The Bucket Stays Home: Purdue Beats IU 28-21
Feature image from Clinton Cole (@cdcole55)
“If you take a lot of pride in playing in the state of Indiana, there's no reason to take your talents to another state. Come to Purdue and we'll make sure you achieve all your goals and have a lot of fun doing it with all your people involved and to me, that's how you build a special team." — Jeff Brohm, November 22, 2018
After an 0-3 start, everything boiled down to this game. Two in-state rivals playing for the 121st time, for the honor of hosting a 93-year-old Oaken Bucket; winner gets the Bucket, a Bowl, and ever-important bragging rights. Loser gets…well, a longer Christmas break, but something tells me these Purdue seniors were sick of having no plans over the holiday.
After a back-and-forth early, the Boilermakers took control with big plays in the second half and clinched a second straight season of Bowl eligibility with a 28-21 win at IU.
Let’s start with the two senior leaders on the offensive side of the ball. Markell Jones tends to have his best outings against the Hoosiers, and this year was no different. He finished with 95 yards on 11 touches (an astounding 8.6 yards per carry) and one touchdown, and as spectacular as those numbers are it seemed to undersell the impact Jones had on the Hoosier linebackers this afternoon in Bloomington. Jones will finish averaging just over 110 yards per game in his four games versus IU, which seems ideal for a Boilermaker.
The second senior leader? None other than David Blough, who finished 27/35 for 310 yards and 3 touchdowns. Now, those numbers make Blough look a little more superhero-like than he appeared during stretches of this game (one rough interception and a few key moments of indecision made things a little iffy for a bit), but Blough had a few moments of brilliance. None more than this absolute teardrop of a pass to some freshman kid named Rondale Moore for a 33 yard touchdown:
Blough and Jones will suit up one more time in old gold and black, and both of them have seen the best (the OSU win) and worst (uuh, Hazell) that Purdue football has to offer. It’s been beyond fun to watch them end their final Bucket game in style.
Defensively, both Purdue and IU were defined by dumb penalties (both teams with 6) and difficult injuries. On Purdue’s side of the ball, losing Lorenzo Neal early gave IU a chance to capitalize via their running game…but, for some unknown reason, the Hoosier playcalling didn’t go that way. Who knows what genius ideas were running through the minds on that sideline.
Rondale Moore finished his logic-defying freshman year with 141 yards on 12 receptions and 2 touchdowns, which is the best way to introduce yourself to IU faithful. His 103 reception, 1164-yard freshman campaign (to go alongside 12 touchdowns, and 200 yards/1TD on the ground) shows that Purdue has a real gem, and the 2018 Heisman committee agrees.
“Come to Purdue and we'll make sure you achieve all your goals and have a lot of fun doing it with all your people involved and to me, that's how you build a special team."
Jeff Brohm has something building here at Purdue. After the worst four year stretch 130-year history, Brohm walked in and transformed Purdue’s roster into back-to-back Bowl eligible Boilermakers for the first time since Danny Hope’s mustache walked the streets of West Lafayette.
Seconds after the win, every Purdue fan’s thoughts drifted to the same place: whether this ride would continue another year.
Seems unequivocal, but the coaching carousel works in mysterious ways.
Something tells me that’s the only intelligence we’ll get from Brohm or his camp until his decision about the Louisville job is made. Purdue is in as good of a position as we could hope – leadership under AD Mike Bobinski is dedicating an unprecedented amount of resources to Purdue’s football program, the fanbase hasn’t been so singularly behind a coach since the Tiller heydays, and the 2019 recruiting class looks to be game-changing for a contender in the Big Ten West.
Brohm has also talked ad nauseum about building something lasting at Purdue, and it doesn’t seem like he’s satisfied quite yet. The Louisville job opening seems to be inconveniently early during Brohm’s tenure at Purdue; couple that with the disaster that is Louisville athletics, and Purdue’s bargaining position to keep one of the best coaches in the country seems strong.
That being said, emotions often overshadow logic, and the pull of family is strong enough to mean more than everything else in favor of Purdue. We should get an answer within the next 10 days.
There’s nothing left to do but wait. See you all on the other side.
The Only Thing That Matters:
Shoutout to IU for treating our guy Tyler with such respect throughout the week.
Tweet of the Game: