FORT WAYNE – Purdue hasnt won three games in a row in the same season since 2007.
The Boilermakers havent been bowl eligible for consecutive years since 2006-07.
A win Saturday against Indiana would accomplish both feats.
Im excited about the opportunity and I would love to go to a bowl game, Purdue quarterback Robert Marve said Tuesday. Im ecstatic about the game coming up on Saturday.
Its the second consecutive year the Old Oaken Bucket game has had bowl implications.
Last year, the Boilermakers topped IU 33-25 in Bloomington to become bowl eligible. Purdue landed at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit. Houstons Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas are among the possibilities for the Boilermakers (5-6, 2-5 Big Ten) this season with a win over IU (4-7, 2-5).
The Hoosiers motivation goes beyond spoiling senior day at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Whatever effect it has for them is not our concern. Our concern is continuing to build our team and build our team with wins, Indiana coach Kevin Wilson said during the Big Ten teleconference Tuesday.
Its a rival game. Its a trophy game. It ends the season on a high note for the seniors.
Ive never been much about thinking about spoiling or revenge. Its about what we have to do to have a good week and win a game.
Indiana followed wins against Illinois and Iowa with losses to Wisconsin and at Penn State.
Purdue followed a five-game losing streak with back-to-back wins at Iowa and Illinois.
It could get too big if youre not too careful. With this football team, the last two or three weeks, weve made a real emphasis to play loose and more wide open, Purdue coach Danny Hope said.
I thought we had played tight earlier in the season at a crucial point and time when the competition was at its highest.
Our approach the last two or three weeks has been be loose, be wide open and have a lot of fun. That will be the approach we will take into this ballgame. The magnitude of the rivalry speaks for itself. I dont think you have to spend a whole lot of time hyping the team up to play this particular ballgame.
Saturday could come down to Indianas passing offense against Purdues passing defense. The Hoosiers are first in the Big Ten in passing offense (307.8 yards per game), and Purdue is seventh in the Big Ten in passing defense (216.5 yards per game).
They can really crank the plays out, Hope said. Their quarterback (Cameron Coffman) is very efficient. They are scoring a lot of points.
They are very, very good up front, Wilson said of Purdues defense. They have two outstanding corners and very multiple in some looks. They create a lot of havoc on defense. When theyve played well, theyve played as well as anyone in our league.