Purdue reclaims Bucket, rolls over IU 31-24

WEST LAFAYETTE — With 55 seconds remaining, and a last-chance onside kick attempt safely in Purdue hands, Indiana assistant athletic director Mark Deal reached for the carrying case.

Inside was the Old Oaken Bucket, the coveted rivalry trophy that IU has controlled since 2013. But as the final seconds of Saturday’s 31-24 Indiana loss to Purdue fell off the clock, Deal initiated its transfer back to the Boilermakers’ side of the field.

Flanked by Indiana State Troopers, Deal walked toward midfield and found the first wave of Purdue players. He shook hands with two, gently placed the case on the turf, then jogged through a sea of crestfallen IU players toward the visiting locker room complex adjacent to Ross-Ade Stadium bleachers.

Amid the din of defeat inside the locker room, the Hoosiers’ upperclassmen spent their tears on an opportunity missed — the latest of many in this disappointing season of unmet expectations.

Indiana’s offense, which had struggled so often this season to field a consistent run-pass punch, buried the Hoosiers early. Indiana’s defense, featuring the eight senior starters and the core players of this year’s team, struggled to contain a Purdue rushing attack that totaled 272 yards on the ground, gashing the Hoosiers late.

All told, this was a flat performance for IU in a must-win scenario, a regular season finale undone by poor execution, poor coaching and an opponent that outplayed the Hoosiers for much of the day.

“I was really disappointed in our performance today,” IU coach Tom Allen said. “The kids worked hard to prepare, overcome so much this season and stayed together through out it all. Dug a hole for ourselves at the beginning and weren’t able to come out of it. That’s on me. It’s my responsibility to get them ready and make sure we respond the right way.”

The Hoosiers trailed 31-10 to start the fourth quarter, narrowing their margin of defeat by posting 227 of their 497 yards in the final period. Indiana went down with a fight, using a pair of touchdowns in the final six minutes — a four-yard reception by Taysir Mack and a nine-yard reception by Whop Philyor — to chip away at the deficit.

But it wasn’t enough to overcome the sloppiness and lacking attention to detail that plagued them through the first three-plus quarters — and for much of the season.

“This program is very close,” linebacker Tegray Scales said. “We’re right there. I don’t have the answers on what we’ve got to do to win those close games. But I think we’ll get there.”

Saturday started poorly for Indiana, which saw quarterback Richard Lagow throw a costly interception that Purdue’s Garrett Hudson picked off over the middle on IU’s first offensive play of the day. Jackson Anthrop took a jet sweep six yards to the end zone on the ensuing snap, giving Purdue the early 7-0 lead.

Until the late scoring flurry, IU ambled through another one-dimensional effort from its offense. Of Lagow’s 373 passing yards — he finished 32-for-60 with three touchdowns and the interception — 243 of those came during the fourth quarter.

With Peyton Ramsey unavailable due to injury, Indiana stuck with Lagow, who received little help from a mostly-absent rushing attack.

IU’s defense answered late in the first quarter when defensive end Gavin Everett forced a fumble that was recovered by Scales at the PU 41. That set up a 10-play scoring drive for the Hoosiers, who looked early and often to receiver Simmie Cobbs. They finally connected on a well-placed ball by Lagow from the 1-yard line.

But Indiana couldn’t get out of its own way the rest of the half. Purdue converted a fake punt pass to extend a second-quarter drive, catching the Hoosiers off guard even as IU set up in a base defense at its own 41, aware that a fake could be on the way.

Indiana didn’t cover Mike Little, who caught the fourth-down pass for 22 yards. Three plays later, Anthrop was in the end zone on his second jet sweep scoring play of the day.

“That was costly,” Allen said. “We were in punt safe mode, kept our defense on the field and that should never happen. That’s on us, that’s on me, that’s on coaching. Really, really disappointed in that for sure.”

Purdue built its lead to 21-7 with two minutes left in the half when receiver Anthony Mahoungou climbed the ladder over IU corner Rashard Fant for a 49-yard touchdown reception.

