Rivalry games can be crazy, and the 2019 edition of Indiana vs. Purdue was certainly that.
Despite falling behind by as much as 18 points in the second half, the Boilermakers rallied to force overtime on their home field. But the Hoosiers (8-4, 5-4) pulled out a thriller in the second extra session when quarterback Peyton Ramsey ran it in from one yard out after Purdue had been forced to kick a field goal.
Below are our six main takeaways as the Hoosiers reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket with their fifth win in the series in the last seven seasons.
Purdue’s vulnerability on defense appeared to be against the run.
But with Indiana starter Stevie Scott out with an injury along with backup tackle Matthew Bedford, it wasn’t clear how effective the Hoosiers might be on the ground.
Going into Saturday, true freshman Sampson James had 48 carries for 132 yards which translates to 2.8 yards per carry.
Against Purdue James rushed 22 times for 118 yards and a touchdown in a breakout performance.
Ronnie Walker, Jr. added 9 carries for 25 yards as the duo filled in for Scott. As a team IU rushed 50 times for 185 yards and three scores, but James was the star on this day out of the backfield.
THE DEFENSE STRUGGLES
Purdue came into the game with one of the worst rushing attacks in the country, but they seemingly ran at will against IU, compiling 181 yards and a 5.5 average per carry. Zander Horvath ran 23 times for 164 yards and two touchdowns.
Things were worse through the air, and third string former walk-on quarterback Aidan O’Connell picked apart IU for 408 yards and three touchdowns. Receiver David Bell had 9 catches for 136 yards while tight end Brycen Hopkins snared 8 passes for 142 yards.
In total, IU gave up an overtime inflated 589 yards, including 334 in the second half and overtime.
If there was a bright spot, Indiana was able to force a field goal when it counted the most, setting up IU’s winning touchdown in the second overtime.
IU also produced two takeaways on the day. A forced fumble and recovery by Tiawan Mullen, and an interception in the end zone by Jamar Johnson.
RAMSEY BETTER WITH WHOP
Indiana’s offense struggled with Whop Philyor out of last week’s game against Michigan with a concussion.
The big play junior receiver caught eight passes for 138 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday against Purdue, and was a big part of another strong day from redshirt junior quarterback Peyton Ramsey. Philyor now has 69 catches for 995 yards on the season.
Ramsey was once again effective both through the air and on the ground.
The Ohio native was 23-of-39 for 337 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Ramsey threw Indiana’s first overtime touchdown and rushed in the game winner from the one yard line.
Ramsey added 19 carries for 42 rushing yards and two more scores.
Philyor’s presence also opened things up for Nick Westbrook, who had 5 catches for 88 yards and a score, while tight end Peyton Hendershot and receiver Miles Marshall both caught 4 passes for 49 yards.
NOT LOGAN JUSTUS’ DAY
After going 14-of-14 on the season heading into Saturday, IU kicker Logan Justus missed three straight field goal attempts. A Lou Groza award nominee, Justus’ struggles were stunning, although the weather no doubt played a role. There was swirling winds and rain throughout the game at West Lafayette.
After Purdue rallied to within 28-23 in the fourth quarter, head coach Tom Allen decided to insert backup kicker Charles Campbell, who stepped up and knocked in a key 41 yard attempt. Campbell had also made a 36 yard attempt moments earlier before a penalty forced him to kick again from five yards further back.
Justus did return to kick Indiana’s extra point in the first overtime.
HOOSIERS LET LEADS SLIP AWAY
There were moments when overtime was almost inconceivable.
IU jumped out to a 14-0 second quarter lead, and then appeared to be cruising toward halftime when they got down to the Purdue 14 yard line up 21-10 with less than three minutes remaining. Slated to get the ball to open the second half, IU was in position to make things very difficult for Purdue.
Instead, a sack followed by a missed field by Justus led to no points for the Hoosiers as the 21-10 margin held up at the break.
IU did build on the halftime margin, going up 28-10 with less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter. At that point things appeared to be out of reach for Purdue, but a 21-3 rally down the stretch forced the overtime.
Even in the overtime IU scored first, taking a 38-31 lead on their first possession before allowing Purdue to tie things back up.
A HISTORIC SEASON CONTINUES
Indiana has achieved eight wins for the first time since 1993. That is also the last time the Hoosiers finished the season with a winning record in the Big Ten, which IU also accomplished on Saturday.
Indiana has hit the eight win mark for only the seventh time in program history. Only twice (1945 and 1967) has IU gone on to win a ninth game, and the Hoosiers will have that chance with one game remaining.
To the victor go the spoils, and in this case Indiana is likely to be rewarded with a respectable bowl game. IU’s bowl destination should be announced next week.
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