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Canceled Bucket Game Not End Of IU Football Season

Indiana quarterback Jack Tuttle celebrates a touchdown with teammates at Wisconsin last Saturday.

(Indiana University Athletics)

The off-again, on-again Indiana and Purdue football game is off again.

This time for good.

The two schools announced that Friday night’s Old Oaken Bucket game at Memorial Stadium had been canceled due to a number of positive COVID-19 cases among both programs.

The game was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was canceled due to the virus. The Big Ten rescheduled the game over the weekend to Friday before being called off Tuesday.

Indiana coach Tom Allen said the Hoosiers had 28 positive cases among the players and staff, leading to the game being canceled a second time.

“I guess it's kind of par for the course for 2020,” Allen said. “It's been a series of things that have happened that that nobody really wanted to happen. Things get canceled that you look forward to … but it is the fact that it was canceled and then rescheduled and then canceled again, it just kind of like double whammy.”

The two schools have played every year since 1920. The series dates back to 1891, and the Old Oaken Bucket was first played for in 1925.

In a joint statement, Indiana athletic director Scott Dolson and Purdue athletic director Mike Bobinski said:

“Both universities worked extremely hard in an effort to play, but at this time it just isn’t possible. We are certainly disappointed that we cannot play in 2020, but look forward to seeing each other on the field next season and competing once again for the Old Oaken Bucket.”

But it’s not the end of the season for the Hoosiers.

Indiana is 6-1, ranked No. 7 in the nation and is expected to receive a bid in a New Year’s Day bowl. That’s something that hasn’t happened since 1967 when Indiana played USC in the Rose Bowl.

“(It’s) a massive opportunity for us at our at our fingertips,” Allen said. “But any bowl opportunity for us is going to be huge. And we haven't won a bowl game here in a long, long time. So, that's a very high goal that we have in our program, the next breakthrough opportunity for us to check off.”

Allen expects to have a full complement of players for the bowl game, which is still two weeks away. Several bowl projections have Indiana playing USC in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2.

Allen said the Hoosiers are deserving a “New Year’s Six” bowl – the six bowl games that make up the bowl championship series.

“New Year Six is prestigious, for sure,” Allen said. “And it shows that you are one of the top teams in the country. And that's why I do believe we played to that level to be able to be given that opportunity, but we'll see how that all plays itself out.

“But the chance to be able to go to the Fiesta Bowl and play in that setting would be awesome for our program. But wherever we go, we're gonna be fired up to be there without question, and we're gonna be ready to play.”

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here

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