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Friday, June 14
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

IU-Purdue rivalry more than just a game

One year later, the tables have turned.

No matter who hoists the Old Oaken Bucket on Saturday, IU and Purdue will hang up jerseys for the final time in 2008 – a year that encompassed countless misfortunes for both schools.

But in a game of this magnitude, we must leave the past in the dust and feast our eyes only on this weekend. Forget the embarrassing 3-8 records. Forget the instabilities under center. Forget the costly turnovers, inexplicable play-calling and lack of fundamentals.

This is a rivalry. A battle circled on your calendar the day the schedule is announced. A gridiron grudge that sees the most hostile crowd of the year. One game you simply can’t pass up.

Yep, you can bet plenty of fights – and no, I’m not promoting – are going to break out.

Alas, this is war.

To say bragging rights are on the line is an understatement. Both schools hate, no, despise each other.

If you are completely oblivious, look at those derogatory T-shirts out there. The IU faithful often sport “Puck Furdue” shirts. And as demeaning as that sounds, Purdue fans suit up in gear saying, “You can’t spell ‘stupid’ without ‘IU.’”

Some say this rivalry won’t live up to last year’s thrilling finish in Bloomington. I say that’s bogus.

No, this game might not come down to the wire, but it’s bound to feature the best action we’ve witnessed in 2008. You have to expect both teams are going to lay it all on the line. Not for the name on the back of their jerseys, but the one on the front.

Like in 2007, there’s still a whirlwind of emotions surrounding this game. Many Hoosiers and Boilermakers will be standing between the sidelines for the last time as collegiate athletes. IU running back Marcus Thigpen, wide receiver Andrew Means and kicker Austin Starr, among others, will finish their FBS experiences in West Lafayette.

IU coach Bill Lynch said his seniors will address the team before the first snap.
Purdue’s losses to graduation might be even more devastating. Quarterback Curtis Painter, running back Kory Sheets and wide receiver Greg Orton, all of whom are top-notch players in the conference, will suit up in the gold and black locker room just one final time.

Don’t forget Saturday’s festivities include a farewell salute to 12-year Purdue coach Joe Tiller. And, boy, does his team hope to send him out on the right note this weekend.

It’s the Boilers’ job to send him off with both of his hands clenched in the air. It’s IU’s job to ruin Tiller’s finale.

The Hoosiers won’t be defending the rock, but they’ll be defending the bucket.

Some fans believe this is a lost season. Well, it’s definitely a regression, I’ll give you that. But IU has everything to play for on Saturday. This is a statement game for Lynch and company: a chance for the Hoosiers to show the state of Indiana they aren’t a fluke.

Remember, this program is still in the midst of laying the foundation. Even though the Hoosiers won’t play 13, you have to expect IU to compete full-throttle against their arch enemy.

After all, this is more than just a game. It’s a rivalry.

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