What better way to spoil your rivals’ bid for bowl eligibility than to beat them on their own football field?
That’s the scenario Indiana University (4-7, 2-5 Big Ten) finds itself in for today’s annual Old Oaken Bucket game with Purdue. Kickoff is set for noon.
Last week’s loss at Penn State ensured a fifth straight bowl-less season for the Hoosiers, while the Boilermakers (5-6, 2-5) need a victory today to go bowling for a second straight year.
But the Hoosiers aren’t necessarily focused on what they can do to Purdue, but what a season-ending win can do for them.
“My objective is not whether they go to a bowl game or not,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said. “My deal is we need to win the game.
“It has nothing to do with what it does for them; it’s about what it does for us. Winning is good for us. Winning builds us. Winning takes care of our seniors that we have a lot of respect for. Winning gives us momentum in recruiting. Winning gives us an opportunity to build in the offseason. I’ve never looked at it as, ‘This is what it does for them.’”
Expectations weren’t high for the Hoosiers entering the season, not after a 1-11 record in Wilson’s first campaign. That lone win came against FCS opponent South Carolina State.
But the Hoosiers eked out victories in their first two games, and even with a five-game losing streak, were in position to get to the Big Ten championship game.
Wisconsin brought IU back to reality, though, rushing for 564 yards in a 62-14 rout that clinched a spot in the conference title game for the Badgers. And last week, despite 454 yards passing from Cam Coffman, the Hoosiers lost at Penn State to fall to 0-16 all-time against the Nittany Lions and fall out of bowl eligibility as well.
The Boilermakers had their own struggles. Expected to contend for a Leaders Division title before the season, Purdue also lost five in a row. But the Boilermakers can become bowl-eligible with a win today and make it to consecutive bowl games for the first time since the 2006 and ’07 seasons.
Purdue coach Danny Hope thinks his team was playing too tight during the losing streak.
“When the competition was at its highest and the stakes were the highest, I thought our team played tight some,” Hope said. “So our approach the last two or three weeks is to be loose and be wide open and have a lot of fun, so that will be the approach that we take going into this ballgame.”
Leading the way for the Boilermakers will be sixth-year senior QB Robert Marve, who’s completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,174 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions. His counterpart across the field, Coffman, has thrown for 2,386 yards, 14 TDs and eight interceptions while completing 61 percent of his passes.
As steady as the quarterbacks have been, the running game could be the deciding factor in which team wins today. The Hoosiers have allowed opponents 235.5 yards per game on the ground; Purdue averages 163.2 yards rushing.
“I think we manufactured a little more run-right-at-‘em, north-and-south run game, starting with the Ohio State game, and that allowed us to move the sticks and get first downs and compete against an outstanding defensive football team and allowed us to still be two-dimensional from an offensive standpoint,” Hope said. “That hurt us some early in the season when we couldn’t establish the run early and we couldn’t stop them defensively, and the next thing you know we’re behind by three scores and we haven’t been out there very much.”
“Sometimes we’re just not getting off blocks,” Wilson said of IU’s defensive struggles. “Sometimes we’re misaligning and not executing right. And sometimes we have to keep looking and put guys in right places. Schematically, are we doing the right things?”
The Hoosiers will be looking for a rare second straight win in West Lafayette, after finishing the 2010 season — and Bill Lynch’s tenure as head coach — with a 34-31 overtime victory. IU hasn’t won two straight at Purdue since victories in 1994 and ’96.
What better way to spoil your rivals’ bid for bowl eligibility than to beat them on their own football field?
Rose-Hulman's Strickland being more assertive in senior year
Nobody would argue that Rose-Hulman senior Julian Strickland has been a good basketball player, at the very least, since his high school days at Pike in Indianapolis.
Some might say “great,” although he seemed to shy away from the spotlight.
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Rose-Hulman built a 19-point halftime advantage and withstood a second half rally to earn a 64-61 victory at DePauw University on Wednesday night.
DePauw forward Pat Haggin missed a potential game tying three-pointer in the final seconds as the Tigers nearly rallied from a double-figure deficit.
IU holds Oakland marksman in check
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The Hoosiers didn’t give him a chance to shoot the Grizzlies to an upset.
Bader’s NCAA-leading streak of games with a made 3-pointer ended at 62 as IU cruised to an 81-54 win.
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ISU’s Munn, ex-Riverton Parke player Dickey earn MVC honors
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ISU picks up the defense to take down Eastern Illinois
When it's cold outside, it takes a while for your car engine to crank.
It wasn't cold inside Eastern Illinois' Lantz Arena on Saturday, but the same principle applied for the Indiana State men's basketball team.
Once the Sycamore engine revved up, the Sycamores cruised to a 66-48 victory over the Panthers.
