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So, as you know by now, Purdue ended IU’s season with a 56-35 win on Saturday in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers kept the Old Oaken Bucket, and the next day, fired coach Danny Hope. Not entirely unexpected, as Purdue began the season with high expectations and still ended up needing a win over the Hoosiers just to finish 6-6 and be bowl eligible.
It doesn’t look like I’ll be doing full-fledged season wrap-ups for either paper, but I’ll either edit this post or put up an entirely new one later this week with some thoughts on Year 2 of the Kevin Wilson era. Some quick tidbits, though, as Big Ten awards were announced today: Nine Hoosiers received some sort of All-Big Ten mention, the most for IU since 2001. Senior defensive tackle Adam Replogle (coaches and media) and sophomore receiver Cody Latimer (media) were second-team all-conference. Latimer was an honorable mention on the coaches’ list.
Other honorable mentions: junior tight end Ted Bolser (coaches and media), junior kicker Mitch Ewald (media), freshman guard Dan Feeney (coaches and media), junior defensive back Greg Heban (media), senior center Will Matte (media), freshman offensive tackle Jason Spriggs (coaches and media), and sophomore receiver Shane Wynn (media). Also, senior defensive tackle Nick Sliger was Indiana’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner.
Below the jump is my story for the Tribune-Star:
By Andy Proffet
WEST LAFAYETTE — Purdue is bowl-eligible for a second straight season. But will Danny Hope still be the coach for the Boilermakers’ next game?
There’s still plenty of speculation about Hope’s future, even after Purdue’s 56-35 win on Saturday. Purdue closed the regular-season with three straight victories and improved to 6-6, 3-5 in the Big Ten.
“Not many teams in the country can bounce back from 3-6,” Hope said. “Most people in our shoes don’t make it in the end, but we did.”
The highest-scoring game ever in the series also kept the Old Oaken Bucket in West Lafayette. The Hoosiers won this game the last time it was at Purdue, two years ago, but IU coach Bill Lynch was fired the next day.
This year’s Hoosiers (4-8, 2-6) won’t be facing a coaching change, but they know there’s room for improvement.
“Lot of credit to Purdue, they played a tremendous second half,” IU coach Kevin Wilson said.
The Boilermakers took advantage of four second-half turnovers by the Hoosiers to rally from a 21-14 halftime deficit.
“Statwise, you can make some numbers look good, but you turn the ball over four times on the road, you’re not going to win,” Wilson said.
Turnovers were a major factor as the Hoosiers closed the season with three straight losses. Nine of IU’s 16 turnovers this season came in the final three games.
“As quarterbacks, it’s a youthful crowd (we had), we’ve got to take better care of the ball,” Wilson said.
And do a better job of tackling. The Boilermakers took advantage of a number of missed tackles to roll up 558 yards of offense.
Akeem Shavers (126 yards) led a Purdue ground attack that tallied 185 rushing yards, but the star may have been Robert Marve. The sixth-year quarterback threw for 348 yards and four TDs, the most passing yards for a Boilermaker since Joey Elliott threw for 373 yards against Michigan State in November 2009.
“I didn’t feel like they did anything defensively to stop our offense,” Hope said.
Shavers also had two touchdown receptions on two catches for 99 yards, including a 73-yard screen pass in which he juked defenders and stiff-armed IU’s Mark Murphy into the ground.
“It felt great, but I couldn’t have done it without the line, the receivers and the quarterbacks,” Shavers said. “It was a big team effort and my success came from everyone around me.”
Marve’s yardage was the third-most by a Purdue quarterback in a Bucket game, overshadowing a big day for IU running back Stephen Houston.
Houston finished with 40 touches — 28 rushing attempts and 12 receptions — for a combined 263 yards.
“I caught the hot hand, and so they just kept feeding me,” Houston said. “There was a couple plays I died out, I wished I didn’t.”
Coffman completed 31-of-53 for 348 yards and a touchdown, but his three interceptions in the second half were each turned into Purdue touchdowns.
“Momentum is a big thing in college football,” Coffman said. “It was a fun game, but it didn’t end like we wanted it to.”
Will the season end the way Hope wants it to?
“Beating Indiana is huge and winning the Bucket is huge, but we won today for ourselves,” Hope said. “(The Bucket) belongs in West Lafayette, and I think they should put our zip code on it because it belongs here.”