Buckets of trouble: Purdue's turnovers, penalties prove costly in 54-36 loss to Indiana

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — Purdue coach Darrell Hazell didn't need a stat sheet or a film session to understand what went wrong Saturday.

Too many turnovers, too many penalties and too many big plays. Again.

Nate Sudfeld threw four touchdown passes and ran for one, became Indiana's career passing leader and helped the Hoosiers end an eight-year bowl drought by pulling away from the rival Boilermakers 54-36.

"We had way too many penalties. At least three of those were personal foul penalties after the play was over," Hazell said without realizing the actual number was six. "That can't happen. The other thing was we gave up too many big plays, especially on third down."

The Boilermakers (2-10, 1-7 Big Ten) put up some big numbers, too.

Austin Appleby reclaimed the starting quarterback job in place of the injured David Blough and went 36 of 57 with 332 yards, two TD passes and two touchdown runs. Markell Jones ran 16 times for 96 yards and one TD, breaking Purdue's freshman record for yards rushing. He finished the season with 875.

But Purdue lost its fourth in a row — and its third straight Old Oaken Bucket Game — largely because Appleby threw two interceptions and lost two fumbles and the defense allowed 659 yards in total offense.

"I thought our defense played with a lot of energy," Boilermakers defensive tackle Jake Replogle said. "But again, we made too many mistakes against a very good team."

Sudfeld took advantage of the miscues by delivering his most memorable performance in the biggest game of his college career.

"He's awesome," Wilson said. "Maybe got a chance to be the best quarterback in this league although there are a couple of great ones."

It's a game Indiana (6-6, 2-6 Big Ten) won't soon forget.

As the competitors shook hands, three Indiana players carried the Old Oaken Bucket from the sideline to near midfield where their teammates reached out to touch the prized trophy. Running back Devine Redding and linebacker Dameon Willis Jr. did a few dance steps on the outside of the huddle and then the team marched over to the end of the bench where they held up the Bucket for the fans to see.

Inside the locker room, players shouted, "We're going to a bowl."

But all Sudfeld really wanted was an opportunity for a December encore. The official announcement will come sometime next weekend.

How monumental was this victory?

The Hoosiers now have their longest winning streak in the 118-game series since taking four in a row from 1944-47.

They scored a school-record 54 points in West Lafayette, breaking the previous mark set in a 52-7 victory in 1988.

They finished the season by winning two straight conference road games — something they hadn't done since 1993.

They have likely ended the speculation that surfaced about Wilson's future in Bloomington during a six-game losing streak, virtually assuring him of the chance to finish the rebuilding project he started five years ago.

And thanks to Sudfeld, Indiana did it with a flourish.

Sudfeld finished 18 of 29 with 350 yards, giving him 7,490 career yards — enough to surpass Antwaan Randle El (7,469) on Indiana's all-time list.

Running back Devine Redding started in place of the injured Jordan Howard (knee) and ran 22 times for a career high 144 yards and one score on a day he hurdled one defender on a 27-yard run in the first half and a zigzagged for a 57-yard pickup to set up Sudfeld's 3-yard TD run to open the second half. That made it 31-14.

Griffin Oakes made two field goals to break Austin Starr's single-season record of 21. Oakes has 22.

But it wasn't the numbers that mattered most to Indiana. It was the result.

"I think a bowl game is like some other things I can mention, like cold beer — there's not any bad ones," athletic director Fred Glass said. "We'll be happy wherever we end up."

Purdue certainly put a scare into the Hoosiers after Appleby scored on a 1-yard plunge and then threw a 2-point conversion pass to Danny Anthrop to finally get the Boilermakers within a score — 44-36 with 11:21 left to play.

But three plays later, Purdue blew its coverage and Sudfeld hooked up with a wide open Andre Booker for a 72-yard TD pass to make it 51-36 with 10:15 to go. Purdue never got close again.

"Those fourth and fifth-year guys, to me, they've already done a lot — win, lose or draw," Wilson said. "And they have a high esteem in my world. I'm just glad we get a chance to spend a few more weeks together, a chance to practice a little more football."

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