Michigan State shakes up national title chase with win over Ohio State
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Zurek, one of ISU's best defenders, also working hard off the court
Winning basketball teams need glue players, the term sometimes used when referring to someone who helps hold it all together.
In some cases, that means getting the ball in the right place at the right time. Or having a knack for being in the right place at the right time.
It’s more often than not coming away with a loose ball on the court. It’s deflecting so many passes that you become the player that most annoys the opponent.
For Indiana State, that’s Natasha Zurek. The junior athletic training major was inserted into the starting lineup for the past two games.
Zurek leads the Sycamores with 16 steals through six games, which isn’t surprising to anyone on the team.
EIU might come at right time for ISU
Sometimes an opponent lines up just right on the schedule that suits a team’s needs.
That’s true for Indiana State as it travels to play Eastern Illinois at 8 p.m. today at Lantz Arena. And it’s not because the Panthers have struggled, even though they have.
Young gun: Freshman Belyea leads Engineers to second straight victory over Saint Mary-of-the Woods
Freshman women’s college basketball players sparked Saint Mary-of-the-Woods and Rose-Hulman on Wednesday in Hulbert Arena. Playing her first major minutes of the season, Rose-Hulman guard Kristen Belyea was the clutch shooter for the Engineers. In the second half, Belyea knocked down 4 of 6 from the field and 2 of 3 from the 3-point arc to help the Engineers earn a second straight victory in the rivalry with a 74-54 decision.
Strickland leads RHIT men to win
Rose-Hulman opened its Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men's basketball season with a 66-50 victory at Anderson University on Wednesday.
Metro: Boys county title games set for tonight
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With the Clabber Girl Trophy hanging in the balance for the 21st time, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team will welcome crosstown rival Saint Mary-of-the-Woods to Hulbert Arena today for a 7:30 p.m. matchup.
The Engineers (0-4) will look to defend their title after capturing the Clabber Girl Trophy for the first time since 2008 with last season’s 80-74 victory.
ISU’s Underwood named first team All-MVC
Sophomore linebacker/defensive end Connor Underwood was named to the all-Missouri Valley Football Conference first team on Monday, heading a list of five Indiana State players honored.
Red-hot Strickland leads Engineers past Wabash 77-68
Julian Strickland tied his career-high point total with 31 Monday night — his third consecutive 30-point game this season — as host Rose-Hulman downed Wabash 77-68 in Hulbert Arena.
Metro sports: ISU women play today at No. 15 LSU
Indiana State’s women finish a three-game road swing by playing nationally ranked LSU at 12:30 p.m. today at Baton Rouge.
Rose-Hulman women fall short to Marian
A clutch 3-pointer and free throws down the stretch sealed the home victory for Marian University in Saturday’s competitive 50-45 nonconference victory over the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team.
Strickland pours in 30, but the Engineers fall in home opener
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Indiana State holds off hot-shooting Pepperdine
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But when it came down to winning time? Pepperdine’s Waves crashed on the rocks of ISU’s defense.
Hoosiers gain 692 total yards, re-claim Oaken Bucket
Although his team fell well short of defending its possession of the Old Oaken Bucket Saturday against Indiana, Purdue’s freshman quarterback Danny Etling — a Terre Haute South grad — showed poise and talent in bringing the Boilermakers back in the second half in a 56-36 loss.
Sycamores outpace Seawolves
Indiana State wanted a better defensive effort in its Great Alaska Shootout consolation semifinal game against host Alaska-Anchorage on Friday, but the Seawolves weren’t going to give the Sycamores an orthodox offense to assess themselves with.
Prep/Metro roundup: Marshall girls pick up big wins at Robinson
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Uneven Sycamores fall 63-62 to Tulsa
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Tulsa's switching defenses confounded Sycamores
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So the Golden Hurricane threw multiple defenses at the Sycamores.
On target: Sycamores spreading the wealth with their shooting
Indiana State’s men's basketball team did many things right during the 2012-13 season, but one thing it couldn’t get a handle on was its 3-point shooting. The Sycamores shot 32.1 percent from 3-point range, ranked 252nd in the nation. It was going to take a lot of work to improve ISU’s percentage. So far, hard work has had its own reward.
O’Leary eyes return to Hulman Center
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College report: Gardner jumps at chance to play for ISU
Cody Gardner enjoyed his freshman baseball season at Wright State and earned more time on the field than he honestly expected to get. Coach Rob Cooper departed WSU after last season to take over at Penn State, however, and Gardner jumped at the chance to return to his hometown as an Indiana State Sycamore and perform for the school where two members of his family previously excelled.
Young Evansville team unable to threaten Indiana
Indiana coach Tom Crean surprised everyone by starting senior walk-on Jeff Howard. Evansville didn’t give themselves the chance to surprise the Hoosiers.
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