The bad first-half performance continued even as the Hoosiers seemed to gain a golden opportunity just before the intermission. Running back Ricky Brookins broke free for a 64-yard run that took Indiana to the PU 11. The offense failed to cash in, however, forcing IU to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Griffin Oakes and go into halftime trailing 21-10.

The Hoosiers nearly had a touchdown to open the second half, a 39-yard strike from Lagow to Cobbs, but the score was negated by a chop block on right guard Mackenzie Nworah.

“That’s tough,” Allen said. “Gosh, I didn’t see it, but they called it and that takes points off the board. That’s tough, really tough.”

Purdue running back Markell Jones took over in the second half, posting 159 of his eventual 217 yards on the day. Jones’ tough running set up a Purdue scoring drive to start the final quarter. A four-yard pass from Elijah Sindelar to Isaac Zico gave the Boilermakers a 31-10 lead.

Even as the Hoosiers offered a late fight, it was not enough to overcome what was, to that point, an ugly day of football.

“I really wanted another month with the guys on this team,” Lagow said. “That’s the biggest disappointment, the most disappointing part about it.”


  1. How does a coaching staff allow their team to start such an important game so flat? IU’s first half performance was simply unacceptable.

  2. Enjoy the personality of coach Allen. A heck of a way to end a season for a program with so little success for so long. Roll over IU

  3. Too bad really. I guess now it’s time to concentrate on our staff and weed out the ones holding us back. With all respect to Scales, it’s getting old that the program is “close”. The fan base is see it to believe it cause of the years of jadedness and false hope. ( Bill Lynch and Cam Cameron). Seats will remain empty and fans will continue to give up midway at the game and leave until the trend is reversed. If it ever is that is……

  4. I don’t think this team is close at all. It has regressed. This game is on Allen and inept coaching staff. The whole season they made bonehead plays and poor decision making. They still could have been ok if they beat Maryland. They didn’t. Allen is a ra-ra guy but he lost momentum this year. If I were glass offensive coordinator and Hart would be gone. If he doesn’t do it, Allen should be gone. He should be on a short leash.

    1. And just what is your profession? One year and you would fire the head coach? You are a joke! What are these “bonehead” plays and decisions made by the head coach? Playing Lagow? Ramsey is injured and Tronti is a redshirt. Losing to MD? That is a result not a decision! I was very disappointed in the energy and execution against Purdue. But that game is over. Let’s recruit, train and prepare for Spring Ball!

      1. BeatPurdue…I would like to give you some bonehead plays and decision….the constant 3-5 yard pass to Ricky Brookins out of the backfield, when you need 7 to 8 yards, whereby you are expecting a none playmaker to make a play (this play was in every game this year). Decision, know knowing who your playmakers are…you started Mike Majette at running back, when it was clear by the second/third game that Cole Geist and Morgan Ellison should be your running back…..An the biggest bonehead move putting your top returning wide receiver on the kick-off tackling squad instead of freshman Ty Fryfogle (when you burned up his red shirts anyway). Playmaker Whop Philyor (injury some of year) not returning kickoff or punts, using him more in offense. nothing against Luke Timian, but a starting wide receiver group of Simmie Cobbs, Nick Westbrook and J-shun Harris sound pretty good…..BeatPurdue I will give you that this year is over and it is time to recruit and train for next year….But if this offense coaching staff is this poor in finding playmakers and game players,now is the time to cut your losses, not three to four years down the road…..If Kevin Wilson had of cut Mallory go after the first year, who knows what would have happen….BeatPurdue, I for one say give this coaching staff another 3-4 years, what have you got to loss, we where last in the Big Ten east and we will be last again next year!!! Why because the Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan are getting nothing but better….Michigan State and Maryland (beat IU with 4th string quarterback) are out recruiting Indiana…So Indiana and Rutgers can fight for the final spot. Does IU football have the upside that Purdue football has at the moment??

        1. Thanks. At least you put “some meat on the bone”. 1) Do you think that Brookins was the primary option? I don’t. I think that he was a 2-3-4 option check down and Lagow panicked and threw to his check down first. 2) Majette got almost no carries after the first three games. But yes Ellison and Gest are our RB’s. But you have to be healthy enough to play. 3) injuries are random and no one can predict them. But the PN St game proves that you need good players on the special teams! 4) IU should be as good as MSU and MD. MI is not out of reach. PN St and OSU are without some luck!

