4 keys to Indiana’s game vs. Purdue

1. Oakes for the Bucket: There isn’t a whole lot of talent separating either Purdue or Indiana, which means the Hoosiers’ ability to retain the Old Oaken Bucket could come down to the right leg of Griffin Oakes. The redshirt freshman has authored a decent year after winning the kicking job in September. He’s 10-of-14 on the season, and 5-of-5 within 30-39 yards. Oakes showed his power against Maryland in late September, kicking an IU-record 58-yard field goal as the first-half clock expired. He has missed his only other two attempts from 50-plus yards, but his consistency on medium range attempts could be the difference in Indiana’s season finale, especially late in the game.

2. Let Tevin Coleman do his thing: The junior running back needs only 94 yards to become the 18th player in FBS history to reach the 2,000-yard mark in a single season. He should get it — and more. In Purdue, Coleman will be running against one of the worst rush defenses in the Big Ten. The Boilers are allowing 213 yards per contest over their seven league games up to this point, so a big day for Coleman could be in the cards. If this is, in fact, Coleman’s last game as a Hoosier before departing for the NFL Draft, it would be a fitting way to go out.

3. Stop the Purdue backfield: The running game has disappeared for the Boilermakers, who have rushed for a combined 87 yards over their last two games. Indiana has played better against the run this year, allowing nearly 60 fewer rushing yards per game and one less touchdown than it did a season ago. Purdue running back Akeem Hunt lost two fumbles in last week’s loss to Northwestern, but the Hoosiers will have to do more than merely limit Hunt on the ground. Hunt is fifth in Purdue history with 4,447 career all-purpose yards, and his backfield mate, Raheem Mostert, is considered by some to be one of the fastest players in the college game. Mostert has 505 yards this season and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry.

4. Make this one count: The weight of another trying football season can be lifted with a second consecutive win over Purdue. Indiana hasn’t won back-to-back Old Oaken Bucket games in 20 years and, perhaps just as important, a victory prevents IU from going winless in the Big Ten. This is also a chance for Indiana to impress Chad Kelly, the No. 1 junior college quarterback in the nation, who will be in town for a visit. But more than any other reason, Indiana could use the solace of victory after having gone winless over the last two months. It could be the final game for Coleman, and it certainly will be for senior receiver Shane Wynn, so IU will have extra incentive to send them and the scores of other Hoosiers who will be playing their final game out with a win.