WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Peyton Ramsey opened this season on the bench.
He closed it out Saturday by getting mobbed in the back of the end zone.
After throwing his third touchdown pass in the first overtime, Ramsey’s second 1-yard scoring run sent the Hoosiers home with a thrilling 44-41 double overtime victory at Purdue — and the Old Oaken Bucket.
“Those are the kinds of things you dream about, making big plays in big games,” the junior said. “Nerve-wracking, obviously, in overtime but it was awesome just to celebrate with those guys out there.”
Fulfilling, too, given the circumstances.
In August, Ramsey lost the starting job to redshirt freshman Michael Penix Jr. But as Penix battled injuries throughout the season, Ramsey remained locked and loaded as he led the Hoosiers to one achievement after another.
Now, thanks largely to Ramsey’s high-percentage throws and minimal mistakes, Indiana has its first eight-win season since 1993, its first winning record in Big Ten play since 1993 and the Bucket for the first time since 2016.
“Finally getting the win here, it’s awesome. You can’t really put it into words,” Ramsey said, remembering the Hoosiers (8-4, 5-4) had been eliminated from bowl contention each of the past two years in the Bucket game.
The impressive numbers didn’t illustrate just how well Ramsey played, either. He was 23 of 39 for 337 yards and ran 19 times for 42 yards, but Ramsey turned the game with a series of clutch plays — even after Indiana couldn’t pull away after taking a 28-10 lead late in the third quarter.
So, after watching the Boilermakers (4-8, 3-6) rally to force overtime on a 2-point conversion pass from Aidan O’Connell to Brycen Hopkins that tied the score at 31 with 2:48 left in regulation, Ramsey wasted no time getting back to work. He converted third-and-7 with an 11-yard completion in the first overtime then gave Indiana the lead with a 14-yard TD pass to Nick Westbrook on third-and-13.
And after Purdue got a crazy bounce off Hopkins’ knee, O’Connell tied it with a 6-yard scoring pass to Hopkins on fourth-and-goal.
J.D. Dellinger gave Purdue a 41-38 lead with a 34-yard field goal in the second overtime, but Ramsey made Purdue pay again. This time, he threw a 14-yard pass to Peyton Hendershot on third-and-10, hurried the Hoosiers to the line of scrimmaged, called his own number and scored from 1 yard out for the Bucket-clinching win.
“Indiana deserved to win,” Purdue coach Jeff Brohm said. “They made plays when they had to.”
Indiana: The Hoosiers achieved a lot in this breakthrough season. But they’re not finished yet. If Indiana gets its first bowl win since 1991, the Hoosiers will tie the single-season record for victories.
Purdue: A four-win season certainly was not what the Boilermakers envisioned. But when starting quarterback Elijah Sindelar and All-America receiver Rondale Moore were injured on the same play in the Big Ten opener, the whole season changed. While the wins didn’t pile up, Brohm did find a group of competitive of young players who will become a solid foundation for the future.
BACKING IT UP
Indiana’s leading rusher, Stevie Scott III, missed the game for Indiana after hurting his leg last weekend and Purdue used Zander Horvath in the feature role for the first time this year.
Horvath and Indiana’s Sampson James both delivered with the best games of their careers.
Horvath ran 23 times for 164 yards and two scores, becoming the Boilermakers’ only 100-yard rusher in 2019. He also lost one fumble.
James, who came into the game with 90 yards rushing this season, had 22 carries for 118 yards and one TD before leaving the game with an injured left ankle early in the fourth quarter.
Indiana: Whop Philyor had eight receptions for 138 yards and two TDs. ... The Hoosiers forced two turnovers but gave up 21 points in the final 17 minutes of regulation. Indiana has topped the 30-point mark in nine games this season, tying the school record. ... Logan Justus missed three field goals after coming into the game 9 for 9.
Purdue: O’Connell was 28 of 49 with 408 yards, three TDs and one interception. ... David Bell had nine catches for 136 yards and one score. Hopkins caught eight passes for 142 yards and two TDs. ... The Bucket Game has been decided in overtime twice, both at West Lafayette and the Hoosiers won both times.
Indiana: Must wait until Dec. 8 to find out where they’re headed for bowl season.
Purdue: The Boilermakers will begin offseason workouts soon and will not return to action until Sep. 5 when they visit Nebraska.