Nov. 17, 2012
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - It all comes down to next Saturday.
If the Boilermakers beat Indiana in the 88th meeting for the Old Oaken Bucket, they will earn their second straight bowl invitation under fourth-year head coach Danny Hope.
Purdue, which endured a five-game losing streak after a 3-1 start to the season, has put itself in such a position by winning back-to-back games on the road - 27-24 at Iowa on Nov. 10 and 20-17 at Illinois on Saturday. With a 5-6 record, the Boilermakers need one more victory to become bowl eligible.
With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for postseason play, and Illinois, Indiana and Iowa unable to reach the six-win plateau, the Boilermakers are guaranteed to fill one of the Big Ten Conference's eight bowl tie-ins.
Five Big Ten teams are bowl eligible. Like Purdue, Michigan State needs to win its regular-season finale (at Minnesota) to join the group.
Purdue and Indiana will square off for the 115th time next Saturday in one of the nation's most-storied football rivalries. The series began in 1891 and has continued every year except 1895, 1896, 1903, 1906, 1907, 1918 and 1919.
The Boilermakers lead the all-time series 71-37-6, including 36-21-4 at home. They hold a 57-27-3 advantage in Bucket games, including 27-14-2 at home.
Purdue has won two of three games against Indiana under Hope.
The Boilermakers have not played in consecutive bowl games since 2006 and 2007. They won the 2011 Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and have a 9-7 all-record bowl record.