Things have changed.
“I had no clue until I stepped foot on campus,” Polk said. “I honestly never knew I could dislike a different team as much as them until I stepped on the field for the first time. They don’t like you and you don’t like them, so it was just on from there.”
IU and Purdue have faced off 84 times for the Old Oaken Bucket, with the Boilermakers leading the series 55-26-3.
The Old Oaken Bucket was the chosen award when proposed at a combined meeting of the Chicago chapters of the IU and Purdue alumni organizations in 1925. IU alumnus Wiley J. Huddle and Purdue alumnus Fritz Ernst originally found the bucket on a farm in southern Indiana.
For Indiana residents, the history of the Old Oaken Bucket and the IU-Purdue rivalry is well known, it was anything but that for out-of-state players.
IU senior cornerback Ray Fisher said growing up, there was only one true rivalry.
“Being a Cleveland guy, all I heard was Ohio State and Michigan,” Fisher said. “I never really heard about it until I was getting recruited. Since I’ve been here, it’s been a really big game.”
In fact, 15 of the 22 projected IU starters this weekend are from states other than Indiana. This includes four of the five offensive linemen and nine of the 11 defensive players.
Despite this, Hoosier faithful should not worry about a lack of passion Saturday.
For senior linebacker Justin Carrington, who grew up in Virginia, the intensity of the rivalry has grown on him during his time in Bloomington.
“I was driving with my girlfriend the other day and I saw someone with a Purdue bumper sticker. I was like, ‘Hey babe, why don’t you hit them?’” Carrington said jokingly. “It’s funny how it changes just being a part of Indiana.”
IU senior linebacker Matt Mayberry echoed the comments of Carrington.
“I didn’t know about it right away,” said Mayberry, who is from Darien, Ill. “People who are from Indiana know (Purdue) really well. Everyone gets jacked up and ready to go. This is our bowl game.”
IU coach Bill Lynch said his out-of-state players, especially the seniors, truly understand what it means to face the Boilermakers. Last year, IU lost to Purdue 62-10 in West Lafayette. This season, the Hoosiers are aiming for a different outcome.
Both teams share a 4-7 record and are ineligible to make a bowl game. That being said, neither team wants to end on a negative note.
And the rivalry means something as well.
“Just remembering the score from last year, and thinking about how we played, it was disappointing,” said IU senior defensive end Jammie Kirlew, a native of Florida. “This is a big rivalry game. We are going to bring everything we have.”
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