  5. Jeff H – I 100% agree despite how much I want truly like Allen’s coaching persona. The Maryland game was inexcusable. The majority of today’s game was too. The Michigan and Michigan St. games were basically choke jobs. The offense has been a train wreck all year. Losing the momentum of the last two years is dangerous for this program. You’ve got to get it back right away or else it’ll be back to Dinardo level before you know it.

  6. I made the decision many seasons ago not to get my expectations,too high and avoid the big let down at the end of the season. I U football is like the Cubs World Series drought, the Rose Bowl Team marked 50 years, this season. We have another 50 years plus wait, for the next I U Rose Bowl game.

  7. In all actuality I would agree with you if Allen was like Miller. I don’t think our record will be great in basketball but we are on the right track. I think Allen took a step back and he shouldn’t have. This team had enough talent to win 8 games (7 for sure). They didn’t win and if you watched the games you would have to agree that our offense was offensive. We played not to lose instead of to win (watch mich st game, mich game). The Illini game set back football 20 years.

    1. When your returning starting QB has a great arm but can’t make any plays to win games consistently, you lose the “winnable” away games. That was ZiU this season: MSU, MD and Purdue. IU could have been 8-4 not 5-7!

  8. For all the DeBord has to go must have said last year Wilson had to go since this team scored more points than last year. The complaint about short passes that didn’t get 1st downs misses that four receivers either were not open or the QB missed the open receivers and dump the ball to the RB. None of us know what was going on and many see the play and think they know just want the coaches were trying to do.

    Last year we were right where we were this year going into PU except this year instead of beating PU 26-24 Purdue had a much better coach. There offense and defense was much better and I really doubt IU would have won last year with Wilson going against this year’s PU.

    Does IU need to improve and make some changes this off season, yes and the coaches will be working on that. We will see a different style of offense next year. People look at the receivers and think the offense should be back to where it was with Sudfeld. Ignoring that the OL had not seniors and struggled last year when Feeney and Camiel were out. Also our Receivers weren’t as good with Westbrook and Hale out for the season. Our two best RBs were a Redshirt Freshman and a true Freshman. Our QB room was a senior that struggled last year along with a Redshirt Freshman and a true Freshman plus a walk-on.

    With the recruiting advantage UM has and their experienced HC their offense struggled all year. Yesterday’s game even the defense was shown lacking against OSU. Even Alabama’s defense was lacking against Auburn with even the offense not getting the job done. With overwhelming talent even the top teams don’t play well some games. Too many here make a judgement based on one year. Should Purdue hate coach Brohm, many spoke out against his hire, because Rutgers beat them while PU score only 12 points. Maybe one of the other 5 losses should disqualify him. Personally I loved the hire of Brohm and Allen. Give coaches time to develop their program instead of demanding firings after one year.

    1. I do remember a key third down play(I believe it was 3rd and 10) in which Lagow completed a pass to a receiver who ran a crossing route shy of the first down marker/line. The Hoosier receiver was being blanketed by the PU defender and corralled immediately upon the completion…I’m thinking to myself, why in the hell don’t you run that route one yard plus/beyond the first down marker instead of one yard shy? Very poor execution….(a) Lagow had to see how closely the receiver was covered and knew the chances were slim of getting the needed yardage and (b) the receiver should know to run a tightly covered route beyond the sticks. These are basic fundamental things. One would think that players at this level would not be so limited in situation/field awareness.

    2. Nice post v13. Not sure I fully agree with everything, but it’s ok for people to do that. 🙂

      I don’t think that your analogy of Alabama giving up points to the #6 team in in the country is appropriate for IU Football. The program took a step back this year and fell into the same characteristics that have plagued this program in the past. It wasn’t the case of a good team having a bad game. Just as always, Indiana let games slip away and lost ones that should have been won. Also, they continued the tradition of laying at least one egg against a really bad team (Maryland).

