WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- — Purdue quarterback Hudson Card dealt with the rib soreness each time he contorted his body Saturday.
He made sure rival Indiana felt his pain in a different way.
Card threw three touchdown passes, matching his career high, and scored on a 10-yard run with 2:39 left to give the Boilermakers a 35-31 victory over rival Indiana — keeping the Old Oaken Bucket for a third straight year.
“It's painful," coach Ryan Walters said, describing the left rib injury. "Everybody knows this is the last game so as he long as he could throw the ball, he wanted to play. I think it was Monday or Tuesday when he wasn't looking right or feeling right, he said, ‘Coach, I’m playing.' So we planned accordingly.”
Walters couldn't have drawn it up any better.
His ace delivered his most masterful performance all season, completing 21 of 34 for 275 yards including a the beautiful 44-yard completion to Deion Burks on the first play of the decisive drive. He also ran 12 times for 85 yards, nimbly avoiding tacklers on his way to the game-changing score.
And as much as it hurt Card to play, he knew it would have hurt even more if he hadn't been leading the Boilermakers (4-8, 3-6 Big Ten) to their third home win and the 300th at Ross-Ade Stadium, which concluded its centennial season.
“It's never fun not playing," said Card, who sat out last week because of the left rib injury.
Indiana (3-9, 1-8) closed out another forgettable season with another frustrating finale. The Hoosiers lost their final three games by a total of 10 points, blowing late leads in all three.
This time, the collapse began with a kickoff out of bounds and the long completion from Card to a wide-open Burks. Four plays later, Indiana trailed 35-31. Burks had seven catches for 84 yards.
Indiana responded by reaching the Boilermakers 35-yard line only to have it stall because of a stop on third-and-1 and again when Brendan Sorsby drew an intentional grounding call on fourth down.
“You’re trying to get a yard," Indiana coach Tom Allen said. "To me, that’s what you’ve got to be able to do. Frustrating once again. Couldn’t finish. Got to finish, got to finish, got to finish.”
Sorsby was 17 of 31 with 226 yards, three touchdown passes and three interceptions while rushing 15 times for 54 yards. E.J. Williams Jr. had five catches for 97 yards.
Indiana: The Hoosiers played their five most competitive over the final five weeks though it sure didn't show up in the record. Now comes the big question for Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson: Will he keep Allen for an eighth full season?
Purdue: Walters' first season fell well short of expectations. Purdue struggled early, struggled at home, struggled with turnovers and struggled with scoring defense. Now that Walters knows what he has, it will be interesting to see the roster changes he makes for 2024.
BY THE NUMBERS
Indiana: Linebacker Aaron Casey had two tackles in the first quarter to became the first Hoosiers player with 100 in a single season since Tegray Scales in 2016. ... Jaylin Lucas scored on a 100-yard kickoff return, making him the fourth player in school history to achieve the feat. He's already tied the school's career record (Marcus Thigpen, three) in just two seasons.
Purdue: S Dillon Thieneman picked off two passes in the first half, giving him a school freshman record of six this season. Stuart Schweigert set the previous mark with five in 2000. ... George Burhenn and Drew Biber had their first career catches and first career TDs in the first half Saturday.
Allen remains well liked and well respected in the community. And even though he started Saturday tied for fourth on the school's career victory list with 33, the speculation will now turn to his future. He's 33-49 over seven seasons and one game and he's 3-24 in conference play since being named the 2020 Big Ten coach of the year. His buyout this year is nearly $21 million. Next year, it drops to about $8 million though he could be entering a lame duck year.
“I understand you have to win. I want to win as bad as anybody,” he said. "It’s out of my hands.”
Indiana: Hosts Florida International on Aug. 31.
Purdue: Hasn't yet announced an opening day opponent for next season.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football