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The Journal Gazette

  • Purdue wide receiver Isaac Zico (7) celebrates a touchdown reception with Terry Wright during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Indiana, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Saturday, November 24, 2018 3:30 pm

Purdue defeats Indiana, 28-21, becomes bowl-eligible

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

BLOOMINGTON –

How it Happened

The teams traded punts to open the game, but when Purdue (6-6, 5-4 Big Ten) got the ball for its second drive, the Boilermakers wasted no time moving down the field. They used a series of runs and short passes to move into Indiana territory, staying out of third-and-long with solid gains on first and second down. The Hoosiers finally got a stop with Purdue in the red zone when they pressured quarterback David Blough into a bad throw on third down, but gave up the stop with a roughing-the-passer penalty. Two plays later, Blough found receiver Isaac Zico in the corner of the end zone with a step on his defender and found him with a perfect throw for an 11-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. It was a 12-play, 85-yard drive.

Indiana put together a similar drive in the second quarter to knot the score at 7, going 87 yards in 14 plays, with significant help from the Purdue secondary. The Boilermakers had Indiana stopped twice, but committed pass interference on both plays to give the Hoosiers new life. From the 8-yard line of Purdue, Stevie Scott went off right tackle and found a huge hole, high-stepping his way into the end zone for a tying touchdown.

The score remained tied until late in the first half, when Purdue moved into the Indiana red zone. From the IU 9, the Boilers faced fourth-and-1 and decided to go for it, but Dameon Willis stuffed D.J. Knox on a run up the middle and the Hoosiers had a huge defensive stop, or so it seemed. Indiana's offense quickly went three-and-out and punted, giving Purdue good field position at the Boiler 44 to start the drive. On the first play of that possession, speedy receiver Rondale Moore went deep and the corner covering him fell down. Blough saw it and hit Moore behind everyone for a 56-yard touchdown and a 14-7 Boilermaker lead at halftime. The drive took 10 seconds.

Indiana drove into Purdue territory early in the second half and was on the edge of the red zone, but a chop block knocked the Hoosiers back 15 yards. On fourth-and-9 from the Purdue 31, Indiana decided to go for it. Quarterback Peyton Ramsey found no one open and tried to run for the first down, but was brought down two yards short and another Indiana scoring chance went away.

Purdue got the ball and began moving the other way. An 18-yard run for Markell Jones moved the ball into Indiana territory and a 14-yard throw to Moore was the receiver's 100th catch of the season. Two plays later, Moore ran a simple go route and outraced everyone, including the safety help over the top. Blough hit him in the end zone for a 33-yard touchdown and a 21-7 Boilermakers lead.

It remained a two-touchdown lead for the Boilers until midway through the fourth quarter, when Indiana's offense finally woke up again. Peyton Ramsey completed six passes in a row, including a 21-yard strike to Donavan Hale over the middle to move the ball to the Purdue 29. Two plays later, Ramsey capped the drive himself on a designed quarterback run, going around the left side and going untouched into the end zone for a 23-yard score to make it 21-14. 

In the end, however, Purdue was simply too much. After having the edge in the trenches for most of the day, Indiana seemed to tire on the defensive line late in the fourth quarter and the Boilers ran effectively. Markell Jones did the damage, running twice for 13 yards to the Indiana 32 and going up the middle and finding nothing but green. He was caught from behind, but dragged a tackler the final five yards to the end zone and scored to put the game away. Jones finished with 11 carries for 95 yards.

Player of the Game: Rondale Moore

The Purdue wide receiver made the two biggest plays of the game with his pair of long touchdown catches, giving him 13 total TDs this season, including 12 receiving, tied for third in Purdue history. He finished with 12 catches for 141 yards, his fifth double-digit catch game of the season and his seventh 100-yard performance. He became just the third player in Big Ten history and second at Purdue to reach the 100-catch plateau, with 103 this season. Chris Daniels holds the Purdue and Big Ten records with 121 catches in 1999. He also fielded the onside kick that sealed the win for Purdue.

Facts and Figures

This was the 121st meeting of the two teams, the fifth-most for two FBS opponents. The Hoosiers and Boilermakers have played for the Old Oaken Bucket since 1925. ... Purdue has won two Bucket games in a row after losing four straight from 2013-16. The overall series mark is 74-41-6 in favor of Purdue. ... Purdue becomes bowl-eligible with the win. The Boilers haven't played in two straight bowl games since 2011-12 and haven't won two straight since 1997-98. ... Stevie Scott ran for 104 yards on 20 carries (5.2 average), extending his rushing record for an Indiana true freshman. Scott finishes with six 100-yard games this season, including three in a row to finish the year. ... The Hoosiers had just 14 points on six drives into Purdue territory. ... David Blough went 27 of 35 for 310 yards and three touchdowns, giving him 22 scores this season. He also threw an interception. ... It was Senior Day at Memorial Stadium. ... Purdue's Antonio Blackmon, a Fort Wayne native and Bishop Dwenger graduate, had four tackles. ... The teams combined for 12 penalties for 153 yards. ... Hale led Indiana with 10 catches for 81 yards. He'd never had more than five catches in a game previously. Westbrook had eight catches for 125 yards and a touchdown.

What's Next?

The Boilermakers will wait to hear their bowl fate, while Indiana's season is over. The Hoosiers finish the season 5-7 and 2-7 in the Big Then. They'll open the 2019 season against Ball State at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. 

dsinn@jg.net