Indiana regains the Bucket

WHAT HAPPENED: Indiana scored the most points by an IU team in an Old Oaken Bucket game, defeating Purdue 56-36 in front of 44,882 at Memorial Stadium to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 2010.

The Hoosiers finished the season 5-7 overall, 3-5 in the Big Ten, improving by one win in each and earning three conference victories for the first time since their last bowl trip in 2007. Purdue finished 1-11 overall, 0-8 in the Big Ten.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: IU redshirt sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson got to play almost an entire game for the first time this season and he matched a record with the opportunity. His six passing touchdowns matched Bob Hoernschemeyer’s IU record set against Nebraska in 1943. Roberson passed for 273 yards, completing 25 of 37 passes, and also rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 21 carries.

With both his arm and his legs, Roberson opened the game up for Indiana’s running game, which had its best performance of the season despite the continued absence of sophomore tailback Tevin Coleman, who missed his third straight game with an ankle sprain. Senior tailback Stephen Houston rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries and junior tailback D’Angelo Roberts rushed for 113 yards on 14 carries.

Junior wide receiver Cody Latimer caught seven passes for 110 yards, going over 1,000 yards for the season. His 27-yard touchdown reception was the game’s most dazzling play, as he ripped the ball away from Purdue nickelback Antoine Lewis, tight-roped the sideline and reached the ball across the pylon for the score. Junior wide receiver Shane Wynn caught seven passes for 52 yards and three touchdowns and seniors Kofi Hughes and Ted Bolser each caught touchdown passes in their final games.

Purdue quarterback Danny Etling threw for 485 yards and four touchdowns. DeAngelo Yancey caught 11 passes for 125 yards and a score and slot back Danny Antrhop caught five passes for 151 yards and a score.

WHY DID IT HAPPEN: Indiana coach Kevin Wilson didn’t mean for it to come off as an insult, but he said that Purdue’s 2013 team reminds him of his 2011 squad, his first in Bloomington which also finished 1-11 without a victory over an FBS school. And yeah, it does appear that Purdue is that bad at the moment. The Hoosiers only punted once in 11 drives, and that was when third-string quarterback Cameron Coffman stepped in for what might be his final drive at Memorial Stadium. Roberson threw two interceptions, one in the end zone, and Indiana scored touchdowns on the other eight drives. The Boilermakers couldn’t handle Indiana on the ground or in the air and the Hoosiers finished with a school record 692 yards of total offense.

Indiana does deserve some credit, though, for going with Roberson to produce the running game and sticking with it. Coleman’s absence has crushed the Hoosiers’ running game the past two weeks as Indiana managed just 224 yards in the first two-games of his absence. The zone read option worked brilliantly with Roberson, however, and opened up holes for Houston and Roberts allowing the Hoosiers to finished with 401 yards on the ground on 54 carries. That’s the most this season.

IU’s receivers also simply overpowered Purdue. Boilermakers cornerback Ricardo Allen finished with two interceptions but otherwise, Latimer, Hughes and Wynn mostly had their way.

IU’s defense is, of course, still a problem. The Hoosier managed to hold Purdue to just 31 yards on 16 carries, but had major breakdowns in the passing game, allowing Etling’s 485 yards through the air for a total of 516 yards of total offense, nearly double Purdue’s season average. The Hoosiers had just enough offensive breakdowns to allow Purdue to turn a 49-9 game into a somewhat interesting game.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN: This game may have been meaningless for postseason, but it was a must-have for Indiana on a number of levels. Had they lost, they would have failed to improve over last season and they would have of course suffered a loss against one of the most hapless teams in a Bowl Championship Series conference. The Hoosiers did allow Purdue to make it at least a little interesting, but mostly they asserted their superiority and maintained at least some degree of momentum in the program going into Kevin Wilson’s fourth year. The seniors get to walk away with the Old Oaken Bucket and good memories of their last college football game and the returners get the sort of positive reinforcement that will help them to keep pushing through another offseason and nine months until their next football game.

There is obviously a lot that needs to be discussed as the Hoosiers step away, most notably what to do about a defense that is unquestionably the worst in the Big Ten and one of the worst in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Wilson has side-stepped questions about defensive coordinator Doug Mallory’s future, but there will obviously be a reckoning there. If he decides to get rid of him, then he has to pick a defensive coordinator that can turn that group around quickly to pair with the Hoosiers’ potent uptempo offense. If he keeps Mallory, he has to know that he now owns all of Mallory’s successes and failures, and that if Mallory can’t turn the defense around, that defense will eventually take Wilson down with it.

The Hoosiers also have to figure out what they’re going to do at quarterback and whether they can afford to go another season with a two-man system. Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson each have two years of eligibility remaining, and the Hoosiers have to decide whether what they’re doing is working or whether they have to finally pick somebody.

There are other issues as well, one being whether or not junior wide receiver Cody Latimer tries to take an early run into the NFL Draft, but all of it will be easier to deal with with the Bucket in hand.

WHO SAID WHAT:

AUDIO: Kevin Wilson

AUDIO: Ted Bolser

AUDIO: Greg Heban

AUDIO: Shane Wynn

 

2 comments

  1. Sure didn’t look like 44,000 in the stands on TV. I think playing while school was on Thanksgiving break hurt turnout.

Comments are closed.