Author: Dan Vietor
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists
It makes you wonder when teams lose a big game and then face a weak opponent whether there would be a letdown. In many people's minds, Purdue only needed a win over Indiana to secure an Outback Bowl bid. But others might turn to the polls where a resurgent Iowa team only needed a win on the road over Wisconsin to leapfrog Purdue in the polls and make them the better pick. Considering that Indiana had been beaten 142 to 20 by the their last three opponents with a pulse, it seemed like this could be a game that Purdue could highlight their good season and walk away with a BIG win. But then you have to play the game!
1 P20 I00 11-80 TD I34 P22 6-44 FG
1 P13 P18 3- 5 punt I48 50 3- 2 punt
1 P20 P25 5- 5 fumble P16 P09 4- 7 block FG
1 P14 P17 3- 3 punt I40/P28 9-32 miss FG
2 P28 I00 6-72 TD I20 P24 14-56 downs
2 P24 P49 7-25 punt I48 P45 3- 8 punt
2 P18 P24 3- 6 half
3 I40 I24 3--14 punt
3 P40 I00 6-60 TD I20 I22 3- 2 punt
3 P20 P21 3- 1 punt I33 P00 6-67 TD
3 P20 P25 4- 5 punt I37/P23 10-40 FG
4 P15 P28 5-13 INT P16 P05 7-11 FG
4 P28 P28 1- 0 INT P44 P20 4-24 INT
4 P22 I04 8-74 FG I20 I45 6-25 downs
4 I45 I37 7- 8 game
The game was marked with Purdue having four strong drives resulting in all 24 points. The rest of the game, the Purdue offense was trying to figure out how to give the ball back to Indiana in the quickest fashion possible. Indiana's offense moved the ball well between the 30s but the Purdue defense held Indiana to three FGs and a TD. If you look at the game, this was Indiana's to win as Indiana took eight drives inside Purdue's 30 yd line only to score four times. There were two missed FGs, an INT and one drive that ended on downs. Clearly the Purdue defense has to be given some credit but also has to take some blame. Only three of those drives were Purdue gifts on turnovers.
Purdue takes the opening kickoff and for the 10th time this year, they score. Indiana's defense was powerless to stop Purdue's attack. Void gets the first play and runs for 11. After another first down, Ray Williams runs for 19 to the Indiana 39. Void then runs for another 11 to the 28. After a short Void run, Orton is sacked for a loss of 7 setting up 3rd and 15. Orton then hits Stubblefield for 20 to the 13 yd line. Void then goes for another 10 and then completes the drive with a 3 yard run to put Purdue up 7-0.
Indiana doesn't take long to respond. On the second play, BenJarus Green-Ellis breaks a run to the left side for 36 yds to the Purdue 28. But two short runs and an incomplete forces a 39 yd FG which makes the score 7-3 Purdue.
Both teams exchange 3 and outs before Purdue starts another decent drive. Orton hits Standeford for 9 and Void runs for 4 and a first down at the Purdue 33. After a short Void run, Purdue gets hit with a holding penalty making it 3rd and 18. Orton throws to Ingraham at the 42 but the catch is fumbled and Cedric Henry returns the fumble to the Purdue 16. Luckily for Purdue, three Green-Ellis runs end up 4 yards short and Indiana tries a 26 yd FG. This time, the kick is blocked and Shaun Phillips recovers the ball. Purdue then goes 3 and out and Indiana is set up in decent field position at the IU 40 to end the first quarter. Matt LoVecchio passes to Courtney Roby for 5 and Green-Ellis runs for 10 for a first down at the Purdue 45. LoVecchio hits Pannozzo for 8 and a play later Green-Ellis runs for 6 to the 31. Again, the Purdue defense stiffens and Indiana attempts a 45 yd FG which ends up short and Purdue escapes another scoring attempt. Purdue, starting at the 28 gets a 8 yd completion to Standeford and Ray Williams runs for 4 and the first down. Void runs for 8, 7 and 2 to the Indiana 41. Orton then hits Standeford streaking down the right sideline for a 41 yd TD. This was a major blow for IU who had dominated the game, had three great scoring opportunities and yet find themselves down 14-3.
Indiana was unfazed as they start another nice drive. One third and 13 at the 17, LoVecchio scrambles for 12 setting up a short 4th down. Indiana goes for it and Tyson Beattie runs to the right for 18 for a first down at the 47. Two more runs by Green-Ellis and LoVecchio get another first down at the Purdue 43. Purdue's defense stops IU and sets up another short 4th down and again Indiana goes for it. LoVecchio sneaks up the middle for 3 and the first down at the 32. An incomplete and two runs by Green-Ellis set up a 4th and 2 at the 24 and once again Indiana goes for it. This time Green-Ellis is stuffed and Purdue escapes another Indiana drive without any points.
With 5 minutes to play in the half, Orton starts the next drive by scrambling for 6 and Brooks runs for 6 and a first down at the 36. Three Void runs of 6, 3 and 6 give Purdue a first down at the 49. But Orton is sacked and called for intentional grounding resulting in a loss of 13. Indiana now smelling a possible last minute drive calls timeout. Orton does manage to complete a pass to Brandon Jones for 11 but they are forced to punt on 4th and 10. Slaton's punt is returned by Lance Bennett to the IU 47. Immediately, LoVecchio is sacked for a loss of 10 and Indiana can't recover and punts back to Purdue with 47 seconds left. Orton just runs the clock out preserving a 14-3 halftime lead.
