In a battle for the Old Oaken Bucket against its in-state rival, Indiana football had a chance to spoil Purdue’s Big Ten title game-clinching hopes, but came up short, losing 30-16 to conclude Indiana’s 2022 football season.
Coming off of a valiant win over Michigan State on Nov. 19, Indiana started where it left off a week ago on the ground through the running game.
In at quarterback, somewhat unsurprisingly, was the mobile redshirt sophomore Dexter Williams II, whose heroics against the Spartans led to the Hoosiers' snapping their seven-game losing streak.
Just two snaps after Purdue’s game-opening field goal to give the Boilermakers an early lead Indiana answered with a score of its own. Freshman running back Jaylin Lucas found 71 yards worth of space for an Indiana touchdown to put the Hoosiers up 7-3.
On the 12th play of an eventual 15-play drive, disaster struck for the Hoosiers when Williams fell to the ground on a scramble despite not being hit.
Williams exited the game on a cart and would be ruled out for the rest of the game. Replacing him was redshirt junior Connor Bazelak, who had started nine of Indiana’s 12 games.
The drive ended after a missed field goal on one of the drives from redshirt junior kicker Charles Campbell. Despite Indiana threatening Purdue’s defense with a couple of long drives of 15 and 13 plays following its two-play touchdown drive, it came up without points to show for it.
Indiana held on to the 7-3 advantage, the only points in the first half from either team came within the first four minutes of the game.
“We’ve got to finish,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said at halftime on the Big Ten Network television broadcast. “We’re a football team. We lost a great player. Connor is a great quarterback. We’ve got to find a way to finish and take back the Bucket.”
Indiana’s defense was impressive in the first half. On top of only allowing just three Boilermaker points, the Hoosiers only allowed 133 yards in the first half and only 20 rushing yards. The Purdue offense possessed the ball for 10 minutes, half as long as Indiana possessed it going into the break.
As for Indiana’s offense, they had nearly 200 yards in the first half with just seven points to show for it.
The second half told a different story. On its first offensive drive of the half, Purdue redshirt senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell found fellow redshirt senior tight end Payne Durham for a Boilermaker touchdown and the lead.
On their the opening drive of the half, O’Connell and the Boilermakers ran eight plays, all passing, and every play gained more than 10 yards.
After forcing an Indiana three and out on the next drive, Purdue marched right back down the field and extended its lead after a 27-yard touchdown run from redshirt freshman Devin Mockobee. The Boilermakers delivered back-to-back blows to the Hoosiers defense and led 17-10 midway through the third quarter.
Indiana’s offense had success moving the ball down the field but struggled to find the end zone, or really any sort of points at all. In two offensive drives after Boilermaker touchdowns, the Hoosiers had a combined 13 plays for 130 yards but were only able to muster three points from a Campbell field goal.
Purdue was able to tack on another touchdown score with a long O’Connell connection for 60 yards to redshirt senior receiver Charlie Jones, extending the Boilermakers' lead to 24-10 in the fourth quarter.
Last-ditch efforts to get back into the game from Indiana fell short as Purdue returned a Bazelak interception to the end zone to deliver the dagger. Senior running back Josh Henderson secured the Hoosiers' last touchdown of the year in the final seconds to put a bow tie on the season.
The Boilermakers went on to win the Old Oaken Bucket and clinch the Big Ten title game for the first time in school history, 30-16.
Indiana finished with more yards, 421, than Purdue’s 388, but fell behind the Boilermakers by 14 points. The Hoosiers went just 6-18 on third down and 3-6 on fourth down on Saturday.
Allen and the Hoosiers football program head into the offseason coming off an improvement from last season, but they still couldn't recapture the gold they struck during the 2020 season. Indiana finished its season 4-8 overall and second to last place in the Big Ten East.