Boilermakers try to salvage season vs. Indiana

JIM JOHNSON Associated Press Published:

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) -- Purdue can salvage its season, get bowl eligible, beat a big rival and maybe even save its coaches job with one more victory.

The Boilermakers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) face Indiana for the Old Oaken Bucket on Saturday.

"This is a great opportunity this weekend," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "We've fought hard and came back and we've played well and we've won and we've gotten ourselves in position to have a winning season and to get into postseason play and maybe play in a pretty good Bowl game."

For Indiana (4-7, 2-5), it's about bragging rights, winning it for the senior class and using the win for a positive note in recruiting.

"It's always easier to continue to develop and work hard when you have positive notes," Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said. "Win or lose, whatever the outcome is on Saturday, we're still building. But it's going to be a lot easier to build with recruiting and build with work outs, it will be a lot easier to build with success, without questions."

The Hoosiers have taken some steps forward this season and at one point was in the mix to make a run to the Big Ten championship game, but then dropped the last two games to Wisconsin and Penn State.

The Boilermakers have won the last two, winning at Iowa and at Illinois, but lost five straight before that.

"We had these great expectations and unbelievable opportunities but not able to get it done," Hope said. "Then all of a sudden that's a letdown and you might lose a little bit of confidence as a team and your fan base loses a little bit of confidence. All those things can snowball and affect you in some ways."

The Hoosiers have a chance to spoil Purdue's hopes of a bowl game appearance. Indiana has scored at least 22 points in all but one of its games.

"They're playing very well right now, wide open offense, hyper-speed tempo offense, can really crank the plays out," Hope said. "They can get the ball snapped in 10 seconds if they want, can really speed the process up, so that will be a challenge for us defensively."

Indiana quarterback Cameron Coffman is completing 61 percent of his passes for 238.6 yards per game passing. The Boilermakers have had to use three quarterbacks because of injuries and ineffectiveness, and it hasn't always worked out all that well.

Robert Marve, Caleb TerBush and Rob Henry have all ran the offense this season.

Still, for the Hoosiers, it's just about winning for themselves.

"To me, it just means a little bit more year two," said Wilson, who will coach in his second Bucket game. "A commitment to our kids and wanting to get guys like Adam (Replogle) and Will (Matte) to have a good week and end to their careers. They've made a lot of investment here. They've helped us significantly. They've earmarked our program with their commitment and work. It would be nice to send those guys out on a positive note."

The Hoosiers and Boilermakers have been fighting for the Bucket since 1925.

Purdue, which has won three of the last four meetings, took the Bucket last year with a 33-25 win in Bloomington. The year before, the Hoosiers got it in West Lafayette with a 34-31 overtime win.