This is Indiana University coach Tom Allen's first game as a head coach against in-state rival Purdue, but no one has to explain the significance of the Old Oaken Bucket to the New Castle, Ind., native.
"Being raised in this state and seeing this game many, many years as a younger person, I know how much goes into it," said Allen, who joined the Indiana staff as defensive coordinator in 2016 and became head coach for the bowl game after Kevin Wilson resigned. "So we fully understand the magnitude of this game."
Indiana has gone into the last two seasons needing to beat Purdue to be bowl eligible. That is true again this year but the Boilermakers (5-6, 3-5 Big Ten) are in the same situation when they host the Hoosiers (5-6, 2-6) on Saturday.
"We know what is at stake for both sides, love that," Allen said. "I have ton of respect for Coach (Jeff) Brohm and what he's done at Purdue in a very short time. He has really transformed them. They're playing with a lot of confidence. Their defense is extremely talented and playing well. He's (Brohm) a tremendous play-caller (on offense). Just does a really good schematically and maximizes the talent there."
The Hoosiers have won four in a row against the Boilermakers, matching their longest winning streak in the in-state series with the other time
Indiana is coming off its most impressive outing of the season, shutting out visiting Rutgers 41-0 on Saturday. It was the Hoosiers' first Big Ten shutout since Oct. 30, 1993 when they shut out Michigan State 10-0.
The Boilermakers' victory was even more impressive, topping host Iowa 24-15 on Saturday.
"Their defense has consistently played well and kept them in games," Allen said. "And then they offense made critical plays when it had to against Iowa. They put it all together on the road.
Allen understands the challenges Purdue offense presents.
"They create a lot of the conflicts and put you in binds and do a great job understanding what you're doing and trying to expose weaknesses," Allen said. "We're trying to do the same thing with them. It's just a chess match coaches go through.