Purdue Boilermakers wide receiver David Bell (3) makes a catch against Ohio State Buckeyes cornerback Denzel Burke (29) during the 2nd quarter of their NCAA game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on November 13, 2021.

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Purdue seeks 8th win, Old Oaken Bucket vs. rival Indiana

After a one-year hiatus, the Old Oaken Bucket game returns on Saturday when surging Purdue opposes Indiana in West Lafayette, Ind.

Last year’s game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues involving both in-state rivals. Purdue leads the all-time series 74-42-6, though Indiana has won five of the past seven meetings. Indiana currently holds the bucket after beating Purdue 44-41 in double overtime in 2019.

Purdue (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) will be going for its first eight-win season since 2007. Behind starting quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who has passed for 2,899 yards with 19 TDs and eight interceptions on the season, Purdue’s pass offense ranks seventh in the nation at 345.9 yards per game.

“It’s rivalry week, and in order for us to have a chance to win the game, we’ve got to prepare well,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “We’ve got to get as many guys healthy as we can and go out there and execute on Saturday. I think in these type of games, … all three elements, offense, defense and special teams, have to be clicking.”

Indiana (2-9, 0-8) is looking to avoid its first winless season in Big Ten play since 2011.

The Hoosiers have been beset by injuries all year but are hoping to get preseason All-America cornerback Tiawan Mullen and starting running back Stephen Carr back for the Purdue game. Carr has been out since sustaining an ankle injury on Nov. 6 against Michigan, while Mullen has appeared just once since September while dealing with leg injuries.

“The Old Oaken Bucket week for our program and a huge game for all of our players, our fans, our university and for our state,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “That is going to be the focus of everything that we do this week and getting our guys ready, guys that have been out, trying to get as many of those guys back as we can.”

The Hoosiers could turn to their fourth starting quarterback of the season, walk-on Grant Gremel, after Donaven McCulley dropped to 0-4 as a starter during Indiana’s 35-14 loss to Minnesota last week. Gremel passed for 60 yards and his first career TD in relief of McCulley against the Golden Gophers.

“We’ll see as the week plays on,” Allen said. “We’ll see who is healthy, who is also able to go. He’s obviously going to get a lot of reps. I liked what I saw on Saturday, for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Iowa City, Iowa, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers quarterback Tanner Morgan (2) throws a pass during the first quarter against the Iowa Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota aims to end two-game skid vs. reeling Indiana

Minnesota will look to snap a two-game losing streak and stay in contention for the Big Ten West division crown when it plays Saturday at reeling Indiana.

The Golden Gophers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) find themselves a game behind Iowa and Wisconsin following a 27-22 loss at Iowa last Saturday. In the loss, Minnesota settled for two field goals in three trips to the red zone, which proved costly later in the game.

“There’s only one other team that had more yards against Iowa, and we’re talking about a top-10 defense,” Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck said. “And we come out of it with 22 points. I thought we gave our team, as a team, the best chance to win and in the fourth quarter, we just weren’t able to do that.”

Behind a mammoth offensive line, Minnesota ranks third in the Big Ten in rushing offense at 205.5 yards per game, despite losing its top two running backs, Mohamed Ibrahim and Trey Potts, to season-ending injuries. Starting quarterback Tanner Morgan has averaged 154 yards per game passing with seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. Fleck is confident Morgan will bounce back after throwing for just 183 yards and one touchdown in the Iowa loss.

“He responds really well,” Fleck said. “That’s the thing that makes Tanner very unique is he has the ability to respond and squeeze all the juice from the orange. Flush it, move on.”

Indiana (2-8, 0-7) has lost six in a row and is danger of going winless in conference play for the first time since 2011. The Hoosiers turned the ball over six times in a 38-3 loss to Rutgers last week.

“Very disappointed with the performance,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “Not happy at all. It’s my responsibility to get our guys ready. And to turn the ball over six times is a formula for disaster no matter who you play. Put our defense in some tough spots.”

