Purdue (3-3) at (7) Ohio State (7-0)|
Saturday, October 20, 12:00 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Frank Haynes, Senior College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes put their perfect record on
the line once again, as they play host to the Purdue Boilermakers in Big Ten
Conference action on Saturday afternoon.
Purdue opened the season with wins in three of its first four games, but the
start of conference play hasn't been as rewarding with the team losing two in
a row to Michigan (44-13) and Wisconsin (38-14). Scoring a total of 27 points
in the last two outings is a far cry from the 105 the team put up in its
previous two bouts -- wins over Eastern Michigan and Marshall.
Ohio State has made Urban Meyer's first season as head coach a memorable one,
even if the Buckeyes can't win the Big Ten title or go to a bowl game due to
NCAA sanctions. The team recently won at Indiana, 52-49, marking the second
straight week and third of the year in which OSU scored at least 52 points --
56-10 win over Miami-Ohio on Sept. 1, 63-38 win over Nebraska on Oct. 6 being
Ohio State owns a 37-14-2 advantage in the all-time series with Purdue, which
includes a 25-5-2 mark in Ohio Stadium. The Boilermakers have won in Columbus
just twice in the last 60 years.
The Purdue offense struggled to find its footing last week against visiting
Wisconsin, generating a mere 252 total yards. RB Akeem Hunt didn't get a whole
lot of touches, but did make the highlight reel as he scored on an 81-yard run
late in the fourth quarter. RB Ralph Bolden appeared in his first game of the
season as he continues to rehab a serious knee injury suffered in the 2011
season finale, and he finished with seven yards on four carries. The
Boilermakers used three QBs in the game, and the trio combined to go just 11-
of-31 for 124 yards with no TDs and one interception. They were sacked a total
of five times.
As for the defense, it was battered into submission by a bruising Wisconsin
rushing attack, as star RB Montee Ball ran for 247 yards and three TDs,
helping the Badgers hammer out 467 yards on the ground. The Boilermakers did a
decent job against the pass, yielding just 178 yards and one TD. The PU
defense was on the field for nearly 39 minutes, and got a solid effort from S
Landon Feichter, who tallied a dozen tackles, 10 of which were unassisted, and
he had an interception as well. LB Will Lucas made two of his four stops
behind the line of scrimmage.
While acknowledging that the unit was a bit banged up coming into last week's
contest, Purdue head coach Danny Hope was disappointed with the overall effort
of his defense.
"The result was from our team not being fundamental. We tried to tackle but we
were diving at ankles. We weren't able to wrap guys up and were diving at
ankles too much. We needed to cover in the back half of the defense and cover
them better. We weren't able to stop their play action attack and they had
guys wide open. That kind of thing is inexcusable If you load the box up you
have to be able to cover up in the back half of the defense."
For the season, Purdue is allowing (27.5 ppg) nearly as many points as it is
scoring (32.8 ppg), while being outgained on average by roughly 25 ypg
Shavers (324 yards, three TDs) heads the team's rushing list, while Caleb
TerBush (74-of-121, 721 yards, eight TDs, six interceptions) has taken the
bulk of the snaps, and O.J. Ross (38 receptions, 299 yards) and Antavian
Edison (31 receptions, 371 yards, five TDs) headline the receiving corps.
No defensive player has more than 33 tackles (Lucas), but Feichter has three
picks and DT Kawann Short has four of the team's 11 sacks.
Braxton Miller threw for 211 yards and two TDs while rushing for 149 yards and
a score, helping the Buckeyes roll up 578 yards of total offense in last
week's high-scoring affair at Indiana. RB Carlos Hyde led all ground gainers
with 156 yards and a TD, and WR Devin Smith finished with only two catches,
but tallied 106 yards and a pair of scores. WR Corey Brown, who pounced on an
on-sides kick late in the fourth quarter to preserve the victory, led all OSU
receivers with six grabs (51 yards).
The Ohio State defense failed to come up with a turnover or a sack, and
surrendered 352 passing yards to the Hoosiers, who scored 22 points in the
fourth quarter to make a game of it. Converted FB Zach Boren led the Ohio
State stand with eight tackles.
While obviously pleased his team has yet to lose a game this season, Meyer is
concerned with the play of his defense.
"Spread offenses right now are really exposing us. We have got to get
something fixed. I don't want to take anything away. We are 7-0 and we ran the
ball for 350 yards and had two guys really haul it running the ball. But we
have got to get back to work."
He went on to say, "I have to get more involved and find out what the issues
are. I know injuries are an issue. When you take your starting fullback and
start him at inside linebacker, you have a little problem. I don't think you
can pinpoint one thing right now. I have got to find out. I am going to
increase my involvement with the defense."
The Buckeyes have allowed more combined points in their last two games (87)
than they did in the first five (85), and their effort against the run (122.3
ypg) this year has been more impressive than versus the pass (277.7 ypg). The
opposite holds true for the team's offensive performance, as it rushes for
263.6 ypg and passes for 188.9 ypg.
Miller has thrown for 1,271 yards with 11 TDs and four interceptions, while
also leading the team with 912 yards and nine scores on the ground. Hyde has
about half the number of yards (454) as his signal-caller, but has found the
end zone seven times. As for the receiving corps, Brown has nearly twice as
many grabs as Smith (41-21), but the latter leads the way in both receiving
yards (457) and receiving TDs (six).
Linebacker Ryan Shazier continues to pace the OSU defense with his 65 tackles,
while CB Travis Howard has three interceptions, DB Bradley Roby has 12 PBU,
and DL John Simon three of the club's 16 sacks.
If the Buckeyes don't get their issues on defense worked out, one of these
days it's going to cost them. That said, Miller and company will get theirs,
and while the Boilermakers are sure to put forth maximum effort, they will
come up short as they remain winless here in the month of October.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Ohio State 41, Purdue 24
10/17 10:44:10 ET