WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. —It sure is nice to have Whop Philyor back in the Indiana lineup. He's having a big day for Indiana in the Old Oaken Bucket game against Purdue.
Philyor, Indiana's top wide receiver and probably the team's MVP, returned from a concussion to have a big day for the Hoosiers. He scored on a 37-yard touchdown play., and had seven catches for 135 yards through three periods.
At the end of three quarters, Indiana led 28-18
Let's break it down:
What I liked: Indiana forced a second turnover on Purdue's first drive, which was an encouraging sign for a team that preaches turnovers but hasn't really delivered on that promise this year. Prior to Saturday, the Hoosiers had only forced 13 turnovers all year. True freshman cornerback Tiawan Mullen stripped the ball from Purdue running back Zander Horvath and recovered the fumble.
What I liked even more: Purdue went for it on fourth-and-1 from Indiana's 45-yard line, using O'Connell on a quarterback keeper behind the right side of his line. But Indiana stood strong and stopped him. It was huge, because officials had measured before the play and Purdue was just inches away from a first down. The play was reviewed, and the ruling on the field stood.
What I didn't like: For the second straight drive, Indiana got inside the red zone but failed to get any points. The Hoosiers got to the 19-yard line but then quarterback Peyton Ramsey was sacked twice, and a delay of game penalty pushed them back as well. They punted from the 35-yard line and Haydon Whitehead dropped it inside the 5-yard line perfectly, but Indiana didn't get it covered. The wasted drive kept it at 21-10.
What I didn't like even more: Indiana's defense, which has been pretty disappointing the past three weeks, didn't hang on to that 18-point lead for very long. After Indiana went head 28-10, Purdue marched right down the field, scoring a touchdown on an impressive six-play, 75-yard drive with 1:44 to go in the quarter. Once again, too many receivers are allowed to run wide open downfield.
Key play: After that key fourth-down stop, Indiana went right down and scored, with the big play being an easy 37-yard touchdown throw from Ramsey to Whop Philyor. There was a busted coverage in the Purdue secondary, and Philyor was wide open. It was good to have Philyor back. He was injured in the Penn State game and didn't return, and then didn't play last week at Michigan, either.
Number that matters (89): Considering
Wide right II: Logan Justus' 43-yard field goal attempt midway through the third quarter went wide right, too. The wind was certainly an issue, but it was kind of shocking to see him go 11 games in a row without missing a kick, and then missing two in a row.