Indiana will likely turn to true freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley for a fourth straight start because quarterbacks Jack Tuttle (lower leg) and Michael Penix Jr. (shoulder) are still dealing with injuries. McCulley has thrown for 458 yards on the season in 75 attempts with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

–Field Level Media

Nov 13, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA;  The Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Max Melton (16) intercepts a ball meant for Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver Ty Fryfogle (3) during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Isaih Pacheco helps Rutgers trounce Indiana

Isaih Pacheco rushed for 79 yards and two touchdowns, lifting Rutgers to a 38-3 win over Indiana on Saturday in Big Ten play at Bloomington, Ind.

The Scarlet Knights (5-5, 2-5 Big Ten) moved within a win of bowl eligibility by taking advantage of Indiana mistakes. Rutgers scored 17 points off of two Indiana turnovers and a muffed punt. Starting quarterback Noah Vedral added 97 yards passing and a rushing touchdown for the Scarlet Knights.

The Hoosiers (2-8 0-7) dropped their sixth straight game. Indiana used three quarterbacks — starting true freshman Donaven McCulley before turning to Jack Tuttle and Grant Gremel. None were effective. Tuttle, making his first appearance since suffering a foot injury on Oct. 23 against Ohio State, threw two interceptions before suffering a leg injury in the second quarter that forced him out of the game.

Rutgers cashed in on an early Indiana turnover. On the opening play of the game, Rutgers recovered a fumble at Indiana’s 21-yard line on a botched exchange from McCulley to running back Davion
Ervin-Poindexter. Four plays later, Pacheco scored on an 8-yard touchdown run, giving Rutgers a quick 7-0 lead.

The Scarlet Knights extended their lead to 14-0 later in the first quarter, putting together a 9-play, 70-yard drive, capped by a 3-yard touchdown run from Pacheco.

Early in the second quarter, Rutgers converted more points off an Indiana turnover when linebacker Tyreem Powell intercepted a Tuttle pass at the Rutgers 24-yard line. The possession ended with
Valentino Ambrosio’s 38-yard field goal, extending the Rutgers lead to 17-0.

Indiana got on the scoreboard late in the first half. McCulley connected with receiver Ty Fryfogle on a 46-yard pass play down to the Rutgers 29-yard line with 16 seconds left in the first half. After missing a 38-yard field goal earlier in the game, Charles Campbell connected on a 47-yard field goal with two seconds left in the first half, cutting the Rutgers lead to 17-3.

Rutgers extended its lead to 24-3 with 12:27 left on a 10-yard scoring run by Aaron Young, which came after Fryfogle lost a fumble on a punt return at the Indiana’s 10-yard line.

Raiqwon O’Neal scored later in the third quarter on a tackle eligible play, taking a lateral pass from Vedral for a 7-yard TD run to put Rutgers up 31-3.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback Cade McNamara (12) looks to pass the ball during the first quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Fresh off collapse, No. 9 Michigan needs rebound vs. Indiana

Michigan showed it could move the football through the air on Saturday against rival Michigan State.

What the Wolverines couldn’t do was hold an 16-point, second-half lead, as they fell 37-33.

No. 9 Michigan (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten) will look to bounce back from the disappointing first loss of the season on Saturday when it hosts reeling Indiana.

“My approach is very similar to a fighter getting knocked down,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You get up, referee wipes your gloves, you get up even more determined, with even more resolve, to prepare, to work harder, to find a way to finish.”

Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara passed for 383 yards and two touchdowns before getting injured in the fourth quarter.

“Really played outstanding in almost every way,” Harbaugh said. “He played really well, made some throws, not just the best throws he’s ever made but some of the best throws you can make.”

The Wolverines have been most effective moving the ball on the ground this season, averaging a league-best 239.9 yards rushing per game. But with Michigan State taking the run away, Michigan showed the ability to adapt.

“This year’s 2021 Michigan football team is going to be defined by what’s already taken place and what they do this Saturday, what they do the Saturday after that, the Saturday after that and the Saturday after that,” Harbaugh said. “That’s what’s going to define us. So the resolve is to get back to work.”

Indiana (2-6, 0-5) is coming off a 38-35 loss at Maryland. The Hoosiers have lost four straight and are still seeking their first conference win after notching six Big Ten wins in seven attempts a season ago.

“Just continue to be disappointed in our outcome from Saturday’s game,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said. “The guys took it hard. And a lot of emotion in that locker room afterwards. And the fight was there, just got to execute better.”

