Purdue Football 2021: Week 13 – Old Oaken Bucket Edition

Mark Elsner

3:30 PM ET


Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana (Cap. 57,236)


Forecast: 43°F, 18% chance of rain, Winds 10mph SSW

2021 Record

Purdue (7-4) 

Indiana (2-9)

S&P+ Rankings

Purdue – 54

Indiana – 87

All-Time Series Wins

Purdue – 74

Indiana – 42

Tie – 6

Last Win In Series

November 24th, 2019 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana (28-21)

November 30th, 2020 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana (44-41)

Projected Starting Lineups


QB: Aidan O’Connell

RB: Zander Horvath

LT: Greg Long

LG: Spencer Holstege

C: Gus Hartwing

RG: Tyler Witt

RT: Cam Craig

TE: Payne Durham

WR: David Bell

WR: Jackson Anthrop

WR: Milton Wright

NT: Lawrence Johnson

DT: Branson Deen

DE: George Karlaftis

DE: DaMarcus Mitchell

OLB: Jaylan Alexander

MLB: Kieren Douglas

OLB: Jalen Graham

CB: Jamari Brown

FS: Cam Allen

SS: Marvin Grant

CB: Dedrick Mackey

K: Mitchell Fineran

P: Jack Ansell

LS: Nick Zecchino

KR: TJ Sheffield

PR: Jackson Anthrop


2021 Stat Comparison

Offensive Points per game26.018.2
Offensive Rushing Yards Per Game76.7120.9
Offensive Passing Yards Per Game346.0178.1
Total Offensive Yards Per Game422.7299.0
Defensive Points per game21.732.3
Defensive Rushing Yards Per Game156.5146.4
Defensive Passing Yards Per Game198.9231.6
Total Defensive Yards Per Game355.5378.0

What to Watch For

The Boilermakers return home this week with their bellies full of thanksgiving feast and a 7-4 record in tow as in-state rival Indiana comes to town to defend the Old Oaken Bucket. Purdue will finish the regular season with their best record since 2007 regardless of today’s outcome, but a win would bring Purdue back to 2006 for an 8-4 regular season record. In what was supposed to be “the greatest season in Indiana Football history” the Hoosiers limp in to the Old Oaken Bucket game with no Penix and no conference wins, and a laundry list of injuries to pair with their 2-9 record. David Bell and George Karlaftis have had this game circled for two years now, after last year’s game was cancelled due to COVID, and the boys smell blood in the water and are ready to make chum out of the Hoosiers. Let’s dig in.

Purdue should continue to be as healthy as they have been, but as it was last week, eyes will be on Tight Ends Payne Durham and Garrett Miller, who both have been dealing with similar knee injuries through most of the season. Last season the Indiana defense was giving up over 240 yards through the air per game but was also averaging over 2 interceptions per game. In 2021 though, the Hoosiers are still giving up over 230 yards through the air but the interceptions have completely fallen off for the Hoosier secondary. Jaylin Williams is Indiana’s top corner this year with 11 passes defended and will likely draw David Bell in assignment, while legacy corner Tiawan Mullen who has been banged up will likely defend Milton Wright after he exploded against Northwestern in Wrigley Field last week for over 200 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. O’Connell should continue his hot streak over the last 6 games where is averaging 75% completions, 360 passing yards and nearly a 4:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The passing game should put up points. Purdue will once again try to commit to a balanced offense to open the game against an Indiana defense that has allowed almost 150 yards on the ground per game. Brohm in recent weeks has shown less reluctance the past few weeks in terms of ditching the run game and riding O’Connell’s arm for the near entirely of the offense. Fully expect this to happen again today, despite Indiana’s weakness and will be a point of emphasis in bowl game preparation and the off season this year.

As mentioned before, Indiana stumbles into town without their prized player on offense Michael Penix who has been out since the beginning of October. The injury bug has hit Indiana hard this year as leading rusher and grad transfer Stephen Carr was hit with an ankle injury a few weeks ago but is expected to play for Indiana this week. Purdue’s front 7 will be tasked with containing the run once again, after they did a fairly decent job against Northwestern, keeping them at 3.3 yards per carry under their season average. Ty Fryfogle and Peyton Hendershot are Indiana’s two top receivers this season with both just approaching 500 yards receiving on the season. Jamari Brown will likely be tasked with guarding Fryfogle while Jalen Graham and the safeties will be defending Hendershot from the tight end position. Purdue will continue it’s aggressive press-man approach this week and could be just as suffocating as it was last week against an offense that has struggled even more than Northwestern has this season.

Listen folks, I know that almost everything about this game says Purdue blows them out, but this is a rivalry game. All that stuff can go right out the window in a second once the players step on the field. Rivalry games are emotional and especially this one for two of the greatest to ever dawn the Black and Gold, David Bell and George Karlaftis. It is almost a certainty that this afternoon will be the last time the Purdue faithful will be able to see Bell and Karlaftis play in Ross-Ade stadium. Both Bell and Karlaftis have been very vocal about why they came to Purdue, they wanted to change the reputation and the culture in West Lafayette. By my count, they’ve already done that, but knowing these guys, they won’t say the job is done until they’ve brought the Bucket home in their last game in Ross-Ade. For an 8-4 record, a warm bowl game and the glory for all the Purdue faithful, time to bring that Bucket home.


Radio: Purdue Radio Network


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