What a disaster…
Purdue (2-5) took advantage of 5 turnovers (all on Terrelle Pryor) and 9 OSU penalties including a gameclenching facemask penalty to defeat #7 Ohio State (5-2) 26-18 in West Lafayette. The game ended when Doug Worthington successfully stopped a Purdue screen on 3rd down, but pulled the player down by his facemask. After that, Purdue only needed to use their victory formation to finish it out.
For the second straight week, Ohio State’s offense failed to appear. The surprise today was the success Purdue’s offense had moving the ball against Ohio State usually spectacular defense. Purdue Quarterback Joey Elliott was 31/50 for 281 yards 2 TDs and 1 INT throwing to 8 different receivers. The most dangerous of those were Smith and Valentin who had 12/125 and 10/97 with 2 TDs respectively.
Ohio State’s offense looked terrible on all but 3 drives. A first quarter 3 play drive that ended in a 6 yard Terrelle Pryor run for a TD and a drive in the fourth quarter that ended in a field goal were the only times Ohio State’s offense looked like the sort of offense one might expect. Another drive in the fourth quarter that ended in a Touchdown was almost entirely done on luck as two passes were floated to the receivers and somehow miraculously got where they needed to go.
On all of the other drives, Ohio State’s offense failed to produce, managing only 24 total yards on 10 seperate drives spanning from the start of the game to the end of the 3rd Quarter, broken only by the second drive that ended in a score. Those drives ended in Turnovers 5 times (2 fumbles, 3 Interceptions). Terrelle Pryor’s stats on the day, throwing to only 5 recievers, were 17/31 for 221 yards and a TD with 3 INTs. The numbers don’t fully demonstrate the incompetence shown by the 2nd year starter as he often threw off his back foot and floated balls over his receivers. Several times he threw the ball straight into Purdue defenders, or showed terrible decision making.
The one bright spot on offense was the play of Brandon Saine who looked fantastic running the football for 7 carries and 32 yards and catching the ball once for a 40 yard gain. Unfortunately, given the way Purdue dominated the game, Saine was limited in his touches as the Offense struggled to find any sort of identity.
Unsurprisingly, Hurt Coleman was dominant again on Defense making great tackles and being all over the field. Also standing out were Devon Torrence and Chimdi Checkwa both recording their first interceptions of the year. Unfortunately, due to the constant Zone defense being called, the defensive backs were often reacting more than attacking, which often left Purdue receivers wide open for mid-range yardage gains.
The defensive line was unable to make a big splash in this game due to Purdue’s gameplan. Purdue used a surprisingly mobile Joey Elliott, and a serious of screen plays and short quick passing routes to eliminate any threat by the Ohio State defensive line. Despite often getting pressure, they were only able to sack him once, and it often left OSU’s secondary out to dry.
Purdue’s defense was all over the field, and often got at Pryor in the backfield. With all the pressure, and varying coverage looks, Pryor often looked confused and uncomfortable throwing the football. Pryor has definitely regressed from last year, and it seems like Purdue took advantage of it.
Also unsurprising today was the terrible Commentating. For at least the third week in a row, the commentators have done more to chase people away from watching the game than anything the Buckeyes have done themselves. Seriously Big Ten network, get some better talking heads. Thanks.
Several calls by the Officials deserve mention as well, and while they changed the game did not make Ohio State lose it. The most egregious occured early during the first half. On what became a Purdue scoring drive (ended in a field goal), Hurt Coleman managed to hold up a receiver and strip the ball for a clear fumble. With no whistle blown during the play, the Ref’s claimed that the receiver’s forward progress had been stopped and was therefore down. It was a clear disregard for the forward progress rules. The drive continued until the Ohio State defense forced a punt which was muffed by Ray Small and recovered by Purdue.
The story of the day yet again has to be the offense’s inability to give the defense a rest. While the Time of Possession skew wasn’t as bad as against Wisconsin (36:08 vs. 23:52), it was still out of control and clearly the defense was getting tired late in the game as they were unable to stop Purdue’s offense to a greater degree as the game wore on.
It is clear now that changes need to be made on Offense, but it is in serious question what changes are needed. Terrelle Pryor shows flashes (though rare) of the brilliance of which he is capable. However, he often looks confused, stares down receivers, throws off his back foot – literally every possible mistake a quarterback can make, and often on the same play! It is unclear if any of this can be fixed this year, but it is clear that this team is not nearly as good as it should be given the depth of talent on the offense.
Ohio State faces Minnesota next weekend at Ohio Stadium. I’m suddenly very worried about that game, given that Minnesota runs a very similar offensive style and seemingly has a better defense than Purdue. It’s amazing how fast pessimism can set in.