The bucket game is finally here again. Last year it was a meaningless game between two teams that were not going to a bowl. This year Purdue has already wrapped up a bowl berth, and the Hoosiers need to beat the Boilers in their last game to get to a bowl for the first time in over a decade. Last year the Boilermakers crushed the Hoosiers 41-14. This game could go the same way, and then again it could be close. The Hoosiers have been great when they are on, but horrible when they are off. They beat an Iowa team that was ranked in the top 15 at the time fairly easily, but they have also been crushed by a Minnesota team that is fighting to get into a bowl as well. They have beaten one 1-AA school, but have been beaten by a 1-AA school. Which team shows up in Ross-Aide will determine the game.
The past two weeks the Boilers have been handed games in the second half. Last year we still would have lost those games. This year we have won both of them. Our defense will have to stop Lewis and Hardy to keep the Indiana offense down, and our offense will have to snap out of its funk if we hope to have a shot at this one. Last year Korey Sheets had a great game against IU. Let’s hope he can have another one this Saturday.
My prediction: Purdue 45 – Indiana 41
I have been to five previous bucket games in the last ten years. The Indiana weekend has usually produced lasting memories for me. Let’s see if this one can top the rest of them. Here is a brief look at the previous five meetings:
1. 11/18/2000 – Purdue clinches its first Rose Bowl against the Hoosiers in Ross-Aide Stadium. Montrell Lowe runs for 208 yards and 4 touchdowns in the win. Drew Brees leaves Ross-Aide Stadium for the final time a winner. Purdue wins 41-13
2. 11/19/2005 – The Boilers and Hoosiers meet with nothing on the line but pride, and the Hoosiers fail to defend the rock. Korey Sheets runs for 140 yards and 3 touchdowns as the Boilers roll to a 41-14 victory. This was my first game back in Memorial Stadium since I was in the student section in 1994.
3. 11/21/1998 – Purdue wins easily 52-7 at Ross-Aide stadium. Drew Brees throws for 237 yards and 4 touchdowns for Purdue. Something else happened that weekend, but I can’t remember what.
4. 11/23/1996 – This was the last game for both Bill Mallory and Jim Colletto. The Hoosiers win one for their coach, and snap a 15 game conference losing streak in the process. This was my first bucket game. I went because I was a Purdue student who still knew the players on the Indiana team from my time there. Indiana wins easy 33-16.
5. 11/23/2002 – Exactly six years after my fist bucket game I saw Purdue beat the Hoosiers in Ross-Aide stadium again. The Purdue offense ran for 296 yards against the Hoosiers. Purdue won 34-10 to claim the 50th P on the bucket.