PURDUE: Five Days and Counting

Bloomington, Ind. - When Indiana (6-5/2-5) hosts Purdue (7-4/3-4) this weekend at Memorial Stadium, both teams' bowl hopes could be on the line. In the first of our five-part preview of the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket, we look at five numbers to note about the contest...

2 – teams that head into this weekend's Old Oaken Bucket game with their bowl hopes on the line. While IU fans are well aware of the fact that it just get its first win over Purdue since 2001 to have a realistic shot at its first bowl bid since 1993, Purdue's postseason prospects are suddenly shaky as well. Purdue stands at 7-4 overall and 3-4 in the Big Ten, meaning a loss to the Hoosiers will drop them into a tie for seventh in the league (with Indiana and potentially Northwestern and Michigan State as well). With the Big Ten unlikely to earn two BCS bowl spots, a couple of bowl eligible Big Ten teams will likely miss out on the postseason, and Purdue could be one of those teams if it falls to Indiana. In the event of three-way tie between Indiana, Purdue and Northwestern in the conference standings at 3-5 (assuming Northwestern loses at Illinois and Michigan State falls to Penn State), Indiana would be the probable pick based on a head-to-head win over Purdue and a better overall record than Northwestern.

3 – ways that Purdue's Dorien Bryant can hurt the Hoosiers. Bryant leads the Big Ten with 73 receptions, and he's clearly the No. 1 target for quarterback Curtis Painter and a Boilermaker passing attack that ranks second in the Big Ten (287.5 yards/game). But Bryant is also a concern in the return game. He ranks second in the Big Ten in kickoff returns with a 28.6 yards/return average, and he's taken two back for scores. He's averaging only 4.7 yards on 12 punt returns, but he will be the player back fielding Michael Hines punts and he's more than capable of making a game-changing return here as well.

12 – receiving yards needed by James Hardy to reach 1,000 for the season. If he does that, he'll become just the fourth Hoosier wideout to accomplish the feat. Ernie Jones' 1,265 receiving yards in 1987 remains tops in school history, but Hardy has a chance to pass both Thomas Lewis (1,058 yards in 1993) and Courtney Roby (1,039 yards in 2002) and move into second on IU's single-season list. Hardy has already established a new career record with 2,603 yards, recently passing Roby's 2,524 yards from 2001-04.

59 –touchdowns accounted for by starting quarterbacks Kellen Lewis and Curtis Painter. Both quarterbacks have thrown for 25 touchdowns this season, while Lewis and rushed for six more scores and Painter three. Lewis has quietly broken the school's single-season touchdown record of 22 set by Blake Powers in 2005, and his 31 touchdowns accounted for is the most ever for a Hoosier player. With his three touchdown throws against Northwestern, Lewis moved past Antwaan Randle El in that category. Randle El threw for 17 touchdowns and ran for another 13 scores in his sophomore season (1999). Randle El established a new school single-season total offense record that season with 3,065 yards, and Lewis broke that mark in Evanston and now has 3,246 yards this season (623 rushing, 2,623 passing).

9 – turnovers for the Hoosiers in their last two games against Purdue. In 2005, Blake Powers threw three interceptions and James Hardy and Yamar Washington both coughed up fumbles in Purdue's 41-14 win in Bloomington. In 2006, Marcus Thigpen, Demetrius McCray, Tracy Porter and Ray Fisher all had fumbles in the Boilermakers' 28-19 victory in West Lafayette. Those four fumbles all came in the second quarter and offset an IU offensive attack that piled up 505 yards of total offense but still came up empty at Ross-Ade Stadium.

What's coming up:
On Monday – Five Numbers to Note
On Tuesday - Four Players to Know
On Wednesday – Three Big Concerns
On Thursday – Two Key Match-Ups
On Friday – One Bold Prediction

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