WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — This season hasn't turned out the way injured-riddled Indiana had planned, but there's one last chance to make a statement on Saturday in the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game with Purdue.
The Hoosiers are just 2-9 on the season, and have lost all eight Big Ten games. It's the first Bucket game in two years because COVID stripped last year's game off the schedule. Indiana won in 2019, and still has the Bucket.
But for how much longer?
Indiana has brought in speakers to talk about the Old Oaken Bucket game, including former coach and player Mark Deal, and former great running back Anthony Thompson and quarterback Nate Sudfeld.
"Mark Deal, I am not sure there is a more passionate Indiana Hoosier on this planet. It runs deep in the Deal family,'' Indiana coach Tom Allen said Wednesday. "He is understandably very proud of his family and his father playing here, and his brother and himself being part of Buckets that they have been able to win and all of the I's on the chain that they have inside that Bucket is a powerful thing.
"Our guys were fired up when he got done talking. He does a great job of making sure they understand how big a game this is to us, our fan base and to our university. We have other alumni that we utilize, even having Anthony Thompson here on campus on a daily basis. He is another guy that has talked to our guys, and we will have some others. We do video each week with alumni to be able to share and we got another one coming up this week. We have some former players (who are going to talk to the team). Nate Sudfeld is going to share with our guys. We just try to take advantage of all of them that have a stake in this big game and have had an amazing experience playing in the game, and obviously it is personal, and it is passionate, which makes it special.''
Here's how to watch Indiana's game with the Purdue Boilermakers, with gametime and TV information, the latest on the point spread and information on the coaches and the game.
- *** LIVE BLOG: And once the game starts, follow all the action on our live blog. To read that story, CLICK HERE.
How to watch Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers
- Who: Indiana Hoosiers at Purdue Boilermakers
- What: Old Oaken Bucket rivalry game
- When: 3:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.
- TV: FOX Sports 1
- Announcers: Chris Vosters (play-by-play) and Devon Gardner (analyst)
- Stream: Watch FuboTV
- Radio: IU Radio Network; XM 382, SXM App 972
- Radio Announcers: Don Fischer (play-by-play), Buck Suhr (analyst) & Joe Smith.
- Point spread: Purdue is a 15-point favorite over Indiana according to the SIsportsbook.com website on Saturday morning. The over/under is 50.5 points.
- This year's records: Purdue is 7-4 overall, 5-3 in the Big Ten; Indiana is 2-9, 0-8 in the Big Ten
- Last season's records: Indiana was 6-2 overall, and 6-1 in the Big Ten, losing to Ole Miss 26-20 in the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Fla; Purdue was 2-4 overall, and finished the season on a four-game losing streak.
- Series history: Purdue leads the all-time series 74-42-6. Purdue's last victory came on Nov. 24, 2018. The game was not played last year because of COVID-19 issues at both schools.
- Last meeting: The teams last met on Nov. 30, 2019, with Indiana winning a hard-fought battle 44-41 in double overtime in West Lafayette. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey scored the winning touchdown for Indiana, and passed for 339 yards and three touchdowns on the day. Then-freshman running back Sampson James rushed for 118 yards and a score for Indiana, the only 100-yard outing during his 15-game career at Indiana over two years. He transferred to Purdue during fall camp and is sitting out the 2021 season.
- Coaches: Jeff Brohm is in his fifth season as the head coach at Purdue. He has a 26-29 overall record. He previously spent three seasons as the head coach of Western Kentucky. Tom Allen is in his fifth season as the head coach at Indiana. He is 26-31 as Indiana's head football coach.
- Weather: According to weather.com, it's going to be a cloudy day in West Lafayette, with a temperature of around 44 degrees at kickoff and a 12% chance of rain.
Three things I want to see from Indiana
Generate some offense finally
Indiana's offense has struggled all year long, and injuries to quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle have been a big reason why. True freshman Donaven McCulley has had a hard time moving the offense, so much so that we might see more of walk-on quarterback Grant Gremel on Saturday, simply because he knows the offense better and is a better thrower.
Indiana's offense simply has to bebetter, and that means converting third downs and driving down the field. And, of course, when you do get in the red zone, score touchdowns instead of kicking field goals.
"We have to be able to stay on the field,'' Allen said. "It's critical, being able to make manageable third downs, being able to drive the football and convert third downs, whatever those might be. Obviously, the more manageable the better. There's no doubt that's the objective, just trying to be able to do that and help the football team.''
Create turnovers finally
Outside of the injuries, the biggest difference between the 2021 Hoosiers and the 2020 Hoosiers has been their inability to create turnovers on defense. It''s been an issue all year, and Saturday would be a good day to finally flip that switch.
Indiana's defense has has some nice moments this year, led by senior linebacker Micah McFadden, who is second in the Big Ten and seventh nationally with 15.5 tackles for loss. He has had at least one tackle for loss in 15 of the last 16 games.
"Turnovers create field position, and we need to try to steal some possessions,'' Allen said. "That'ss critical for us to be able to have that mindset as a whole group. In some ways it is not a lot different than every single [week], but obviously, it's more critical when you have less guys you have at your disposal to play.''
Just find a way to win, somehow and some way
Ending the season on a high note would make a huge difference, obviously. That comes from just making a few big plays, in all three phases of the game.
"Getting a win, it would be huge with all we have been through,'' Allen said. "Sometimes when you are in it, you don't have a chance to take a step back and realize what you've been going through. It's been challenging. So, getting a win would be massive for our program and for our players. I just want it for these guys. I want them to finish this way: to finish.''