November 24, 2012; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers running back Stephen Houston (12) runs against the Purdue Boilermakers in Ross Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

Old Oaken Bucket Game: Purdue Boilermakers vs Indiana Hoosiers

The Purdue Boilermakers travel south to face in-state rival the Indiana Hoosiers Saturday afternoon. It will mark the 116th meeting between the two teams and it is also the 89th Old Oaken Bucket game.

Purdue has had a dismal season with just one win (1-10) all season. Indiana, which was thinking bowl game before the season began, struggled with scheduling and sits at 4-7.

Suffice it to say that neither team has much left to play for save pride.

Both teams are awful in their own unique way, much like a snowflake. Purdue seems to be allergic to the end zone, while IU couldn’t stop a flag football team from scoring at this point.

When Purdue Has the Ball

  • Which team has the worst unit? IU has the worst defense in the Big Ten. Purdue has the worst offense in the conference. Something has to give here. IU gives up 39 points per game and 529 yards. Purdue scores an average of 13 per game and gains just 261 yards. Even if Purdue gets the upper hand on IU, they’ll still have to keep up with the Hoosier offense, a tough task for some teams.
  • Will IU’s defense be the worst ever in the Big Ten? IU has to limit Purdue to under 233 yards, or else they will set a record for average yards allowed in conference games. Frankly, either one could happen. Purdue could march up and down the field like every other Big Ten team or IU could finally play one decent game on defense and lock down the Boilermakers.
  • Can Purdue find the end zone? In recent weeks, Purdue has actually shown signs of life on offense and have 51 points over the last three games (as opposed to the two shutouts the weeks before). The problem is that opponents have scored 105 points against them in that stretch. The Boilers have to find a way to consistently get points, or else IU will outpace them rather quickly.

When IU Has the Ball

  • Will Tevin Coleman play? If IU has him back then the offense becomes very dangerous again. His absence against Wisconsin and Ohio State made the scores much more lopsided. He needs just 42 yards to break 1,000 yard rushing this season. The other backs on IU’s roster are solid, but are not nearly as complete as Coleman.
  • Bounceback? IU’s prolific offense has scored just 17 points in the last two games, both on the road. Coming back to Memorial Stadium and playing against a rival should give them a boost. Purdue has the second worst scoring defense in the conference, giving up 36 points per game. IU might struggle early once again, but will find consistency at some point during the game.
  • Cody Latimer vs Ricardo Allen. Latimer needs just 14 yards to break 1,000 yards receiving this season and he should get it on Saturday since he averages 15 per catch. He’ll face one of the better corners in the Big Ten in Allen. Allen has three interceptions this season to go along with three passes defended, not exactly eye popping numbers but he is still a very good CB who could make the NFL. Last season, Latimer had five catches for 67 yards and a TD with Allen shadowing him.

Common Opponents

The great part about being in the same conference, and state, is that both teams have faced common opponents. We can learn a lot about what each performance says about the team.

Indiana State – IU won 73-35. Purdue won 20-14. The Hoosiers did Purdue a huge favor by knocking out RB Shakir Bell the week before. The Boilers don’t get their lone win of the season if he plays, and nearly didn’t anyway as ISU was a short drive away from victory.

Penn State – IU won at home, 44-24. Purdue lost on the road, 45-21. For Purdue it was its third most prolific game on offense all season. For the Hoosiers, it was the first time they’d ever beaten Penn State and IU actually played good defense! I know, I was shocked too.

Illinois – IU won at home, 52-35. Purdue lost at home, 20-16. This game, just a week ago, might have been the Boilers best chance for a Big Ten win. Illinois is terrible at football this season, but then again so is Purdue. IU managed to pull away late, but the game was close all day and both teams put up over 600 yards of offense.

Michigan State – IU lost 42-28 and Purdue lost 14-0. The Hoosiers helped MSU find its offense and Purdue played its best defensive game of the season. Only one team has scored as many points as IU did on MSU all season, so that’s something.

Wisconsin – IU lost 51-3 and Purdue lost 41-10. The Badgers rushed for a combined 942 yards against these two teams.

Ohio State – IU lost 42-14 and Purdue lost 56-0. Not much to say about those games. Incliment weather kept the Buckeyes from breaking 50 points against IU, and Purdue was down 28-0 after the first quarter.

This game feels like a blowout in favor of IU. I don’t see how the Boilermakers are going to keep up with the Hoosiers on the scoreboard. Indiana has played decent defense against the lesser teams in the Big Ten and Purdue’s offense is pathetic. It will be a classic weakness vs. weakness and strength vs. strength on Saturday.

Expect both teams to throw out the playbook and do whatever they want on the field. Neither has anything to lose.

IU defeats Purdue, 42-21.

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Tags: Indiana Hoosiers Purdue Boilermakers

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