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Tuesday, May 21
The Indiana Daily Student

sports football

Indiana football fails to close against Purdue, end season at 3-9

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Indiana football entered Saturday looking to reclaim the Old Oaken Bucket from Purdue for the first time since 2019. While the Boilermakers also stood at 3-8 ahead of the two schools’ 98th meeting for the historic trophy, Indiana fell to Purdue 35-31 in its final game of the season.  

“It’s hard to win games, and you’ve got to find ways to close out and finish,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said postgame. “It takes all three phases to do it.” 

Saturday’s loss marks the third consecutive game in which the Hoosiers led or were tied in the fourth quarter. While bragging rights and the Old Oaken Bucket were on the line against Purdue, Allen’s job may have also been at stake. 

Losses to Purdue haven’t been irregular under Allen, standing at 1-5 against the in-state foe.  

The Hoosiers held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Boilermakers but were ultimately unable to hold on. Saturday’s loss marks Indiana’s fifth one-possession loss this season, a result of an inability to finish off close games in crunch time. 

“Bottom line is coaches and players, together, we gotta finish,” Allen said. 

Indiana football’s fanbase seems to be fed up with Allen as the Hoosiers have followed up a pair of January bowl game appearances in the 2019 and 2020 seasons with three consecutive losing seasons. 

Although the Hoosiers haven’t reached a bowl game in three seasons, Allen attributed that to the way that college athletics have changed in recent years. 

“We gotta do a great job of adapting to the new world that we are in because it’s totally different,” Allen said. “It’s changed dramatically in the last couple of years so gotta be able to be at the forefront of that, aggressively going after the reality of what it’s become. It’s a different world now without question.” 

Despite just three wins in 2023, Indiana will seemingly be moving forward with redshirt freshman quarterbacks Brendan Sorsby and Tayven Jackson. Sorsby went 135-of-237 for 1,587 yards alongside 15 touchdowns and five interceptions while Jackson went 78-of-128 for 914 yards while tossing two touchdowns and five interceptions. 

“I do feel we do have a young quarterback — a young quarterback room — that I really like and feel like has tremendous potential to grow,” Allen said. 

While the 2023 season is now completed, an important offseason looms. With the recent changes to the landscape of college football that include NIL and the transfer portal, Allen explained that he and his coaching staff must now recruit current players to remain on the roster for next season. 

Allen will now turn his focus towards recruiting his own players and others who will enter the transfer portal from other schools. No matter the additions that it may make, Indiana’s margin for error will remain the same as it has since he took the reins in 2016. 

“We got a small margin for error each week and that was even that way then,” Allen said. “You just gotta find a way to win those closer games.” 

Despite a promising start to 2023 that finished with a disappointing 3-9 record, the Hoosiers will now begin to prepare for the 2024 season. 

“I get it, you gotta win,” Allen said. “I understand the nature of college football, and I understand that full well — been in this a long, long time. I want to win more than anybody.” 

Follow reporters Matt Press (@MattPress23) and Dalton James (@DaltonMJames) and columnist Daniel Flick (@ByDanielFlick) for updates throughout the Indiana football season. 

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