Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE
IU and Purdue played a competitive game for three quarters, but Purdue ended up with a comfortable win.
The Indiana offense put plenty of points on the board against Purdue yesterday, but four turnovers and an awful performance by the defense allowed Purdue to win the Old Oaken Bucket for the second consecutive year. IU put up 512 yards and 5.8 yards per play, and a respectable 35 points. But four turnovers, including three Cameron Coffman interceptions, gave Purdue plenty of good opportunities, and the Boilermaker offense probably didn't even need them. Purdue gained 558 yards and averaged 8 yards per play. The Hoosiers led 21-14 at halftime, but allowed Purdue three quick scores to start the second half and IU suddenly trailed 35-21. Still, as in 2010, IU gamely rallied from a 14 point deficit to tie the game at 35 early in the fourth quarter. Unfortunately, from that point, it was all Purdue. After the tie, IU managed only 37 yards and three drives, and two of them ended with interceptions.
IU squandered an excellent performance by Stephen Houston, who ran for 158 yards and 3 touchdowns. Houston also caught 12 passes for 95 yards. He should be excellent as a senior. Coffman put up a bunch of yards, but the thre interceptions offset that. Shane Wynn (5-89). Cody Latimer (5-67-1), and Kofi Hughes (4-76) put in strong performances as receivers.
On defense, there were few highlights. IU had no sacks and only four tackles for loss. The biggest highlight was Greg Heban's 70 yard interception return in the second half, which set up IU's go-ahead score shortly before halftime.
This was, of course, a disappointing finish to a game that nearly everyone on each side believed would be a close game. The Hoosiers showed some promise this season. They won multiple Big Ten games for the first time since 2007 and were in nearly every game (even yesterday's, despite the final score). But despite all of the junior college infusion, thanks to the explosions of the past three weeks IU finished 5 yards per game worse in 2012 than in 2011. This is a bit misleading, because of IU's fast-paced offense. The 2011 defense was on the field for 854 plays, compared to 910 for the 2012 Hoosiers, so IU's 6.1 yards per play in 2012 is modestly better than the 6.4 yards per play allowed in 2012. And IU's scoring defense was improved, allowing 30 points per game in 2012 compared to 37 in 2011. But in any event the 2011 and 2012 defenses were comparable, and that is highly disappointing and will have to be addressed in some manner. Personnel decisions within the coaching staff are well beyond my competence to suggest, but I'm not sure they should be off the table (I'm talking about assistants--Wilson is and should be safe). This was a promising season in some respects, but not to the point that any of us can be certain about the future of the program.