Purdue takes back Bucket with 33-25 win at Indiana
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP)
Indiana wanted to salvage something from its miserable season by hanging onto the Old Oaken Bucket.
They couldn't even manage to do that.
Ralph Bolden ran for one score, Antavian Edison scored two TDs and Carson Wiggs made four field goals Saturday, helping Purdue get past archrival Indiana 33-25 and possibly into its first bowl game since 2007.
''This is the worst feeling in the world, of course, having a horrible season like we've had,'' receiver Kofi Hughes said. ''We thought this would be a positive feeling heading into the offseason, but now we just have to flip this back as motivation. We have workouts on Monday. The one thing that is still going to be on our minds from winter workouts, spring ball and summer ball is that we lost the Bucket, so we've got to get it back.''
Indiana (1-11, 0-8 Big Ten) finished coach Kevin Wilson's first season with nine straight losses and as the only BCS-conference team without a victory over a Football Bowl Subdivision foe.
Worse, they lost the Bucket by helping the Boilermakers (6-6, 4-4) become bowl eligible for the first time under coach Danny Hope.
For the first time in seven games, Indiana held an opponent to fewer than 40 points. When Purdue failed to score in the third quarter Saturday, it marked the first time in 29 quarters, dating to Oct. 1, that the Hoosiers defense kept an opponent scoreless.
It wasn't good enough for Wilson.
''In my short-term experience here when a player does reasonably OK, all of a sudden we talk about how well he's doing and we never get to what we're capable of being because of the entitlement and the semi-arrogance that an average player gets when he's playing pretty well,'' Wilson said.
Purdue wasted no time dancing around the trophy, taking pictures with it and even kissing the Bucket.
At 6-6, including 4-4 within the Big Ten, Purdue is the 10th league team to reach the mandatory six wins for postseason play and with only eight bowl tie-ins, there is no guarantee the Boilermakers will be playing in December or January.
But that wasn't going to detract from the milestone win.
''We had some great wins this season, but nothing is quite as sweet as beating Indiana, in Bloomington, to get the Bucket and become bowl eligible,'' linebacker Joe Holland said, grinning from ear to ear.
Still, things could have gone better for Purdue.
The announced attendance of 42,005 didn't come close to filling Memorial Stadium, and a smaller-than-expected contingent made the 2-hour drive from West Lafayette to Bloomington.
That didn't seem to matter to Paul Viglianti, a representative of the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit.
''You want teams that are bowl hungry and Purdue is excited about being in a bowl again,'' he said. ''It's only a gas tank away to go to a bowl for anybody in the Mid-American Conference or the Big Ten, so the proximity is really important. It's always a better game when there's a Big Ten team because you get more local, regional audiences wanting to purchase tickets.''
The other big concern is the status of running back Ralph Bolden, who left in the third quarter with what appeared to be a right knee injury. He ran 14 times for 54 yards including an 8-yard TD run but he did not finish the game. Bolden missed all of last season after tearing the ACL in his right knee, and before leaving the field, teammates, including quarterback Robert Marve, came over and wished Bolden well.
Purdue coach Danny Hope had no update on Bolden after the game.
''It's disappointing and we'll wait and see what the diagnosis and the prognosis is, maybe everything's going to be fine,'' Hope said.
TerBush was 16 of 25 for 192 yards with one TD and no interceptions, and Akeem Hunt ran 10 times for 100 yards after replacing Bolden.
Indiana freshman quarterback Tre Roberson was 17 of 26 for 147 yards with one interception, a call the officials decided to review before later announcing that a dual-possession play was not reviewable. Stephen Houston rushed seven times for 129 yards and one score, and D'Angelo Roberts scored on two of his four carries for the Hoosiers.
That just wasn't enough.
''I thought the guys fought hard, but it's disappointing,'' Wilson said.
What started as a wild shootout turned into a defensive struggle in the second half.
Houston opened the scoring with a 52-yard TD run, and Purdue answered with a 14-yard TD pass from TerBush to Edison.
Roberts followed that with a 6-yard TD run up the middle to make it 14-7, and after Raheem Mostert's 81-yard kickoff return, Bolden's TD tied the score at 17 with 8:37 left in the first half.
The Hoosiers couldn't get back into Purdue territory the rest of the half, and Wiggs made field goals of 43 and 48 yards to give Purdue a 23-17 lead. Wiggs' fourth field goal, a 22-yarder, and Edison's 5-yard TD run made it 33-17 with 11:04 left in the game.
Indiana closed to 33-25 late, but the interception that was not reviewed, which was also the only turnover of the game for both teams, sealed Purdue's win and perhaps a bowl trip.
''It was just ridiculous in the locker room, guys were jumping around everywhere, but it's time to celebrate,'' Edison said. ''I think we've done enough to make a bowl game. I'm not trying to think negative anymore; I'm trying to think positive.''