WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It's halftime here, and it looks like Indiana is dead-set on getting the Old Oaken Bucket back after losing to Purdue two years in a row. At the break, the Hoosiers lead 24-10 in pursuit of their eighth win on the season, despite two huge blunders by the Indiana defense.
It's the first time in five years that a bowl slot — or two — aren't available today. Indiana is 7-4 and had clinched its bowl berth before Halloween. Purdue is 4-7 and will miss a bowl for the first time in Jeff Brohm's three years.
Let's break it down:
What I liked: Indiana followed its first long drive with a second one, and it ended in a touchdown, as well. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey snuck in from the 1-yard line to make it 14-0. It was 11 plays long and took up more than 5 minutes.
What I didn't like: Indiana's defense allowed two long runs to Purdue's Zander Horvath, which was shocking. Not so much because IU allowed it, but because of who it came against. Purdue's running game has been horrible all year, but Horvath went right up the middle untouched for a 48-yard run, then followed it up two plays later for another 20.
In Horvath's two years at Purdue, he's never had a run of more than 25 yards. Indiana made it look too easy, especially letting it happen twice.
What I didn't like even more: On another third-and-long at the midway point in the second quarter, Purdue tight end Brysen Hopkins beat Indiana linebacker Cam Jones off the line and quarterback Aidan O'Connell hit him right in stride.
With no safety help in the middle of the field, Hopkins went 72 yards for a touchdown, Purdue's longest offensive play of the season. That a longest run AND a longest pass in one quarter for the Indiana defense.
Key play: With Indiana leading only 14-10, it was imperative that Indiana get back on the scoreboard, and they did. Ramsey was perfect on the drive, going 3-for-3 passing for 51 yards, with the big play a 24-yard back pass to a wide open Peyton Hendershot.
The tight end broke several tackles and got the ball down to the 3-yard line. Sampson James scored two plays later to make it 21-10
Number that matters (89): Considering that Sampson James only had 148 yards rushing coming into the season, going for 89 yards in the first was very impressive.
Wide right: Logan Justus missed his first kick of the year right before halftime, missing right right from 40 yards out. He wasn't totally to blame, because Ramsey took a stupid sack that cost Indiana 12 yards when the Hoosiers were already at the Purdue 14-yard line.
Indiana-Purdue: First-quarter analysis.