WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — After a wild, chaotic, unpredictable, yet unsurprising affair against their in-state rivals, coach Tom Allen‘s Indiana Hoosiers ended up 44-41 victors over Purdue on Saturday. The Hoosiers recorded an 8th win for the first time since 1993, and now look forward to seeing where they will play their bowl game a month’s time. With the Bucket back in Bloomington, see what we learned from IU’s remarkable win.
IU Fans Will Remember Peyton Ramsey for a Long Time
What more can you say about IU’s junior signal-caller? After getting demoted to backup quarterback to start the season, Ramsey was thrust into a starting role once Michael Penix suffered a season-ending injury. All of a sudden, Ramsey went from afterthought to shouldering the load for an emerging Hoosier squad entering a tense matchup
On Saturday, Ramsey had the best game of his career. Statistically, he’s had better games, but those came against weaker competition. Against his team’s biggest rival, Indiana’s junior QB made big play after big play all afternoon. When his protection broke down, he escaped for big gains. When he had time, he fired it to his receivers, especially Nick Westbrook (5 REC, 88 YDS, TD) and Whop Philyor (8 REC, 138 YD, 2 TD). Ramsey lost both Bucket games to start his IU career; he would not let the Hoosiers go down without leaving victorious. Ramsey finished with 379 total yards, 5 TD, 0 turnovers, and the to-be-immortalized game-winning touchdown.
Welcome to Indiana, Sampson James
It became apparent before Saturday’s contest that starting RB Stevie Scott would miss the Bucket game after picking up an injury against Michigan. In his place, Allen and RB coach Mike Hart handed over the proverbial keys to the car to James, a freshman RB from Avon, Ind.
OC Kalen DeBoer called two running plays for James that gained 39 yards to start the game. James, who once committed to Ohio State, wore Purdue’s defense down with powerful, physical runs. He slowed down after halftime, but that’s understandable given the significant increase in workload that he received. On the afternoon, James finished with 22 carries, for 118 yards, and this impressive touchdown.
Time will tell how Hart incorporates Scott and James going forward; perhaps we will get an idea of the strategy in IU’s bowl game. Regardless, these are #richpeopleproblems, and IU will be more than happy to trot out either RB in the years to come.
Indiana’s Defense Struggled, but Made Timely Plays
One look at the IU/Purdue box score would likely give chest pain to fans of the defensive side of the game. The teams combined for 1,111 yards, and Purdue did it without their #1 QB or most dangerous WR on the field. Pro tip: don’t search IU defensive play-caller Kane Wommack‘s name on Twitter, especially in front of children.
Ultimately, while Wommack’s defense did concede 7.1 yards per play to the Jeff Brohm-coached Purdue offense, the Hoosiers also manufactured big plays at key moments to help win the game. Jamar Johnson intercepted an Aidan O’Connell pass in the end zone, Tiawan Mullen forced and recovered a fumble, and Micah McFadden stopped Zander Horvath on a 3rd & 2 in double overtime that resulted in Purdue settling for a field goal. IU also stopped Purdue three times on four 4th down attempts.
No one will confuse Indiana’s defense for Alabama’s or Ohio State’s; however, the Hoosiers made big plays that helped IU to its first Bucket since 2016.