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November 24, 2012

Quick Thoughts: Purdue 56, Indiana 35

Three fourth quarter touchdowns in less than five minutes by running Akeem Shavers blew open a 35-all tie and led Purdue to a 56-35 victory over Indiana today at Ross-Ade Stadium. The Hoosiers finish the season at 4-8 and Purdue gains bowl eligibility by moving to 6-6. Here's our quick thoughts on the Old Oaken Bucket contest.

What just happened:

Down 35-21 in the second half, Indiana fought back to tie this game and had pinned Purdue on its own one yard line with 12 minutes to play. From this point everything collapsed for the Hoosiers. Just over five minutes of play later the Boilermakers were up 56-35.

Running back Akeem Shavers was the hero for Purdue, breaking the 35-all tie by taking a short left side pass down the left side, thwarting a Mark Murphy tackle and racing for a 73-yard touchdown with 10:40 to play. On Indiana's first play on the next series tight end Ted Bolser let a pass go through his arms into safety's Max Cherlot's arms and Purdue was in business at the Indiana 43. After converting a 4th and 3, Robert Marve again hit Shavers down the left side and he went in for a 26-yard score.

More of the same followed as Antoine Lewis picked off a Cam Coffman 4th down throw and returned it to the Hoosier five yard line. Soon after Shavers ran it in for his third touchdown in a span of 4:32 on the clock.

It was never expected to be a defensive struggle and it never threatened to become one. What mostly stopped Purdue in the first half was some untimely penalties and in the second half turnovers clipped the Hoosier offense.

Robert Marve completed 20-for-29 passes for 348 yards. It was the first time a Purdue quarterback has thrown for over 300 yards since the 2009 season.

Cam Coffman threw for 347 yards but threw it 53 times and had three interceptions.

What it means:

Indiana finishes the season with a 4-8 record and a 2-6 mark in the Big Ten. A clear improvement from the 1-11 campaign of a year ago that saw no conference victories. At the same time the three worst defeats of the year all came in the final three games of the year.

The Hoosier defense gave up more than 54 points per game those final three contests.

How it happened:

How do you give up six touchdowns in a half? Bad tackling, interceptions, soft coverage. A myriad of reasons have to happen to give up 42 in a half.

Indiana seemed to be in control at halftime. The Hoosiers were up 21-14 and were set to take the opening kickoff. But Indiana moved nowhere to start and could never slow down the Purdue offense.

Key player:

Hoosier running back Stephen Houston was quickly off the races in this one. On Indiana's first series he raced 51 yards for the first of three first half touchdowns. Houston would go on to finish with a career high 157 yards rushing on 24 carries but all but 33 yards of that came in the first half.

For Purdue Shavers ran for 126 yards on 27 rushes while getting 99 yards on those two touchdown receptions.

Look ahead

Indiana loses only a handful of senior scholarship players. But two of those were the team captains, defensive tackle Adam Repogle and center Will Matte. With fellow defensive tackles Larry Black and Nick Sliger gone, that position will be wide open for the spring.

2013 season will include four home non-conference games and five straight at home to start the season. With Tre Roberson expect back and the vast majority of players returning, most everyone will expect better than a 4-8 record in 2013.

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