Written By Sammy Jacobs (@Hoosier_Huddle)
Opponent: Purdue Boilermakers
Location: Saturday November 25th, West Lafayette, IN
Why They Played: The Hoosiers and Boilermakers meet annually for the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket.
What The Game Meant:
This was a monster game for both schools as the Bucket and a bowl bid were on the line.
Top Offensive Performers
Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana-
Taysir Mack, WR, Indiana-
Markell Jones, RB, Purdue-
Jackson Anthrop, WR, Purdue-
Top Defensive Performers
Tegray Scales, LB, Indiana-Scales made six tackles, one for a loss, and recovered a fumble.
Markus Bailey, LB, Purdue- Bailey had another big game against IU. He made 11 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He was the game’s co-leader in tackles.
Danny Ezechukwu, DE, Purdue- The senior added 10 tackles, a sack and a TFL.
Da’Wan Hunt, CB, Purdue-Hunt laid a bunch of big hits and accounted for six tackles and two pass break ups.
Special Team Performance
IU played well again most aspects of the game and outside of a blown assignment on a fake punt. Griffin Oakes was three-for-three on extra points, hit his lone field goal and was one-for-two on onside kicks.
Haydon Whitehead was solid again netting 37.1 yards per punt and put four punts inside the 20.
Purdue ran the ball for 272 yards and two touchdowns. The running success was a bit of a surprise and gave the Purdue offense an extra dimension they needed to put up 31 points.
The turning point came with about six minutes left when Purdue rolled the dice on fourth-and-three and faked a punt. Punter Joe Schopper hit Mike Little for 22 yards and scored four plays later to make it 14-7.
I Knew it Was Over When…
When IU’s final onside kick was recovered by Purdue.
Players of the Game
Markell Jones, Purdue-Jones diced up the Hoosiers for 217 yards. He ran with purpose and with a chip on his shoulder.
Simmie Cobbs, Indiana- Purdue couldn’t guard Cobbs, he made seven catches for 105 yards and a touchdown.
What I took away from the game
This loss should make everyone, coaches, players, administration, fans, everyone in crimson and cream angry. It should make their blood boil. If it doesn’t IU football has a major problem. Yes, IU lost to Purdue 31-24 in a game they were outcoached, out played and “out-emotioned”. However, the most maddening thing to me was just how much Ross-Ade Stadium felt like a big-time venue again (credit the Purdue fans). If it wasn’t a sell-out, it was the closest thing to it. Purdue is a program coming off a four-year death spiral and when the Bucket Game came around and a bowl was on the line, their fans showed up. There were plenty of IU fans there as well, but take a look at last year when Memorial Stadium was half-full for a team looking to go to back-to-back bowl games. Purdue’s head coach Jeff Brohm’s message heading into the season was ‘Let’s Play Football’. Simple. Well, Purdue gets it. They have renovated Ross-Ade Stadium, although they need more concession stands, they have built a sparkling new indoor facility, they have a press box that doesn’t leak when someone flushes a toilet, and most importantly they pay their coaching staff almost double than Indiana does. Purdue’s staff makes a total of $7 million while IU is at $4.6 million. The only thing IU has that Purdue doesn’t is a big flag pole. Playing football is more than just the play on the field, it is all of the things I just listed and Purdue just does it better than IU. We’ll have more on this later in the off-season. On to the game.
As I stated above the Hoosiers were out classed all afternoon in West Lafayette. The Hoosiers handed Purdue a touchdown when Richard Lagow’s first pass was picked off and returned inside the 10-yard line (that’s two years in a row) and eventually settled down until the Boilermakers got aggressive and faked a punt that set up touchdown number two. Purdue was the more aggressive team all day and hit IU with several knockout blows. Everyone was expecting the fake punt and Allen even had his defense on the field in preparation for it, but Purdue made the play. After taking a 21-10 halftime lead, Purdue was bailed out by another IU mistake as a Simmie Cobbs touchdown was wiped out by a chop block that would have made the score 21-17, then Purdue put the hammer down and ran all over IU building up a 31-10 lead before IU mounted a last-ditch comeback effort that fell short.
The most disappointing part of the day was that Indiana allowed Markell Jones, a talent in-state back, to rush for 217 yards and a seven yard per carry average. Jones had 263 yards rushing on the year coming into the game. IU picked the wrong time and place to play a bad game.
Outside of a 64-yard Ricky Brookins run the Hoosiers ran the ball 31 times for 60 yards. The offense was one-dimensional, something we said would be the difference of the game.
So now what? IU isn’t going bowling and there is an early signing period coming up in mid-December. This staff will have to try and keep this class, which is ranked 39th nationally together. If not, things can really go south for the Hoosiers. Will there be changes in the program? Maybe, I don’t really know. But are there things that need to change to get IU back to the post-season next season? Yes, absolutely and we will talk about them in the coming days as we put 2017 to rest.