No. 12 Indiana looks to stay hot vs. Purdue in rivalry game
Indiana quarterback Jack Tuttle proved a quick study in his first career start last week, throwing for two touchdowns to lead the No. 12 Hoosiers to an eight-point win at Wisconsin.
As Indiana prepares to host unranked Purdue on Saturday, however, Tuttle figures to draw upon information he gleaned long before this season, as well.
“My dad is not a big fan of Purdue, and neither am I,” Tuttle said. “It is a great rivalry game, and we are looking forward to this week.”
To be sure, Tuttle’s father, Jay, a former Indiana placekicker, taught his son about the Old Oaken Bucket rivalry between the in-state Hoosiers and Boilermakers.
While series bragging rights certainly factor on the Hoosiers’ radar, a win against Purdue (2-4, 2-4 Big Ten) also would give Indiana (6-1, 6-1 Big Ten) its most Big Ten victories in program history as the schools close the conference-only regular season.
Starting for Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award semifinalist Michael Penix Jr., who suffered a season-ending torn ACL in a Nov. 28 win against Maryland, Tuttle went 13-of-22 passing for 130 yards while connecting for touchdowns with Peyton Hendershot and Whop Philyor.
Indiana ended a 10-game skid against Wisconsin and tied a program record with its sixth Big Ten win of the season.
“I think most people wrote us off because we lost Michael Penix, who is a special player,” Hoosiers coach Tom Allen said. “But we are a football team.”
The Hoosiers’ defense forced two turnovers, running its season total to 20, and Indiana overcame the Badgers’ 342-217 edge in total offense.
Purdue has lost four straight games and is coming off a 37-27 home loss to Nebraska in which it was unable to overcome an early 14-point hole.
Question marks concerning various players’ availability entered the equation early in the week, as Purdue canceled Tuesday’s scheduled practice “to evaluate the results of recent COVID-19 testing,” according to a university press release.
The Boilermakers already were missing starting defensive lineman George Karlaftis, who tested positive for COVID-19 in late November, as well as linebacker Jalen Graham.
“As you know, there’s things going on in the world with sickness, so I can’t reveal what’s going on, but he’s going to be out with some issues because of that,” coach Jeff Brohm said of Graham.
The Boilermakers were penalized 11 times for 126 yards against Nebraska.
“It’s playing hard,” Boilermakers linebacker Derrick Barnes said. “It’s football. It happens sometimes. It’s just competing. We can eliminate some of the dumb penalties. But we’re going to compete and play hard to the whistle.”
Purdue receiver David Bell enters play ranked sixth in the nation and first in the Big Ten with an average of 8.8 receptions a game. His eight receiving touchdowns and 104.2 receiving yard average ranked first and third in the Big Ten, respectively.
Purdue leads the all-time series 74-42-6 in a rivalry that dates to 1891. The schools first played for the Old Oaken Bucket in 1925, with Purdue boasting 15 wins in the past 23 meetings to take a 60-32-3 edge in that series.
The Hoosiers edged the host Boilermakers, 44-41, in double overtime in last season’s meeting.
–Field Level Media