Nov. 24, 2012
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Stephen Houston rushed for 158 yards, became the first Hoosier since 2007 to score three rushing touchdowns and finished with a career-high 253 all-purpose yards, but it was not enough as Purdue defeated Indiana, 56-35, on Saturday afternoon.
Akeem Shavers' big fourth quarter helped the Boilermakers hold onto the Old Oaken Bucket.
Shavers scored three times in four-and-a-half minutes, twice on long pass plays, to break open a tie ballgame.
The game was the highest-scoring contest in this 115-game series. The 91 combined points broke the previous record of 87 set in Purdue's 63-24 victory in 2004.
Sixth-year senior quarterback Robert Marve threw for a career-high 348 yards and four touchdowns.
Cameron Coffman, who was 31-of-53 for 348 yards, one score and three interceptions, led Indiana. He also ran for a touchdown. The 348-yard total is the most ever for a Hoosier in a Bucket Game, surpassing Jay Rodgers's 342-yard performance in 1997.
Houston carried the ball a career-high 28 times and posted career-highs with 12 catches and 95 yards. Bryan Payton was the last Hoosier to score three times on the ground, against Minnesota on Oct. 6, 2007.
"This was a tremendous day for Purdue and they played a great second half, but we didn't make tackles," Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson said. "We played a solid game and the guys played good, but when you turn the ball over four times you're not going to win the game. It's sad for the seniors, but we hope to go into the offseason and work on the guys coming back."
It still wasn't enough on a day Shavers ran 27 times for 126 yards and caught two scoring passes for 99 yards.
But Saturday's game typified a season full of miscues and misfortune.
Shavers had scoring runs of 71 and 58 yards brought back by holding calls. The Boilermakers blew one scoring chance after taking over at their own 45, another when Marve was picked off in the red zone and a third when Raheem Mostert's chance at a 96-yard kickoff return was upended when teammate Chris Quinn inadvertently tackled him at the Indiana 37 while trying to make a block. All but Shavers' potential 58-yard scoring run happened in the first half.
Greg Heban capped his season with his team-high third interception and the sixth of his career. The junior safety returned it 71 yards, setting up IU's third TD, and finished with a game-high nine tackles, seven solo.
Between the mistakes, the two pass-happy teams traded big-play jabs. It was that kind of day.
Indiana took a 21-14 lead into the locker room before Purdue scored 21 unanswered in the third quarter. The Hoosiers stormed back with two scores in the next 5:16 to tie it up at 35.
Coffman pushed across the goal line for his first career rushing TD, a 1-yarder, and later found sophomore Cody Latimer from six yards out with 12:14 to go.
But Shavers turned the game with his late scoring flurry.
He capped a 99-yard drive with a 73-yard TD reception with 10:40 to go. He scored again on a 26-yard reception from Marve just five plays after a Max Charlot pick. And he scored for the third time after Antoine Lewis returned an interception to the Indiana 4. That made it 56-35 and sealed the victory.
Latimer finished with five receptions for 67 yards in addition to his sixth touchdown of 2012. Sophomore Shane Wynn added five grabs for 89 yards, including a 52-yarder, and junior Kofi Hughes registered four grabs for 76 yards with a 46-yarder.
"We have 19 guys on offense coming back and only five will be seniors," Wilson said. "They have time to grow because they're young and have potential to grow. These last three games have been disappointing, but with the next young players they can make great strides and become the strong leaders that we need. We need to recruit and work on player development because our guys are not physically strong enough to where they need to be."
The Associated Press contributed to the story.