Game 142: Purdue @ Indiana

“Play 13” has been the motto of Indiana football all year. It came from their head coach, Terry Hoeppner, who died of complication from a brain tumor this past summer. The idea behind “Play 13” revolves around winning enough games to qualify for a bowl game, thus playing one more game than their regular 12 game schedule. In his two seasons at Indiana, Hoeppner had reinvigorated the football program demanding championship quality football and bringing a brand of excitement that usually is found only in college students. His enthusiasm had been infectious and after his passing, his players have been charging toward keeping his goals alive.

In addition to reaching a bowl game, a feat that hadn’t been accomplished at IU in fourteen years, Hoeppner also had made a big deal about taking back the Old Oaken Bucket from their rival, Purdue. The bucket is the trophy awarded to the winner of this in-state rivalry. Hoeppner had put a sign in the locker room saying simply, “Beat Purdue.” No Indiana coach had ever placed such importance on this game as he had. Today, with Hoeppner’s wife looking on, the Hoosiers had the opportunity to not only knock off their rival at home, but assure themselves of that heavily sought after bowl invitation. Additionally, Jane Hoeppner and new head coach, Bill Lynch, greeted each of the Hoosier seniors as they entered the field for their final game wearing crimson and cream. Emotions could not have been higher as a packed Memorial Stadium was ready to release the pressure and kickoff this much anticipated matchup.

In an effort to summon some past spirits of Hoosier football, Indiana came out of the locker room wearing throwback uniforms. With a little history being displayed on the field, pieces of Hoosier future rested beyond the stands. Memorial Stadium is undergoing a major renovation project that includes a grand football facilty including new locker rooms, offices, and a closed in horseshoe shape to the arena. There has been a lot to look forward to at Indiana, but the sold out house was focused mainly on the present and the huge game about to transpire on the field.

Indiana took control and shot out to a 24-3 lead. The Hoosier fans celebrated as though the game were out of reach for Purdue. However, a few defensive breakdowns and a key fumble by Indiana gave the Boilermakers the opportunity to hammer back and they did just that. Purdue tied the game late in the fourth quarter causing the black and gold partisans to leap from their seats and “boiler up.” With history not on their side and nerve racked crowd looking on, Indiana marched themselves down the field and set up for a 48 yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining. The crowd began to chant “TERRY HOEPPNER” as emotions reached their peak. Hoosier fans silenced as the ball snapped back and with one swift and accurate kick, Memorial Stadium exploded giving Indiana one of its most crucial victories of all time. As the clock expired on the Boilers, Indiana fans leapt over the high walls of the stadium and stormed the field to celebrate this remarkable victory. Fans with tears in their eyes watched as the Hoosiers hoisted the Old Oaken Bucket and honored their late coach by achieving their goals and moving forward to play thirteen!

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