Five of the Hoosiers’ six losses this season have come against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at the time of the matchup.

True freshman quarterback Donaven McCulley likely will make his second career start for Indiana, as starter Michael Penix Jr. (shoulder) and backup Jack Tuttle (foot) continue to rehab. McCulley set an Indiana true freshman passing yardage record in his first start, completing 14 of 25 passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns against Maryland.

“Really proud of him, his preparation and his ability to rise up in a road game, which is always hard for a young guy,” Allen said. “But encouraged by that. And not surprised though. I do think — I’ve said all along I thought he’s a really talented player that has a big upside. And his best football is ahead of him.”

Tight end Peyton Hendershot has emerged as one of Indiana’s top receivers with 35 catches for 447 yards and four scores this season. The senior caught two touchdown passes at Maryland, matching his career high set at Rutgers last year.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Donaven McCulley (0) reaches for a tipped ball during the first half against the Maryland Terrapins at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Taulia Tagovailoa’s arm helps Maryland hold off Indiana

Taulia Tagovailoa passed for 419 yards and threw two touchdowns to Carlos Carriere as Maryland fended off Indiana, 38-35, to end a three-game losing streak Saturday in Big Ten action in College Park, Md.

It was the first 400-yard passing performance by a Terrapins quarterback since 2010. Challen Faamatau scored two 1-yard touchdowns and Tayon Fleet-Davis added his own 1-yard score for Maryland (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten).

Indiana true freshman Donaven McCulley led a late comeback attempt and finished with 242 yards and two touchdowns. He made his first collegiate start with quarterbacks Michael Penix Jr. and Jack Tuttle still recovering from injuries.

Trailing by 10 with 1:20 to go, McCulley connected with Ty Fryfogle for a vital 52-yard gain and tossed an 8-yard touchdown to Peyton Hendershot to cut the deficit to three, but the Hoosiers could not recover the ensuing onside kick.

Stephen Carr ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Indiana (2-6, 0-5), which dropped its fourth in a row.

Maryland cashed in on its first two possessions when Fleet-Davis and Faamatau each pushed their way into the end zone.

Early in the second quarter, Hendershot was left wide open and took a 31-yard reception to the 1, where Carr punched it in on the following play. The Hoosiers followed that up by forcing a three-and-out, and Miles Marshall blocked Maryland’s punt high to set his team up inside the red zone. But the Terps’ defense made a stand, resulting in a missed Indiana field goal.

Indiana cut it to 14-10 before halftime when Charles Campbell converted a career-long 55-yard field goal.

On the Hoosiers’ first drive of the second half, Carr found a lane and left the defense in the dust on a 66-yard touchdown run, giving Indiana 17 unanswered points.

That change in momentum didn’t stymie Tagovailoa, who responded by engineering three straight touchdown drives. Faamatau scored his second 1-yarder to move the Terrapins back in front, 21-17.

The next two went to Carriere. He made a move around a defensive back to score a 14-yard touchdown, and after a Hoosiers field goal, he beat the same defender down the left side for a 45-yard score to make it 35-20.

Carriere finished with eight catches for 134 yards.

McCulley found Hendershot in the back-left corner of the end zone for a touchdown with 9:28 to play. They connected again on a two-point play to cut the deficit to seven before the Terrapins extended it to 38-28 on a late field goal.

–Field Level Media

Oct 16, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Michigan State Spartans wide receiver Jalen Nailor (8) is tackled by Indiana Hoosiers linebacker Aaron Casey (46) during the first quarter at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Michigan State squeezes past Indiana

Payton Thorne threw for a touchdown and Kenneth Walker III rushed for 84 yards to lift No. 10 Michigan State to a 20-15 win over Indiana on Saturday in Bloomington, Ind.

Thorne completed 14 of 26 passes for 126 yards for the Spartans (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten), who forced three turnovers on defense to help secure the road win.

Stephen Carr rushed for 53 yards and a touchdown for the Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3), who were without starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr. due an injured throwing shoulder. Jack Tuttle, making his third career start at quarterback for Indiana, completed 28 of 52 passes for 188 yards and two interceptions.

