Boilers Regain Possession of Old Oaken Bucket
On Saturday, the Purdue Boilermakers walked into Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, IN with a mission and walked out with an air of achievement- and the Old Oaken Bucket. The Boilers took down the Indiana Hoosiers 33-25 in what turned out to be a very well played football game. This game was a huge win for Purdue as it made them bowl eligible for the first time since 2007 as they finish the season 6-6 overall and 4-4 in the Big Ten.
The game was highly competitive as most rivalry games are but the difference came on the defensive side for Purdue. Early in the game the Hoosiers offense was rolling as they marched down the field on 3 of their first 4 possessions for scores (two touchdowns and one field goal). The Hoosiers were utilizing their triple option attack led by quarterback Tre Roberson and running back Stephen Houston.
The game changed midway through the second quarter when the Boilers defensive front seven started to shut down the Hoosiers. The holes that were opening up early were closed down. Led by stud defensive tackle Kawaan Short, Purdue’s D-line started to get penetration and the short passing attack for IU was kept in check mostly by shut down corner Ricardo Allen.
As the Purdue defensive started to step up, the Boiler offense hit its stride. Behind the two-headed QB monster of Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve the Boilers from the 6:50 mark in the 2nd quarter to the middle of the 4th quarter out scored the Hoosiers 33-10. The key was third down conversions as IU’s defense just could not get off the field when they needed to and TerBush/Marve were making the necessary plays (with their arms and legs) to keep the chains moving.
The game was not without some controversy though. In the 4th quarter, the Hoosiers tried to mount a comeback. With 8:22 left in the game, IU scored on a five yard touchdown run by D’Angelo Roberts (who to my knowledge is no relation to former IU basketball player “The Amazing Elbow Pad”- Mike “The Snake” Roberts). The Hoosiers then converted a 2-point attempt to cut the lead to eight, 33-25. Following the scoring drive the Hoosiers D forced the Boilers to a short 6 play drive resulting in a punt. The punt in itself was a good kick that landed around the 5-yard line and bounced towards the goal line. As Purdue players began to flock to the ball, one Boiler slid in after the ball and with his legs laying in the end zone touched the ball to down it. This should have been ruled a touchback but was a missed call. The Hoosiers then began to drive on the Boiler D looking for a chance to tie the game up. On a first down and with the ball resting on the IU 35-yard line, QB Tre Roberson looked to go up top to wide out Nick Stoner. Stoner and Purdue DB Josh Johnson both went up for the ball. It appeared that Stoner had the initial possession and as they fell to the ground both players arms were around the ball. Then after they hit the turf Johnson ripped the ball away from Stoner and the play was ruled an interception. The replays showed that as the two players came to the ground they both had their hands on the football and in the case of dual possession the reception is suppose to go to the offensive player. The officials however ruled that is was Purdue football. When IU coach Kevin Wilson tried to challenge the call he was told that it was not a reviewable play as dual possession in the middle of the field of play is considered a judgment call. So the Boilers took over with 4:11 remaining and were able to run out the clock.
All in all this was a big win for Purdue becoming bowl eligible, finishing .500 in the conference, and regaining the Bucket. The win was also big for head coach Danny Hope (and his mustache). Hope was seen to be on a little bit of a hot seat in West Lafayette. This win and the impending bowl game is a big step forward for Hope as he tries to get the Boilers program back on the winning track. It is not known yet what bowl bid Purdue will accept but what is known is that this is a nice winning note for them to build on and the extra couple of weeks of practice will help their team moving forward towards next season.