While Purdue football shockingly upset No. 2 Ohio State in dominant fashion Saturday night in West Lafayette, Indiana, a bigger story was unfolding off the field.
Twenty-year old Tyler Trent, a Purdue sophomore currently undergoing bone cancer treatment, watched the victory with excitement from the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research’s suite, smiling the entire time. Trent, who had the Purdue "P" shaved on the side of his head, became the team's inspiration, their motivation, and, as head coach Jeff Brohm said in the post-game press conference, their new captain during the high-profile game against the Buckeyes.
Trent arrived on campus Saturday morning in grand fashion with the aid of police escort. From there, he was the center of attention as Purdue pulled off the third-largest win by an unranked team against a top-2 school in the AP poll.
By the end of the fourth quarter, Trent made his way onto the field to take in the final moments of the Boilermakers' stunning upset from the sidelines. Following the game, he celebrated with players and was part of the locker room party and the post-game press conference, where he was invited to give the opening statement.
Starting quarterback David Blough was one of the many Boilermakers to share a special moment with Trent postgame.
Representing the Boilermakers in his Purdue blazer, Trent enthusiastically commented that his pregame prediction of a Purdue win proved correct. However, as he told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi in a sideline interview, not even he foresaw a 29-point victory.
Brohm recognized Trent in his postgame press conference comments, commending Trent for his courage, perseverance and spirit.
"I think our players recognize that Tyler has overcome a lot and battled throughout a lot, and he still has that great smile, and he still looks tremendous, and he's definitely a Boilermaker, He's number one in our heart," Brohm told the media.
Coach Brohm's postgame press conference last night fittingly began with an opening statement from @theTylerTrent. Coach then went on to talk about how proud he is of his team. #TylerStrong #BoilerUp pic.twitter.com/UqAlt7SAgO— Purdue Football (@BoilerFootball) October 21, 2018
A month before the big game, Trent was forced to take a leave of absence from school because of his worsening medical condition. His fandom, however, never weakened.
The Boilermakers have become familiar with Trent over the course of the season, and several weeks ago, captains from Purdue visited Trent in his home to present him with the game ball from the game against Nebraska. The players told Trent on that visit that they would win the game for him, and on Saturday, they delivered on their promise.
Proud to be a boilermaker. Love you family 🖤💛🚂— Tyler Trent (@theTylerTrent) October 21, 2018