(4) Ohio State (8-0) at Purdue (1-6)|
Saturday, November 2, 12 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The fourth-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes continue their quest for a
second straight undefeated season as they hit the road for Saturday's Big Ten
Conference clash with the Purdue Boilermakers.
Ohio State won its 20th consecutive game last Saturday by routing visiting
Penn State, 63-14. The Buckeyes' impressive win streak in the longest in the
country at present, and it is tied for the second-longest in program history.
The longest is 22 games set between 1967-69. At 4-0 in conference, OSU is a
game up on second-place Wisconsin in the Leaders Division, and the Buckeyes
own the tie-breaker thanks to their 31-24 win over the Badgers in Columbus on
Purdue was idle last weekend, affording them some additional time to try and
figure out a way to pick up their first win over another member of the
Football Bowl Subdivision as they are just 1-6 on the year and 0-3 in
conference. The Boilermakers' lone victory came against FCS foe Indiana State
back on Sept. 7, and it is currently mired in a five-game losing streak.
First-year head coach Darrell Hazell is at a loss when looking for answers as
to the reason his team has struggled the way it has this season.
"It's frustrating. You put a lot of work into it and you want better results,"
he continued, "You're working through those things and the whole goal of the
program is you have to continually try to get better at little things, and
there's a lot of things that you have to get better at, and that's part of it.
That's part of the growing process and our staff is working tirelessly to get
those things fixed."
Ohio State owns a 39-14-2 edge in the all-time series with Purdue, and the
Buckeyes won last year's meeting in Columbus, 29-22, in overtime. In fact, the
last two encounters couldn't be decided in regulation, with the Boilermakers
taking a 26-23 overtime decision at home in 2011. They have won the last two
meetings in West Lafayette.
Braxton Miller threw for three TDs and ran for two more, and Carlos Hyde
rushed for 147 yards and two scores to lead the Buckeyes to their easy win
over Penn State last Saturday night. Ohio State dominated the Nittany Lions,
who suffered their worst loss since 1900, by racking up 686 yards of total
offense, compared to 357 for PSU. In addition to Hyde and Miller, Jordan Hall
(eight carries, 81 yards), Devin Smith (five rec., 90 yards) and Corey Brown
(four rec., 67 yards, one TD) also had a hand in the lopsided outcome. Miller,
who threw for a career-high 252 yards, passed for and ran for multiple TDs in
the same game for the first time in his career.
OSU did not commit a turnover for the second week in a row, and has only eight
giveaways this season. The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in scoring (47.2 ppg) and
total offense (517.2 ypg), while also pacing the conference in third-down
conversion rate (.528) and turnover margin (+8).
Despite missing time earlier in the season with an injury, Miller ranks
seventh in the league in 180.5 passing ypg, and he has thrown 11 TD passes
against only two interceptions. He is also a force in the run game, amassing
403 yards and a pair of scores. Hyde and Hall rank one-two on the team's
rushing list, logging 590 and 519 yards, respectively, with the two combining
for 15 TDs, while Brown and Smith have joined forces to tally 72 receptions,
1,044 receiving yards and 13 scores.
Defensively, the Buckeyes performed well against the run last week (120 yards,
no TDs allowed), and came away with four sacks and three turnovers. Ryan
Shazier continued his outstanding season by making a club-best 10 tackles,
while Noah Spence had a pair of sacks against the Nittany Lions, who became
the eighth team this season to fail to have a 100-yard rusher against the Ohio
State defense, although Bill Belton came close with 98 yards on 22 carries.
The Buckeyes did allow PSU standout receivers Allen Robinson to catch 12 balls
for 173 yards and a TD, but with the outcome never in doubt, it didn't matter
Ohio State ranks in the upper half of the Big Ten standings in nearly every
defensive category as well, highlighted by its No. 1 ranking in sacks (20) and
No. 3 ranking against the run (95.9 ypg). Shazier has 66 tackles on the year,
which includes nine TFL and two sacks. Spence has five sacks, and Bradley Roby
has two picks to go with 38 tackles, eight PBU, 10 passes defended and a
Senior defensive back Corey Brown turned the tables on the typical coach speak
following a hugely-satisfying win by giving praise to the guys who draw up the
game plan from week to week.
"You could say it's a statement game in a way. We wanted to come out and stop
their offense. Our coaches did a great job of putting us in the right
formations in coverage. I give them all the credit."
With only one win this season, it's not surprising that Purdue ranks among the
worst offensive teams in the nation, currently sitting 119th (of 123) with a
scoring average of only 13.1 ppg. The squad is also 119th in rushing offense
(76.1 ypg), and it has scored a grand total of three rushing TDs all season.
As for the passing attack, it ranks 90th at 202.4 ypg, with the tandem of Rob
Henry and Danny Etling combining to hit roughly half of their passes with
seven TDs and 10 interceptions. Running back Akeem Hunt serves as both the
club's leading rusher (80 carries, 293 yards, no TDs) and receiver (24 rec.,
239 yards, two TDs).
As poor as the Purdue offense has been, there isn't much the defense can do
besides try to stand its ground the best it can, and still that has resulted
in opponents scoring an average of 34.4 ppg. The effort against the run
typically yields 192.7 ypg (10th in the Big Ten), but the Boilermakers have
performed well versus the pass with 206.9 ypg allowed (fourth in the
conference). Anthony Brown and Taylor Richards pace the unit with 38 stops
apiece, but the unit checks in at minus-5 in turnover margin and permits its
foes to score on a league-high 92.6 percent of their trips to the red zone.
Despite playing their first road game in nearly a month, the Buckeyes should
have very little trouble imposing their will on an inferior Purdue squad.
Expect Miller and company to jump on top early, thus allowing head coach Urban
Meyer the option of making wholesale substitutions.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 49, Purdue 10
10/30 10:35:32 ET