This article has to be written now, before a dramatically improved Purdue team wins at least a couple Big Ten games this season. So, for now, Northern Illinois has fared far better in the Big Ten than Purdue since 2013.
Northern Illinois shocked Iowa on the road in the 2013 season opener, Rod Carey's first game of his first full season as Huskies' head coach. Four weeks later, Carey led them to a 31-point victory over Purdue, once again on the road. He improved to 3-0 in the Big Ten the following September when they won at Northwestern, and, following a seven-point loss at Ohio State in 2015, hit 4-1 with Saturday's stunning win at Nebraska.
Since 2013, Purdue has three conference wins. They are 3-30, with 24 of those losses coming with Darrell Hazell as head coach. Hazell's fifth game on the Boilermakers' sideline was that 55-24 defeat to Northern Illinois in 2013.
To recap: Since 2013, Purdue is 3-30 in the Big Ten; Northern Illinois is 4-1.
"We feel like we can play with anyone, play ball no matter where we're at, no matter where we go," said Huskies' cornerback Shawun Lurry, who had two tackles in the 2014 win at Northwestern, his second career game.
"In the grand scheme of things, it's one game," Carey said, downplaying another win over a Big Ten team. "We've been here before in a situation like this. We're 2-1, that's all it means. Are we going to enjoy it for 24 hours? You bet."
As Northern Illinois was finishing off Nebraska on Saturday afternoon, Purdue was beginning their obliteration of Missouri. The victory put them one victory away from tying their single-season high of the last five years. It also put the rest of the Big Ten on notice that these are not Darrell Hazell's incapable-of-winning-a-conference-game Boilermakers.