Thank God. We’re at the end of this long and painful season at last. Losing 9 straight games really puts a drag on any fan base, let alone one as tortured as Indiana Hoosier football fans.
Indiana beat Michigan State last week?
While completing 2 passes all game?
And running for over 250 yards?
And scored 39 points?
AND WON THE BRASS SPITTOON????
Why indeed sports fans, the Indiana Hoosiers football team did in fact walk into East Lansing and beat the treacherous Michigan State Spartans last weekend. That brings the season win total to a whopping 4 wins on the year and 2 conference wins. While it is true that Indiana is likely out of bowl contention (5-7 teams shouldn’t go bowling #changemymind), the final result is not “nothing.” In fact, it could be that the Indiana Hoosiers may be in the midst of finding themselves FINALLY.
This weekend is another special weekend. It is not only the last game of the year, but it is also the Old Oaken Bucket game against our hated rivals, the Purdue Boilermakers. The Boilers come into the game on Saturday in the midst of a B1G West title chase, however they are completely not in the drivers seat at the moment. In fact, come gametime on Saturday, Purdue could be playing for literally nothing if Iowa defeats Nebraska on Friday.
So how will these two teams fare, and will it really be that interesting? Let’s see.
- Purdue comes into this game having crushed Indiana last season in a 44-7 ass kicking. That was the largest margin of victory in the bucket game since the 2008 drubbing of the Hoosiers, where Purdue won 62-10.
- The last Hoosier victory was in 2019 (2020 was not played due to COIVD outbreaks on both squads) when Peyton Ramsey (I miss you <3) put a QB keeper in the endzone in overtime to win 44-41.
- This series is actually knotted up at 5-5 over the last 10 meetings.
- Tom Allen is 1-3 against the Boilers in his career.
Fun Facts & Roundball
Because I’m lazy, I’ve outsourced my fun facts once again to our wonderful Boilermaker correspondent BoilerUp89. BU89, anything fun for us?
BU89: Fun fact that might actually be new to our audience: Purdue had the first university owned airport. It’s the 2nd largest airport in Indiana. The inventor of the chicken nugget (Robert C. Baker) received his doctorate from Purdue.
Buff: Neat. Got any basketball opinions for us?
BU89: Well... I’ve already said this on OTE, but I dont think Indiana is the favorite in the conference this year anymore. I have them 4th in the pecking order at the moment. Any of those 4 could win and I wouldn’t be surprised, but I’d take any of MSU, Iowa, Illinois right now.
Purdue basketball seems to be doing really well with in state recruiting the past few years. Something I definitely noticed during the Xavier game starting lineups: just 1 starter from IN for IU. Which is probably why IU can’t shoot.
Buff: Galloway, TJD (Mr. basketball), Leal (Mr. Basketball) are all Indiana kids. Galloway can’t shoot for shit and Leal can’t guard his shadow and can’t shoot. But I understand what you’re saying because…well…I just understand. Lol
How you likin Mr. Smith so far?
BU89: Pleasantly surprised. He’s a 4 year player for the same reason the rankings didn’t like him. So I’m picturing him as a senior.
And Painter develops pretty well.
Buff: Awesome. Well, thank you for your contributions BU89! I hope you have 3 painful hours on Saturday but a wonderful holiday weekend and season!
What to Watch For
1) Can Indiana really sustain itself not throwing the ball?
Indiana had 44 carries last weekend in the win against Michigan State. They threw only 7 passes and completed just 2 of those. That is quite literally the polar opposite of how they played this season to that point. It’s really no wonder that Sparty struggled with a gameplan. However, the question on my mind is, “is that sustainable?” Will it work twice in a row? Or can you get Williams to throw the ball…say 15 times and complete 8 or 9? Or do you just do the same thing again? That’s what I’ll be looking for this weekend.
2) Can the defense actually get a few stops?
Indiana came into this season with a relatively veteran defense. Especially in its defensivebacks room. The Hoosiers, on paper, looked like they’d have a legit defense. That has quite literally been the opposite of what’s happened. This Hoosier defense has struggled all year and specifically on the corners. Williams and Mullen have been bad compared to what they once were. However, it only takes one game to get your mojo back and Purdue chucks it around a lot. Can the defense find its soul again? We’ll be looking for that this weekend.
3) Can two trophy game wins really salvage the season?
This rather subjective question is something every Indiana fan needs to consider. If Indiana manages to win its second straight game to close the season, two trophy games at that, is that result good enough to buy support heading into 2023? Me mostly votes no, but I won’t dissuade you from voting yet should the results show a win in Bloomington Saturday. So will two wins to close the season with 5 wins total be good enough? We’ll see.
It’s Not Just The Results, But The Journey As Well
There’s no doubt that losing 7 straight games isn’t great for the soul. It becomes harder and harder to watch each time because for so long, Indiana was Charlie Brown and Lucy was always pulling wins out from under our feed. You got that feeling a lot this season in Nebraska, Maryland especially, and Rutgers. Tied with the ball on the 50 to start the 4th in Nebraska, driving to take the lead against Maryland only to fumble on the second play with 5 minutes left, and scoring 14 1st quarter points and only 3 more the rest of the game and losing by 7 to Rutgers really makes you feel like this team was oh so close to being decent.
That feeling is amplified should the Hoosiers win this weekend. Finishing with 5 wins and losing those 3 games in that fashion really stings. However, given where Indiana was 2 weeks ago is it good enough to say the season was somewhat salvaged?
I find that end results can be often misleading. Sometimes scores appear closer than the contest was. Sometimes, it is the opposite. What every Indiana fan must reckon with is the thought of if this Hoosier team has done enough to prove they’re on the right track. Is Tom Allen still the right guy for the job? It’s easy to look at two rivalry wins and be happy, but don’t forget about those 7 consecutive losses where Indiana was absolutely horrid.
I don’t have any clue if Indiana can beat Purdue. Purdue has Tom Allen’s number as a head coach. Purdue also may be playing for a shot at going to Indy. Indiana may not be playing with something material on the line, but they are providing a launching point for next season. This win may not be must win, but it feels like it really should be.
Game Time 11/26 –3:30 PM EST – BTN