With 3:19 left to play in a tie game, it was the Indiana seniors that stepped up and helped lead a game winning touchdown drive.
After two Tevin Coleman runs set up the Hoosiers with a third and two, the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket was on the line. That's when senior wide receiver Nick Stoner, who had sat out the previous three games due to a hamstring injury, caught a huge third down reception to move the chains and get the offense in a rhythm for the first time all day.
On the next play, junior running back Tevin Coleman took a handoff for nine yards. That was followed up with a screen pass from Zander Diamont to J-Shun Harris II for 12 yards, putting the Hoosiers in field goal range.
That wasn't good enough for senior running back D’Angelo Roberts, who carried the ball on the next two plays, and looking like he was on a mission for the end zone went for 14 yards and 15 yards, respectively. That put the Hoosiers one yard away from securing a victory over Purdue.
On the next play, Diamont kept the ball on a read option and dance into the end zone, giving the Hoosiers a 23-16 lead and the eventual victory.
“It was a great feeling,” Roberts said after the game. “This is my last time on the field playing football, so I just wanted to go out with a good memory, and I’m just happy, my team is happy. We finally got that Bucket two years in a row, I’m happy I’m apart of that.”
A Bloomington native, this game meant a lot to Roberts, and he knew what this single game means to the community.
“I’m very happy to be a part of the family of Bloomington and the great people who have always been here to support me,” Roberts said. “I’m just happy to be a part of something special.
“That Bucket means a lot to people who don’t play football here. It’s been around a long time, I’m just happy to be a part of it.”
“He’s a special player,” Diamont said of Roberts. “Aside from that he’s just a great dude off the field. He’s really one of the leaders off the field for the team, and he’s a huge vocal aspect for us. Driving down the field with him was special for me.”
While Roberts wasn’t ever the feature back for the Hoosiers, his hard work and determination always caught Head Coach Kevin Wilson’s eye. He hasn’t had the easiest road, but Wilson said Roberts was always able to do what he needed to do to be successful on the field and in the classroom.
“It’s great for a kid who has come a long way,” Wilson said. “To finish with him making a few plays was kind of cool. It was nice for D-Lo to be a part of that. Every day it’s a little bit of a fight and he kept growing and growing and growing.”
It was a good end to an otherwise mostly forgettable season for this senior class. The group will leave Indiana without ever reaching a bowl game, but what they accomplished on Saturday against Purdue showed the grit and fight that these players have inside of them.
“I respect this senior class,” Wilson said. “A lot of guys would have cashed it in. They didn’t.”Game Story
Hoosier Game Day