zach Boren, Travis Howard, Orhian Johnson, and DeVier Posey.  No Buckeyes on the Colts roster at the time of this post.   Tickets may not be as easy for this game as the OSU-Purdue contest.  Would make for a fun football weekend if you anyone is so inclined.  

In old Ohio there's a team that's known throughout the land...

BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

I remember my two trips to purdont both victories thankfully but it seems to me the students would dress up like it was halloween before the game and hit the bars.  I can remember vividly this guy dressed like a sperm and would appear ever where we went taunting us lol all in good fun and it was hilarious.

Michigan Sucks!

Joe Beale's picture

Yes, this is known as the Breakfast Club. I was mildly chastised by some Purdue fan on Twitter for not including this in my story, and rightfully so. Still, maybe he should think again. Here is how Urban Dictionary defines it:

Purdue University tradition, people line up at the bars saturday morning waiting to get wasted before goin to tailgate to get more wasted. All in preperation for some good 'ol boilermaker football.

Are you hittin up the breakfast club tomorrow, of course then i'm gonna watch the boilers kick the crap out of Akron.

Heh...a little perspective there. Maybe it's better left unpublicized. But if you are going to the game and want to check out these shenanigans, it takes place in the Chauncey Hill area, near the mall. Here's a map.


BucksfanXC's picture

I love this series of posts. Thanks Joe!

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

unholy bucknut's picture

I'd like to bulldoze Ross-Ade to the ground. I could dress up in a Halloween costume while I did it if it would make them feel better about it.

fanosu99's picture

Every year I feel as though this game is a gimme and every year I find myself at the edge of my seat. Now that they've improved the coaching staff I'm a little worried about this game.