      The offense wasn’t going to be all world, but the play calling was atrocious. Play calling has been an issue all year. It lost us the Michigan game. Allen needs an OC who can just handle it. Wilson was the opposite, of course. I think he held on to Doug Mallory for too long, and when he finally got Allen, he was in the middle of rebuilding dip with personnel on the offense. In Allen’s case, he needs an OC who can own the offense. I feel DeBord isn’t that guy. And I think the longer they retain him, the longer we will struggle and we’ll eventually have issues recruiting.

      I’m not a “sky is falling guy”. I just want to see actual moves being made that aren’t built on fluffy bumper sticker slogans like “breakthrough.” Until then, my expectations are that we are going to continue to eat dirt at the bottom of the B1G East. But I would love to understand further what leads you to believe how you think DeBord is going to make improvements. You have a unique perspective and I’d love to learn what you’re seeing that I’m missing.

  9. v13 – lets exam something, why was the word “BREAHTHROUGH” choose by Tom Allen…..because he though or believe he had enough talent (play-makers) and players on this team to “BREAKTHROUGH” an win. An like Poduner said Fred Glass saw an opportunity to save some money and hire who he though was an up and coming assistant coach (safe hire, media friendly and fan (high school coaches buddy) friends), while getting rid of an arrogant and obnoxious coach. I agree firing a coach or assistants coach after one year is ridiculous, but look at this team next year and the rest of the BIG Ten. IU has no quarterback over 6′ feet tall that can throw the ball 15-20 yards accurately or with any type of speed. The team losses eight starters on defense. Next year at best is a rebuilding year. So at best as a IU fan we are looking at the next 2-3 years at the bottom of the BIG Ten east….Would Kevin Wilson had done any better, maybe not…but it is one thing for sure Kevin Wilson was a lot more innovative (did things outside the box – riverboat gambler), basically made up for his team/players lack of talent.

    1. Wilson was good on offense, only on offense! Peyton Ramsey has a higher QB rating than your 6’6 QB. He is 6’3 and throws the ball well. The velocity of the throw is important only on the deep sideline throw, it is counterproductive on the end-zone fades, the back-shoulder, the short over the middle, and other throws. Tronti is also 6’3. He is potentially a great thrower and winner. He could be like McSorley at PN St. So I c

      1. my error BeatPurdue, Peyton Ramsey is listed at 6’2″ and Nick Tronti is listed at 6’2″ I should have looked at the roster before posting that blog. But I hope for all IU fans that one of these two quarterbacks helps IU “BREAKTHROUGH” and become a winner. After 40 years of following IU football I am tired of this script of insanity

  10. v you’re singing to a choir of zero. DeBord is a dud, loser. His play calling can be read like a book. His elementary checker game against opponents chess prowess. If Brohm is an 8, MD a 2 and that’s generous. The young players filling in on the OL played better last year as younger players than this year. No nasty, no chip on the shoulder displayed. That’s the fault of a downgrade in coaching. Mike Hart as a runner had good feet. As a coach he has little that works between the ears. He is piss poor. Under Kevin Johns IU WR’s gained separation. Under Heard it has been seldom. I’ve suspected and feared this outcome since the Meatchicken game. I can only hope our HC recognizes poor coaching hires faster than Wilson did with DC’s. If not this program regresses. Very possibly to 3-9.

  11. Under Heard its not about separation and routes, its about being tall and jumping (jump ball) for the ball. This IU team had three receivers ( Cobbs, Westbrook and Harris) that where capable of reaching a 1000 yards, yet none do!! Do you blame the receivers?? Or the coaching staff and the systems?? Do not blame the QB (Lagow) as Westbrook was a 900 plus yard receiver with Lagow last year!!! So it has to be the system. Oh by the way, whatever happen to calling IU running back U….Hart and the offensive coaching staff killed that dream. IU had a 1000 yard back for the past 4 years…..It is all on the Mike Debord offense

    1. You are sadly misinformed. I do blame Lagow. His arm is great, but his touch is poor, his mobility is negative, his decision making is poor. He was a good #2, but not a winning #1. Sudfeld was drafted by the NFL and lasted 3 years. Lagow will not be drafted.