Indiana outgained Michigan State 217-57 in the first half but settled for just a 9-7 lead at intermission. The Hoosiers had two drives stall inside Michigan State’s 10-yard line, which resulted in field goals of 24 and 25 yards from Charles Campbell.

Michigan State’s lone touchdown of the first half came on defense, with linebacker Cal Haladay returning a Tuttle interception 30 yards for a touchdown. That score put the Spartans up 7-3 with 4:33 left in the first quarter.

Campbell connected on a 44-yard field goal with 14:21 left in the second quarter to cut Michigan State’s lead to 7-6. Then, Campbell put Indiana up 9-7 with a 25-yard attempt with 6:55 left in the first half.

Indiana had a chance to add more points before the end of the half, but a 55-yard attempt by Campbell at the end of the half sailed wide left.

Michigan State took a 10-9 on a 51-yard field goal by Matt Coghlin with 7:54 left in the third quarter. Then, off Tuttle’s second interception of the game, Thorne found tight end Tyler Hunt for a wide open 12-yard touchdown to extend Michigan State’s lead to 17-9 with 1:49 left in the third quarter.

Indiana finally broke through for its first touchdown in three Big Ten games when Carr scored on a 1-yard run with 12:56 left in the fourth quarter.. But Indiana’s subsequent two-point conversion attempt to tie the game came up short.

Coghlin put Michigan State up 20-15 with his second field goal, this one from 49 yards, with 8:31 left in the fourth quarter.

The Hoosiers were also without preseason All-American cornerback Tiawan Mullen, who sat out the game with a leg injury.

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III (9) is tackled by Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive back Avery Young (2) and defensive lineman CJ Onyechi (26) during the second half at SHI Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

No. 10 Spartans look to continue meteoric rise at Indiana

Michigan State has been one of the biggest surprises in the Big Ten season.

Picked to finish as low as last in the Big Ten East in some national publications, the Spartans are undefeated through six games and this week vaulted to No. 10 in the AP Top 25.

But second year Michigan State coach Mel Tucker doesn’t think the Spartans have arrived yet. He is pushing for more consistency when Michigan State plays Indiana Saturday at Bloomington, Ind.

“We have so many areas where we need improvement in all three phases, individually and collectively,” he said. “It never stops. You’re never there, you never arrive. If you turn on the tape of the games, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see what areas we need to improve.

It’s the first top 10 ranking for the Spartans since Sept. 18, 2016, when they were No. 8 in both polls, but promptly tumbled into a seven-game losing streak.

Michigan State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) is coming off a 31-13 win at Rutgers. The offense has been sparked throughout the season by freshman running back Kenneth Walker III, who leads the nation in rushing with 913 yards and 9 TDs. Peyton Thorne has provided stability at the quarterback position, passing for 1,575 yards with 14 TDs to 2 interceptions.

Although Michigan State has beaten Indiana in 10 of the past 12 meetings, the Spartans will be looking to avenge a 24-0 home loss last season when the surprising Hoosiers were the No. 10 team in the country.

“They’re all a big game, especially a rivalry game for a trophy,” Tucker said. “We’re playing for the (Old) Brass Spittoon.”

Indiana (2-3, 0-2 Big Ten) is looking to build some momentum after a disappointing start to conference play. The Hoosiers have yet to score a touchdown in two Big Ten games, and likely will be without starting quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who suffered a separated AC joint in his throwing shoulder during Indiana’s 24-0 loss at Penn State on Oct. 2.

If Penix can’t go, Indiana will turn to backup quarterback Jack Tuttle, who went 1-1 as a starter last season and has passed for 564 yards and 3 TDs in three seasons at Indiana.

“He’s started for us against one Big Ten team on the road, which was huge last year and has played many minutes beyond that,” Indiana coach Tom Allen said.

Indiana’s three losses so far this season have already eclipsed its loss total from last year’s 6-2 breakout campaign. But the Hoosiers are hoping a bye week will offer a fresh start and fresh perspective that will carry through the rest of the season.

“That’s the way we have to look at it,” Allen said. “That’s the way we’re going to look at it and be able to approach it in a way that we can’t change the past, we can learn from the past.

“We don’t like where we are. But we’ll tackle where we are. That to me is the focus. And that to me is the mindset we have.”

–Field Level Media