Number of the day: 7
That’s the number of touchdown receptions that Erie native and former Purdue great Bernie Flowers scored with the Boilermakers during the 1952 season.
He was a consensus All-American after helping Purdue to a share of the Big Ten title that season. In addition to the TD total, he had 43 receptions for 603 yards, which were big numbers during a time when few teams passed frequently.
His top effort that season came when he scored three times against Illinois while catching six passes for 87 yards in a 40-12 Boilermaker victory on national TV. He also had a four-reception, 108-yard game against Notre Dame, the first 100-yard receiving performance by a Purdue player. He was drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the second round of the 1953 NFL draft.
He was born Benjamin Bernard Kwiatkowski but used the surname Flowers because Kwiatowy translates from Polish as “flower.” He starred with Tech during the late 1940s.
Flowers was inducted into the Erie Metropolitan Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Purdue Hall of Fame in 2003. He died in 2011 at the age of 81.