WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The rain is coming down on this Saturday morning, and it doesn't look like it's going to stop any time soon, according to weather reports. That means we might see a sloppy Old Oaken Bucket game between Indiana and Purdue Saturday.
As always, it's a big one — at least inside our state's borders — because The Bucket is at stake. Purdue has won two in a row in this rivalry, and Indiana plans on changing that today.
Here are the particulars:
- Who: Indiana Hoosiers (7-4 overall, 4-4 in Big Ten) vs. Purdue Boilermakers (4-7 overall, 3-6 in Big Ten)
- When: Noon ET, Saturday, Nov. 30
- Where: Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, Ind.
- Line: Indiana is a 7-point favorite, per VegasInsiders.com
- AP poll rankings: Neither team in ranked
- TV: ESPN2
- Announcers: Anish Shroff, John Congemi, Kris Budden
- Radio: Indiana Radio Network
- Announcers: Don Fischer, Buck Suhr, Joe Smith
Here are three I want to see from the Hoosiers in their rivalry game with Purdue:
1. Force some turnovers against a young quarterback
Aidan O'Connell is the third quarterback to play for Purdue this season after Elijah Sindelar and Jack Plummer were lost for the season due to injuries. He's a walk-on with very little experience, so it's time for Indiana to get creative on defense and force some turnovers from the young quarterback.
Indiana's defense under Tom Allen prides itself on forcing turnovers, but that simply hasn't been the case this year. They had an 18-game streak of forcing a turnover end in Week 2, and it was the third-longest streak in the country at the time. But this year, Indiana has forced only 13 turnovers all year, 9 fumbles and 4 interceptions. This is the time to get some picks against an inexperienced quarterback.
2. Run the ball well, even if Stevie Scott can't go
Stevie Scott has been a workhorse at running back for the better part of two years now, but he left last week's game against Michigan with a lower leg injury and his availability on Saturday will be a game-time decision.
Scott ran for 1,137 yards a year ago as a freshman, and he has 845 yards and 10 rushing touchdowns so far this season. If he can't go, backups Ronnie Walker Jr. and Sampson James will need to have big days. They can do it, because Purdue's rush defense has been horrible all year, last in the Big Ten in the non-Rutgers division. Wisconsin torched them for 403 yards on the ground last week. We certainly can't expect that with Indiana, but 200 yards or more would sure be nice, especially if it's going to rain throughout the game.
3. Smile big for all the pictures when you're holding The Bucket
It's important to celebrate well in rivalry games, because those pictures of hoisting the Old Oaken Bucket last forever. It's VERY important for Indiana to play well and win this game on Saturday because this turnaround season would sound much better at 8-4 than 7-5.
Indiana is favored by 7, but this is no gimme. Not with a sloppy field, and an opponent with nothing to lose. Purdue isn't going to a bowl game this year, so this is their last game of the year and they will pull out all the stops. Indiana has to be ready for everything, and it must play well. After tough losses to powerful Penn State and Michigan, Indiana simply cannot end the season with three straight losses. It's time to get that Bucket back.