      1. Lagow won’t be drafted. What a scoop… Grow up kid. We’re trying hard to be civil here but honest when need be. Nobody is attacking you. Just some people differ and that’s ok.

  12. We can discuss assistant coaches until the cows come home, but the key observation is the difference between Purdue and IU in the course of 12 months. Last year’s Purdue team was terrible. They brought in a new head coach who had proven he could produce winning seasons. He brought most of his old staff with him and that coaching staff, working with the former coach’s talent, has lead Purdue to a 6-6 record and to a bowl game. IU on the other hand, hired another coordinator. He was an excellent defensive coordinator, but had no head-coaching experience at the college level, and no history of building a inning program. Purdue is going to a bowl game and IU produced yet another losing season. The contrast between the two programs, in the course of one year, is stark. The trajectory of Purdue’s program, with it’s 12,500 increase in home-game attendance and its new $65 million football training facility is HUGE! After producing yet another losing season, IU will struggle to improve recruiting. In other words, the odds of IU being able to sign the type of players that can produce a winning season has declined. IU is repeating its own history. And it’s all, 100% on Fred Glass. Now to be fair, Allen and staff should be given more time. Firing large portions of his staff will probably do more harm than good. Hopefully, Allen is smart and learns fast, and will make some changes. But it is unlikely that he’s going to be in a position to recruit the type of players necessary to produce a “break through” for IU football.

    This was so predictable. We’ve all seen it before. Hep dies, and IU gives their offensive coordinator a 4-year contract. He fails miserably, and IU goes out and hires a career O-Coordinator who fails to produce a winning season is six years. What does IU do? They hire yet another career coordinator. Why do they keep doing this? Because when it comes to football, IU is cheep. They can’t or simply won’t spend the money (invest) necessary to hire a coaching staff that has proven it can produce winning seasons. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is a sign of insanity. Give Allen more time. But if IU continues to regress, then IU should fire Fred Glass!

    1. I don’t know the minutiae of the facilities but I’d wager a guess, from what I have seen, that the new facilities in Bloomington surpass those in West Laffy.

      It certainly looks that way in videos.

    2. You are wrong! The only difference between this year and last year for IU is that the game was away not home! Last year IU won 26-24 in Bloomington (thus 6-6); this year we lost 24-31 (thus 5-7) in West Lafayette. Purdue was the better hungrier team. That is on the Coach and the staff.

    3. Give Allen time to get his guys in his system and give the man 3-4 years. Let’s face it, nobody is knocking our door down to get this gig except assistants. In the meantime, tweak the staff as needed. If it’s a hapless endeavor in 3-4 years then it’s a failure and Glass and Allen should be fired. Firing Allen now would only open the wound more. Come on…

    4. This is really good loaded post Podunker. It’s my opinion they can’t spend the money. Filling Memorial Stadium on an consistent basis would likely upgrade our staff but IU Football is sour milk to many and a fashion fad of a teenage girl.

  13. Amazing what a coach can do in college sports. I agree with Podunker. PU was dead last year and then they bring in a proven coach. It is the same players and they win. We had huge momentum and then Wilson gets fired/resigns. We were close but we just couldn’t close the gap. Now, we are at rebuilding stage again with a defensive coordinator. Allen is not capable to do this job. He should be the D-Coord, but now he will be here a couple of years and then get bounced. I hate to say it but this was on Glass. He hired Wilson, who was an @ss, but creative on offense. He should have taken his time after December 1, 2016 and made the right hire. Now we are stuck again. Meanwhile, PU made a great hire.

  14. Podunker, I agree with you 100% and t is so right about Ramsey…All we can do as IU fan is watch and see how this unfolds in the future!!!

  15. BTW, I am actually not as concerned with the graduations on defense as many here are. Remember what Allen came in here with. He took the same guys that ended up in the bottom of all FBS and made them into an incredible unit. We had a few guys injured who are coming back. I think Allen will have a competitive unit on defense again next year.

    Very concerned about the offense though.

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