The Buckeyes came back to Ohio Stadium looking for a little bit of payback and they got it in a big way. The Boilermakers were completely outmatched, falling to the Buckeyes 49-0 in the Bucks first shutout of the year. Pryor finished the game with 16/22 with 270 yards 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on the day. The Buckeye running game also made an appearance as Dan Herron picked up 74 yards on 16 carries with 2 touchdowns.
Ohio State started the game with the football on the 40 yard line after Jordan Hall allowed the ball to bounce out of bounds. The Bucks started out on the ground the first few plays, giving Herron the ball repeatedly. The strategy clearly surprised Purdue’s defense who was expecting a healthy dose of Pryor all afternoon. With 5 straight carries, Herron stuck the ball out over the goalline and scored, setting a clear tone for the game.
Purdue started the game out to surprise the Buckeye defense themselves. A quick pass over the middle gained 15 yards, though two Buckeye defenders were in position to almost make a play on the ball. Purdue switched into their more traditional running offense but were unable to get through the OSU defensive line forcing them to punt.
The next offensive drive was not nearly as successful. The Buckeyes returned to their passing offense but found no success on the drive. However, a Purdue blocker ran into their punt returner during the catch resulting in a turnover back to the Buckeyes. With the second chance, the Buckeye offense went back to the running game. They didn’t focus on it to the exclusion of the passing game, though, finding Posey for a near touchdown. After a false start and some flopping around inside the 5, Dan Herron finally found his way back into the endzone.
The vast majority of success the Purdue offense found against the Bucks came from plays that caused the defense to over pursue. The most impressive was a reverse for a 10 yard gain that had 9 of the 11 buckeyes following the quarterback the whole way. The rest of their offense early was completely stymied by the clearly superior talent of the OSU defense.
Jordan Hall entered the game for the Bucks, but didn’t seem to have nearly the success up the middle that Herron had earlier. However, Pryor began to make some serious plays with his arm to pick apart the Purdue zone. Zach Boren, Corey “Philly” Brown, Stoneburner and Posey were all beneficiaries of Pryor’s passing, gaining a first down on every play. With two attempts on the goal line, Jordan Hall punched the ball in to put the Buckeyes up
Purdue’s strategy on long third down was simply not working for them at all. Every single time, Henry would drop back and try to bomb one down field. However, Henry could not keep the passes within the field of play at all. With the Buckeyes locking down on the Purdue running game and short passing game, Henry’s issue was a serious problem to have to deal with.
Purdue’s defense simply had no answer for anything the Buckeyes wanted to do all game long. Ryan Kerrigan – Purdue’s fantastic defensive end – was completely taken out of the game by the OSU gameplan, which was predicated on short passes and running the ball away from his side of the field. It was a great change from Purdue Harbor a year ago when Kerrigan went wild on the OSU offense and gave Pryor fits all afternoon.
Doesn’t mean Purdue wasn’t able to make things happen on defense. A poor Pryor pass to a covered Philly Brown resulted in an interception. Brown was hit on the catch which tipped the ball into the hands of a waiting defender. Unfortunately for the Boilers they were unable to make anything happen on the ensuing drive and were forced to punt.
The passing game finally netted points when Pryor found Posey in the corner of the endzone. It was typical for Posey who seems to make his best catches on the curl routes in the left corner of the endzone. The drive was yet another example of the dominance the Buckeye offense had during the entirity of the first half. It continued when Pryor blitzed the Buckeyes down the field on 2 straight passes to Sanzenbacher that resulted in nearly 70 yards and a touchdown close to the end of the half.
The offensive struggles continued for Purdue when Henry tossed a pass to the right side of the field that fell into the waiting arms for Orhian Johnson. The play put the Buckeyes in great scoring position with almost no time left in the first half. Evil Tressel finally emerged in the game as the Buckeyes passed the ball the entire drive to find Philly Brown in the endzone for a touchdown – his first of the season.
