Preview: Purdue Boilermakers

Written October 18th, 2012 by MaliBuckeye

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Ohio State TicketsOn paper, the chances Purdue this weekend pulls off its first win against Ohio State in Columbus since 1988 seem slim.

Despite a recent string of success for Purdue against the Buckeyes, ticket prices have declined 17% over the last couple weeks and currently sit at an average asking price of $134 – some 34% below the $206 average cost of Ohio State tickets. On the low end, you can get into Ohio Stadium for $58 with over 200 seats available for below the game average.

Surprisingly, as Fox News reports, tickets still available for purchase as of mid-week, a rare occurrence for a Big Ten conference game in Columbus.

The Boilermakers, after all, have struggled through their first six games, averaging 463.5 yards of offense per game in wins over non-conference competition (Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall), but losing (albeit close) to Notre Dame on Sept. 8 and being outscored 82 to 27 in conference losses to Michigan and Wisconsin over the past two weeks.

Quarterback Robert Marve and Caleb TerBush have been effective at times this year, but combined, have thrown eight interceptions compared to 12 touchdowns.  Featured tailback Akeem Shavers, meanwhile, has failed to rush for more than 74 yards in a contest all season, while also seeing just 19 carries in his last two starts.

Purdue too has proven lacking on defense, surrendering 529.3 yards of total offense per game to opposing teams over the span of its last three contests – including being bowled over to the tune of 467 yards rushing by the Badgers last week, a scenario that left head coach Danny Hope saying earlier this week, “The result was from our team not being fundamental …. That kind of thing is inexcusable.”

Lesson Learned?

All that plays well into the hands of Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes, whose offense is currently humming under the leadership of quarterback Braxton Miller.  Miller enters the week ranked seventh in the FBS in rushing yards per game at 130.3 and needs just 88 additional yards to become the first Ohio State quarterback to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.

Yet, it’s the defensive side of the ball for Ohio State that has local media and fans in an uproar heading into Saturday’s match up, this after the Buckeyes surrendered 38 points to Nebraska on Oct. 6, then last week, somehow allowed Indiana to put up 49 points in a near-loss on the road in Bloomington – including 15 in a 35-second span in the game’s final two minutes.

Commented Meyer following last Saturday’s win, “We are not good in certain areas and we were exposed.  Spread offenses right now are really exposing us.  We have to get something fixed.” That Meyer spent the following night working with his defensive players and coaches in weekly unit meetings speaks volumes as to how serious Ohio State’s head coach is about getting things corrected on the defensive side of the ball.

Should Purdue prove capable of continuing to exploit the shortcomings of the Buckeyes defense, however, things could very well turn in the favor of the Boilermakers and allow for a surprise victory – something which has occurred twice in the last three years, including last year’s 26-23 upset in overtime in West Lafayette.

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