In a half that saw Indiana deep in Purdue territory 4 times, IU had only 3 points. Purdue seemed like they were in a daze and had a 185-150 yd offense advantage.
The third quarter started like the game did. LoVecchio is sacked on the first play and Indiana is called for holding setting up 2nd and 26. After a short pass to Green-Ellis, LoVecchio is sacked again and Indiana punts. The punt is short and Purdue takes over at their 40. As has been the custom most of the yearr, Purdue scores on its first drive of each half. This was no different. Void starts the drive with a 14 yd run to the Indiana 46. Void goes for 4, Orton scrambles for 5 and Void gets the first down at the 35. After a short Void run, Orton, for the second time today, hits Standeford to the right for a 33 yd TD to put Purdue seeming in control, up 21-3.
Both teams exchange 3 and outs and then IU decides to get back into the game. Starting at their 33, Green-Ellis runs for 7 and 3 and LoVecchio follows that up with a 10 yd run of his own to the Purdue 47. LoVecchio then hits Roby for 7 and Green-Ellis goes for 1 setting up a 3rd in 2 at the Purdue 39. The next play, Green-Ellis breaks a run up the middle and goes into the endzone for a TD to close the score to 21-10.
Purdue starts its next drive with a nice 11 yd Void run but on second down, Williams is dumped in the backfield for a 7 yd loss and Purdue is forced to punt. Indiana now with the momentum drives again into Purdue territory. Starting at the 37, LoVecchio hits Green-Ellis for a 14 yd completion to the Purdue 49. A play later, LoVecchio hits Glenn Johnson for 10 for a first down at the 38. On 3rd and 12, LoVecchio hits Green-Ellis for 13 and a first down at the Purdue 28. Three Green-Ellis runs only go for 6 yds and the defense hold. Robertson kicks a 40 yd FG to make the score 21-13 to end the third quarter.
Indiana now smelling blood stops Purdue. Orton is sacked on first down for a loss of 6. Orton does hit Stubblefield for 5 and Chambers for 13 for a first down at the 27. But after a Void run for no gain, Cedric Henry again intercepts Orton and returns it 12 yds to the Purdue 16. With a chance to tie the game with a TD, Indiana goes to work. Green-Ellis runs for 4 and then catches one for 4 more. Johnson catches one for 5 and a first and goal at the 5. But after stuffing Green-Ellis for no gain, two passes go incomplete and Indiana once again kicks a 22 yd FG to make the score 21-16.
To make things worse, Orton's first pass on the next drive is also intercepted by Herana-Daze Jones and Indiana is back in business at the 44. LoVecchio hits Johnson for 18 to the Purdue 26. Green-Ellis runs twice for 3 and 2 setting up a 3rd and 5. But the Purdue defense again comes up big and Landon Johnson intercepts LoVecchio ending the drive. That may have just been the momentum breaker Purdue needed to secure the win. Void then runs for 1, 9 and 3 yds to the Purdue 36. Then Orton went to his favorite target, Standeford and the completion goes for 56 yds to the IU 8. But after a short Orton run and a 1 yd Jones run, Orton's pass to Stubblefield falls incomplete and Ben Jones hits the chip shot 21 yd FG to put Purdue up 24-16 with just over 5 minutes left.
Indiana's next drive starts well with a Green-Ellis 3 yd run and a pass to Johnson for 17 to the 40 but the drive stalls. Two short runs and an incomplete sets up 4th down. This time LoVecchio's pass is incomplete and Purdue takes over on downs with 3:25 to play. Short runs by Orton and Void set up a 4th and 1 but Void manages to make the first down allowing Purdue to run the clock out and preserve the win, 24-16.
As most Bucket battles go, this was another close one. Indiana played one of its best games of the year and Purdue, who played sloppy, was lucky to get the win. Purdue won the yardage battle 395 to 311. But 130 of Purdue's yards came on 3 long passes to Standeford that resulted in 17 of Purdue's 24 points. Orton, in what has to be one of his weaker performances this year, goes 11-20 for 222 yds, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Standeford, the star of the game, catches 6 for 151 yds and 2 TDs. Stubblefield catches 2 for 25. Void in another decent rushing performance goes for 141 yds on 31 carries. On Indiana's side, LoVecchio had a nice second half passing in going 12-26 for 115 yds and 1 INT. Glenn Johnson caught 4 for 51 and Green-Ellis caught 4 for 39. Indiana's star was Green-Ellis who shreded the Purdue defense for 155 yds on 35 carries. It was easily the best run performance against Purdue's defense all year.
With the regular season over, Purdue must now wait and see where they go for a bowl. In what seemed to be a lock for the Outback Bowl at the start of the day seems less so after Iowa's 27-21 win at Wisconsin. Both teams finish the season 9-3 and Iowa is likely to leap over Purdue in the polls by virtue of Purdue's near loss to 2-10 Indiana and Iowa's win on the road over bowl bound Wisconsin.
With Ohio State's loss to Michigan today, Michigan sews up the Rose Bowl bid. Ohio State will drop back in the polls and will be a long shot for a BCS at-large bid. At this time, there are likely to be 3 SEC teams and Texas ahead of Ohio State for that bid. So OSU needs a lot of help. Without that, the Buckeyes should get the Capital One Bowl bid. Purdue and Iowa will have to wait and see who the Outback takes with the loser going to the Alamo Bowl. Minnesota, Michigan State and Wisconsin will fight it out for the last 3 bowl spots. Northwestern who beat up on Illinois is bowl eligible but will likely need a miracle to be the Big 10's 8th bowl team.