atripdownmemorylane 2.0 for website.png

The Bucket Game of 1967

Written By: Bill Murphy 11/18/2018

As we enter bucket week 2018, we look back on the bucket game of 1967. Going into this game, the bucket had resided in West Lafayette for the past four years. However, the bucket had been missing from its burglar proof case for over a month having been taken from its spot of honor on the Purdue campus by a group of Indiana students who had scaled the side of a building, entered through a window, and picked the lock taking the bucket back to Bloomington.

On Monday night before Saturday 's game with the traditional burning of John Purdue at the bonfire, the adventurous students ran out during the pep rally with the bucket filled with roses. This game would be one of the biggest bucket games of all time.  It would be the first time in 77-year history of the rivalry that both teams came into the game with identical 8-1 records. For the Hoosiers, a victory meant a share of the Big Ten championship. For Purdue, a victory would give them their first undisputed Big Ten title in 38 years. A win would give the Hoosiers their highest finish in the national polls since finishing 4th in 1945. While a Purdue victory would give them their highest finish since finishing 5th in 1945.

The game had long been a sellout, and a record crowd of 52,770 would witness a game no one would soon forget. The swami out of Chicago said Purdue would win 21 to 14. 

On the very first series of downs, defensive end Tom Bilunas knocked the ball out of quarterback Phipps’ hands and Indiana recovered on the 44. Indiana could not move the ball and after an exchange of punts, full back Terry Cole took the first hand off and rushed up the middle for 42 yards to the Purdue 9. Then, on a third and 7, Gonso found Butcher in the end zone and Indiana lead 7-0. Purdue would take the ball and March 85 yards in 10 plays to tie the game at seven. 

Both teams in the second quarter exchanged turnovers and it would again be Indiana's turn to score marching 63 yards including a Gonso to Isenbarger 20-yard pass to the Purdue 2 and a two-yard run by Mike Krivoshia made the score Indiana 13 Purdue 7. 

Purdue would again March down into Indiana territory only to lose the ball on a fumble at the Indiana 29. Terry Cole the senior from Mitchell, Indiana rambled 63 yards for an Indiana score and IU lead 19-7. 

In the second half, Perry Williams scored for the Boilermakers to reduce Indiana’s lead to 19-14. There were 15 minutes left for both teams to claim victory. After an Indiana punt, Purdue marched 76 yards on 20 plays to the Hoosiers 4. Purdue fans could sense victory. In fact, on the next play, one Purdue fan stood up and yelled "there go those roses" as those fateful words came out of his mouth both Harold Dunn and Ken Kaczmarek met Williams’ head on with jarring tackles that caused the most famous fumble in Indiana football history.  Mike Baughman recovered the fumble for Indiana and the Hoosiers had dodged a high bullet.  Indiana was unable to move the ball so John Isenbarger was called upon to punt the ball. Isenbarger kicking out of his own end zone would get all of it and boot the ball 63 yards. Purdue with little time remaining marched one last time to the Indiana 23 as time ran out and the Hoosiers were Big Ten champs and Rose Bowl bound. 

Indiana had won nine games in a season for only the second time as fans poured onto the field in pure joy. The Hoosiers added another “I” to the bucket.