PURDUE: Two Days and Counting

Purdue Coach Joe Tiller admitted this week he didn't know what being "amped up" was until recently, but he's promised to make sure his team isn't lacking in that area like it was a year ago in Bloomington. Today HoosierNation.com looks at two of biggest concerns in this weekend's IU-Purdue game as we continue our day-by-day preview of the battle for the Old Oaken Bucket…

An emotional farewell for Purdue Coach Joe Tiller - Purdue has struggled through a terribly disappointing season, one that hasn't been befitting Tiller's 12-year tenure in West Lafayette. The school's all-time leader in wins with 86, Tiller will be trying to end his coaching career on a positive note with a 10th win in 12 tries against Indiana.

"I'd like to say that the last time I walked off that field we were victorious," Tiller said at his final weekly press conference. "It will leave me with a better taste as I walk away from the program. To me, I hope the feeling is mutual with the players and the seniors. But to me it's pretty significant."

No matter how badly the team has struggled and underachieved this season, that's bound to mean something to this Purdue squad. IU football fans need only to think back to 1996 when its winningest coach in school history – Bill Mallory – coached in his final game against Purdue in West Lafayette. Despite having dropped eight straight games heading into the finale, the Hoosiers responded with a convincing and emotional 33-16 win over Purdue and carted Mallory off the field on their shoulders afterward.

Indiana needs to be prepared for a similar level of energy from Purdue at Ross-Ade Stadium. Tiller hasn't necessarily gotten the best out of his team in his final season, but it's a good bet he'll get an outstanding effort from his squad in his final Old Oaken Bucket game.

Who will be Indiana's choice at quarterback? - The IU coaching staff has gone back and forth on starting either Kellen Lewis or Ben Chappell in recent weeks not out of choice, but more out of necessity. Lewis missed a couple of games after suffering a high ankle sprain against Iowa, and Ben Chappell has been shelved lately as well due to a concussion and an apparent rib injury.

As the Hoosiers prepare for Purdue, the IU coaching staff figures to have a choice about whom to go with as the starter. Both Lewis and Chappell were active participants in practice Tuesday, and IU Coach Bill Lynch said his team is going to be as healthy at the quarterback position this week as it's been in about a month and a half.

"We're going to do what gives us the best chance to win the football game," Lynch said. "At this point, it's not who's the healthiest like it's been since the first time Kellen went down."

So who will Indiana pick, and who's the right choice? The odds on favorite appears to be Lewis, since he's started every game this season that he's been healthy enough to play. Some might wonder if that's the right course since the offense has appeared to be at its best as of late when Chappell was on the field against Central Michigan and in the first half of the Wisconsin game. But Lewis does provide an added dimension with his ability to make plays with his legs.

"A healthy Kellen is something that adds something to our offense," Lynch said. "If he can really move, that's to our benefit."

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


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