Indiana will play in a bowl game for the second time in 22 years.
The Hoosiers won 54-36 Saturday at Purdue, claiming the Old Oaken Bucket for a third straight year and punching their ticket to the postseason for the 10th time in program history. The bowl game will be Indiana's first since the 2007 Insight Bowl.
Senior quarterback Nate Sudfeld threw for 350 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Devine Redding gained 144 yards in place of Jordan Howard, the Big Ten’s second-leading rusher, who was out with a knee injury.
The Hoosiers (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten) scored on four of their first five possessions and brought more firepower to a shootout that went back and forth for much of the second half. At the height of the offensive outburst, Purdue (2-10, 1-7) reached the end zone on three of four drives in the second half.
After the Boilermakers scored on a 1-yard run by quarterback Austin Appleby and made a two-point conversion to cut the Hoosiers' lead to 44-36, Sudfeld hit Andre Booker for 72 yards to cap a three-play, 83-yard drive that buried Purdue.
Purdue's Appleby, starting in place of David Blough, who suffered a concussion last week at Iowa, threw for 332 yards with two interceptions and two touchdowns.
Prior to Saturday, Indiana’s most recent streak of more than two wins in this series came from 1944 to 1947.
What the win means for Indiana: The significance of bowl eligibility cannot be overstated at Indiana. After falling short year last season in Kevin Wilson’s fourth season when Sudfeld was lost to a shoulder injury, it was essentially bowl or bust in Bloomington this fall. Things looked rosy -- not to be confused with Rose-y -- after a 4-0 start, but the doubts returned amid a four-game skid that featured a potentially back-breaking home loss to Rutgers. Indiana persevered and won its final two games. No program nationally stands to get more of a psychological boost from simply making the postseason.
What the loss means for Purdue: Another long offseason. The Boilermakers beat Nebraska on Halloween and came close in several other games. Purdue is improving and still features plenty of youth, but the breakthrough moment has not arrived. Coach Darrell Hazell, 6-30 in three years, will get more time to turn the corner, even with factors working against him -- including the nine-game Big Ten schedule, which promises to toughen the Boilers’ schedule, starting next season.
How the game was won: With lots of offense. Indiana entered Saturday ranked 119th nationally and last in the Big Ten in yardage allowed; Purdue was 99th overall and 12th in the league. And they lived up to their billing in the regular-season finale. Together, they produced nearly 600 yards of offense in the first half and finished with 1,145, including 659 for the Hoosiers. Fifteen receivers caught passes, including freshman offensive tackle Brandon Knight of Indiana. He lined up at tight end on a first down early in the fourth quarter and snagged a 22-yard pass from Sudfeld for a TD to put the Hoosiers on top 44-28.
Top play: With Indiana up 24-14, Redding opened a drive late in the second quarter with a 27-yard rush across midfield. The head-turning moment came midway through the run as the sophomore from Youngstown, Ohio, hurdled Purdue defensive back Brandon Roberts. Frankie Williams eventually stopped Redding, but it was too late to erase his teammate’s spot on the Indiana highlight reel.