Bowl berth at stake for IU, Purdue in Oaken Bucket rivalry game

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More than just Oaken Bucket bragging rights ride on Saturday’s game at Purdue. Bowl eligibility is at stake in this year’s rivalry game.

“It’s always a special, special game with a ton of passion and intensity that’s wrapped up into it, but you mix in those bowl implications for both teams, it just raises the stakes,” Indiana head coach Tom Allen said on Tuesday.

“The winner gets to advance and the loser stays home, and that’s really what football is all about,” Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm said. “When you schedule a rivalry game for the last week, hopefully there’s something even more riding on it.”

Both teams coming off big wins to enter the week at  5-6, Indiana with a shutout of Rutgers at home and Purdue with an impressive road win over Iowa. The IU defense has allowed just 14 points in the last two games combined but knows it will be challenged against an offensively creative Boilers team known to have a few tricks up its sleeve.

“They make it interesting for sure, they draw up some things you’ve never seen,” Allen said. “Bottom line is you have to be disciplined and play fast and physical.”

“They run the ball, do that well, and then they get you over the top with some deep passes, and then thrown in a screen, and then throw in some trick passes here and there to see if you’re going to play your rules, so you have to be sound,” IU senior defensive back Rashard Fant said.

This group of IU seniors has never lost the bucket to the Boilers, and if they win five straight on Saturday, it would accomplish a feat that’s never before been done in IU program history.

“It would be special, of course,” IU senior quarterback Richard Lagow said. “When you have the opportunity to do something that’s never been done, it’s special no matter how you spin it.”

This will also be the first meeting between Allen and Brohm, marking the first time two first-year head coaches have faced off for the Oaken Bucket since 1997.

Kickoff is set for noon at Purdue’s Ross Ade Stadium on Saturday.

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