The half stats were a lesson in domination. The Buckeyes held 415 yards on 49 plays compared to Purdue’s 44 yards on 21 plays. Pryor led the way with 16/21 passing with 270 yards, 3 touchdowns and an interception. The running game was dominated by Boom Herron, who had 13 carries for 76 yards and 2 touchdowns on the half. Jordan Hall also managed to punch the ball into the endzone, but only had 18 yards on 7 carries. Saine reemerged from hiding in the running game gaining 33 yards on 4 carries.
Purdue’s Rob Henry only had 4/11 for 24 yards and an interception in the first half. The Purdue running game consisted solely of Keith Carlos, who had 23 yards on 7 attempts. More significantly, Ryan Kerrigan managed only 3 tackles on the game, though 2 of those were tackles for loss. 18 different Buckeye defenders secured tackles in the first half, and Orhian Johnson was not one of them despite playing the majority of the half – he recorded the only OSU interception.
The Boilers started the second half with the ball. Surprisingly they did not get away from the first half gameplan at all, continuing to try to pound the ball up the middle with no blocking adjustments at all. The Buckeye defense happily obliged their suicidal choices early in the drive. Despite the early struggles, Purdue finally began to move the ball, suggesting that the Purdue coaching staff simply knew they could move the ball with a little motivation. A little bit of adjustment from the Buckeye defense stopped the drive and forced Purdue to punt again.
By this point Evil Tressel had almost left the building. The Buckeye offense had no desire – despite Pryor being in the game - to do anything but run the ball up the middle. On their ensuing possession, Pryor threw an interception over the middle tossing it behind an open Sanzo into the waiting arms of a defender, effectively killing Evil Tressel for the game.
Purdue’s offense, despite having great field position after a terrible Buchanon punt, was unable to do anything at all. Having a 4th and 4, the Boilers tried to go for it but failed when Nathan Williams got into the backfield and smoked Henry on the sack.
At the beginning of the 4th quarter, both teams began to get their younger players more time on the field. Purdue began to run their third string quarterback, Freshman Sean Robinson, to get him some experience. Many other players saw time on both sides of the ball.
With the Buckeyes struggling to find a #3 receiver this season, Corey “Philly” Brown began to make a big statement for the spot. He had 2 catches for 38 yards and a touchdown. Those numbers were good for third on the receiver list behind Dane Sanzenbacher’s 4 for 86 and a touchdown, and DeVier Posey’s 4 for 84 and a touchdown. Given the fact that he was seeing the game early on and making plays in the first quarter, it is not impossible that the coaches are giving him a chance to lockdown the #3 spot on the team.
After the game, Corey “Philly” Brown was asked how he felt about scoring his first touchdown. Brown responded saying that he originally thought he had gone down at the inch line and was going to be mad if he didn’t actually make it into the endzone. He was relieved and excited that he had. He heaped praise on Pryor’s play, emphasizing that it was a great pass from the Junior Quarterback.
Brown was also asked which he would remember more – his first touchdown pass or winning the High School State Championship. Brown grinned and responded:
The State Championship was nice, but you always remember your first collegiate touchdown.
In terms of earning the #3 receiver spot, Brown was effusive in his praise of the other receivers and recognizes that he needs to just do what the coaches ask him. Of course, when pressed he emphasized his obvious desire to play.
I also got a chance to talk to Andrew Norwell, who is very excited to be seeing so much time as such a young player. He says he’s just working hard and getting done what he needs to do to help the team.
Pryor finished the game with 16 completions on 22 attempts with 270 yards, 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. His counterpart, Rob Henry had 9 completions on 18 attempts for 58 yards and an interception along with 5 carries for 26 yards.
The Buckeyes next travel to Minnesota to play the Gophers. That game will air at 8 pm on the Big Ten Network. We will have further coverage of the game, and a report from the pressbox later this afternoon.