WEST LAFAYETTE – In Purdue coach Joe Tiller's last game on the sidelines of Ross-Ade Stadium, the Boilermakers got off to an extremely fast start and never stopped.
Purdue took the opening kickoff and scoring just 1:59 into the game when quarterback Curtis Painter hooked up with Desmond Tardy on a 9-yard touchdown pass. The Boilermakers utilized a no-huddle offense to keep the IU defense off guard all day. It was the first of five Purdue scoring drives in the first quarter, and Purdue went on to win 62-10 to recapture the Old Oaken Bucket.
Painter finished his college career with a great day: 38-of-54, 445 yards and five touchdowns. He seemingly could throw to anyone he wanted to at any point on the field.
Fellow senior and starting tailback Kory Sheets added 61 yards on 15 carries and three scores of his own, including a diving touchdown in the third quarter. The leading receiver for the Boilermakers was Keith Smith, who caught 12 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown. Painter found 10 different receivers on the day, and even caught a pass himself for an 18-yard gain, thrown by Tardy.
Indiana had no answers, as the Kellen Lewis-led offense was able to get anything going all afternoon.
"We didn't slow ‘em down, and we didn't move the ball," IU Coach Bill Lynch said.
Lewis started and played the whole game for the Hoosiers, finishing 13-of-25 for just 91 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Tailback Marcus Thigpen added 55 yards on 10 carries, and Lewis chipped in with 48 yards on 17 carries.
Nobody for Indiana had more than two catches, and several Hoosiers dropped passes.
Indiana's struggles on offense and defense were equaled by their problems on special teams. When Purdue kicked off after scores, they used a short, high pooch kick, which Indiana had trouble fielding all day long. The Hoosiers muffed two of the kicks, with Purdue recovering one.
While Lynch said Indiana was prepared for the short kicks, he also said there was too many miscommunication between the personnel on the field.
The 2008 renewal of the IU-Purdue series was a seemingly fitting end to a forgettable 2008 season. Indiana finishes the year with a disappointing 3-9 record, including an 1-7 record and last-place finish in the conference.
Despite the tough season and the most lopsided loss to Purdue in more than 100 years, Lynch was already talking about the 2009 campaign.
"We're gonna get back to work!" Lynch said.
Lewis, who was bothered by injuries for much of the Big Ten season, finished the season 97-168, throwing for 1039 yards, five touchdowns and six interceptions. Fellow quarterback Ben Chappell didn't play Saturday, but figures to compete with Lewis for the starting quarterback job during spring practice.
Both quarterbacks got substantial playing time during the season, and what Indiana decides to do with their offense next season will determine who the starter will be. Marcus Thigpen will graduate, which opens the door for Bryan Payton, Demetrius McCray or possibly freshman Darius Willis to be the starter.
In all, Indiana sends off 15 seniors, including Thigpen, kicker Austin Starr, and cornerback Christopher Phillips.
The 2009 campaign will be a new season, and a new chance for the Hoosiers to Play 13.
Old Oaken Bucket Embarrassment
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