The #4 Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0) visit the Purdue Boilermakers (1-6, 0-3) for a 12-noon kickoff in Ross-Ade Stadium. Ohio State comes off an impressive beat down of Penn State 63-14, while Purdue comes off a bye week. Penn State had a bye week to prepare for the Buckeyes, and we saw how that turned out. I expect something similar this week.
Purdue is enduring a rebuilding year after showing Danny Hope the door. First year coach Darrell Hazell, who guided Kent State to an 11-2 record last year, is likely to see that record reversed this year. As you may remember, Hazell was formerly on Jim Tressel’s staff and played his college ball at Muskingum University/College.
Purdue brings a not-that-good defense, 34.4 points against, 106th in the country, and an even worse offense, 13.1 points per game, good for 122nd (out of 125 teams) in the nation. Their quarterbacking has been split by early season starter Senior Rob Henry and current starter, freshman Danny Etling. Both QB’s are around 5.9 yards per attempt (not good at all) and have a QB rating of 100’ish. By comparison, Miller/Guiton average 8 yards per attempt and a combined QB rating of 168’ish. Big difference. This lack of performance might be a confidence booster, coming off their good performance against PSU.
Danny Etling will be the 2nd consecutive freshman quarterback the Silver Bullets have faced. Despite showing some promise, Etling is completing only 48% of his passes, has a TD/INT ratio of ¾ and has been sacked 13 times. All of this in three games.
Despite Purdue’s offensive struggles this season, OSU needs to contain junior running back Akeem Hunt. He’s scat-back’ish in size (5’9”, 184), but leads Purdue in rushing (42 YPG), pass receptions (3.5 catches per game) and kick returns (26.4 yards per return). His scrimmage statistics aren’t overwhelming, but if he’s the player they try to get the ball to, we need to discourage that from happening.
Ohio State on Offense
I don’t have much to say on this topic. Ohio State brings in an upbeat, high-powered offense, while Purdue counters with the 11th ranked conference defense (34.4 PPG). In terms of yardage allowed (400 YPG), Purdue ranks just behind Penn State, and we all saw what happened last week.
The Buckeyes bring in a punishing running game with an efficient passing game, and frankly, Hazell’s team will have its hands full. Once the offense hits its ‘Style Points’ quota, I expect to see the full complement of running backs and Guiton/Jones get some meaningful snaps.
I’m not sure that the Buckeyes can approach the nearly 700 yards / 60+ points from last week, but they should easily hit their season average of 517 yards / 47 points.
Ohio State on Defense
I have even less to cover in this section. As mentioned in the introduction, the Boilermaker offense is pretty ineffective; as in almost worst in the country bad, averaging 13.1 points per game.
Purdue’s weaknesses, spotty QB play, inability to protest the quarterback, anemic running game all play into OSU’s strengths. Purdue QB Etling is on his ‘learning curve’, and this is a tough way for the lad to earn his spurs. If things get too far out of hand, which I expect, we may see Hazell insert senior QB Rob Henry to run the offense and limit the psychological damage to Etling. Something similar to the PSU game, without the Purdue QB getting injured.
As mentioned in the Introduction, with a freshman QB, the Purdue offense runs through Akeem Hunt. Hunt averages 76 yards per game from scrimmage, on about 15 “touches” per game. Since Purdue averages 64 plays per game, that’s about 1/4th of the Boilermaker offense that runs through Hunt.
So, how’s it going to shake out? The early line had OSU -31 with the over/under at 58, which is close to the teams’ season scoring averages of 47-13. I think that sounds about right. This may play out similar to last week’s game; a quick start by Ohio State, then continue to roll. I’d be surprised if the Buckeyes will duplicate last week’s performance, but with Purdue having such an off year, it’s possible. And would that be a nice afternoon?
Ross-Ade has been a difficult place for Ohio State to get a win recently. In the past 10 years, Ohio State has won only one of the four games played there. This year, by late afternoon, OSU will have made it two out of five. Even with that, Purdue’s Coach Darrell Hazell has one bad-ass hat brim roll..
The game is scheduled for a 12:00 PM EST kickoff with television coverage on BTN. Please join us at tBBC for live in-game chat approximately 30 minutes before kickoff. We look forward to seeing you.
I’ve been waiting for several months to include this in a Boilermaker Preview/Recap. I’ll let Friend of the Blog, Jethro Tull wrap this up.