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IU football falls shy of six wins, loses Old Oaken Bucket to Purdue


A Purdue team member holds the Old Oaken Bucket Nov. 25 at Ross-Ade Stadium after Purdue defeated IU for the first time since 2012. Both IU and Purdue will need a win in this year's battle to reach a bowl game. Ty Vinson Buy Photos

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The 2017 IU football season ended the same way it started.

During Nov. 25's 31-24 loss at Purdue and IU's season-opening loss to Ohio State, IU senior quarterback Richard Lagow threw the ball at least 60 times, while the IU defense allowed more than 270 rushing yards. 

In those games, a pass-heavy IU offense failed to move the football, while opposing running backs shredded the Hoosier defense.

Separated by 87 days, the two performances helped contribute to IU's 5-7 overall record and 2-7 mark in conference play.

The most recent loss meant more. 

It prevented IU from reaching a bowl game for the first time since 2014 and allowed Purdue to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket for the first time since 2012.

"I expected us to be going to a bowl game this year," IU Coach Tom Allen said. "You have to be able to find a way to win enough games to extend your season, and we came up one short, and that part, it really hurts, because I felt like this team deserved to be in that situation."

IU never led against Purdue. The Hoosiers faced a deficit as large as 21 points in the fourth quarter, before a furious comeback attempt fell short when they failed to recover an onside kick from senior kicker Griffin Oakes with 1:01 left in the game.

"We just didn't play well enough," Allen said. "At this point, in this game, to earn the right to play an extra game. Yeah, not satisfied and very disappointed."

The Hoosiers trailed for more than 42 minutes against the Boilermakers, a period that started inside the game's first five minutes. IU's first offensive play saw Lagow intercepted by Purdue senior linebacker Garrett Hudson, who started in place of Purdue's leading tackler, senior linebacker Ja'Whaun Bentley.

"I thought I could fit it in to Luke Timian ," Lagow said. "I didn't on that play. Obviously don't want that to happen, but I'm not going to apologize for it."

Purdue took over at the IU five-yard line and scored on its first play, a five-yard jet sweep by freshman wide receiver Jackson Anthrop. 

The IU offense posted 12 yards on its first seven plays of the day. It took a fumble forced by the IU defense and recovered by senior linebacker Tegray Scales to jumpstart the offense, as IU tied the game late in the first quarter on the possession following the fumble. 

Lagow found junior wide receiver Simmie Cobbs Jr. for a one-yard touchdown pass. It was Cobbs' only score of the game, although he had two other touchdown catches taken away in the game — one by penalty and one by video review.

"Definitely hurts a lot," Cobbs said. "Just because you know those are game-changing plays. It gives the team the energy and puts numbers on the board to make this game, maybe a different outcome."

Purdue put up two touchdowns in the final five minutes of the second half to create separation from IU entering halftime. Another run from Anthrop and a 49-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Elijah Sindelar accounted for the points.

Anthrop's touchdown was made possible by a fourth and three conversion by the Boilermakers on a fake punt pass, a play IU senior safety Chase Dutra said he knew was coming.

"We drew it up all week," Dutra said. "I think we just kept fighting and fighting and fighting, and just ran out of time."

The Boilermakers led 31-10 with as little as six minutes remaining before the Hoosiers began to rally. A four-yard touchdown reception by freshman wide receiver Taysir Mack was followed by the successful recovery of an onside kick by Oakes.

However, Lagow threw the ball short to junior running back Ricky Brookins on an ensuing fourth and six, giving the football back to Purdue.

IU would score once more on a nine-yard pass to freshman wide receiver Whop Philyor with 61 seconds left, but Purdue recovered Oakes' second onside attempt.

The loss ensures the 10th straight losing season for the IU program, and means seniors like Scales close their IU careers with their first loss in a Bucket game.

"I think what's meant to be, gon' be," Scales said.

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