Ross-Aide stadium has been a house of horrors for the Buckeyes in recent years, but it was as friendly a home they could have found outside of Columbus today. Ohio State rode their momentum from the Penn State game last week straight through Purdue on their way to a 56-0 shutout victory and their 21st straight win dating back to last season. Braxton Miller led the way with a 19/23 passing day for 233 yards, 4 touchdowns and an interception. Danny Etling threw a pedestrian 11/25 for 72 yards and an interception in the biggest loss for the Boilermakers to a Buckeye team since the 49-0 victory in 2010 that was later vacated.
Carlos Hyde and Kenny Guiton both had solid days running the football. Hyde picked up 111 yards on only 8 carries, while Guiton gained 98 on 9. Jeff Heuerman led all receivers with 5 catchs for 116 yards and 1 touchdown. Five different Buckeyes caught touchdown passes today, including: Chris Fields, Nick Vannett, Corey Brown, and Ezekiel Elliott. For Purdue, Akeem Hunt gained 23 yards on 6 carries while Gary Bush caught 2 passes for 18 yards. As a team the Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 630-116 overall in offensive yardage – the second 600 yard game for Ohio State in a row.
The game started about as poorly for Purdue as they could imagine. Starting with the ball, they did manage to find some running room on the ground. But facing a 2nd and five, Danny Etling tossed the ball straight into the arms of a waiting Doran Grant. Grant returned the ball 33 yards for the first touchdown of the game 57 seconds into the game. Purdue followed that drive with a three and out stopped less than a yard short of the goalline.
Things didn’t go much better for Purdue when OSU had the ball, not that you would expect them to. The Buckeyes opened with the exact same gameplan they opened with last week. The first play was a WR screen on the outside to soften up the interior of the Purdue defense. That was followed by a pass over the middle to the left side where Purdue’s defense had left a massive gap. Jeff Heuerman was the recipient of the gift of a wide open field when the safety bit on the wrong receiver. Heuerman had no trouble taking the pass 40 yards into the endzone to give the Buckeyes a two score lead.
It took their third drive for the Boilermakers to get things unbottled. A handful of good short passes intermixed with solid runs helped to keep the defense honest and the Boilers moving. Noah Spence nearly single-handedly killed what was looking like a promising drive when he charged into the backfield and hammered Etling for a sack and an eight yard loss. Purdue was forced to punt a play later after an Etling pass was batted down under pressure.
Ohio State looked like they were going to put more points onto the board on the following drive. Despite Carlos Hyde’s difficulty getting the running game going, the Bucks had no trouble moving down the field with the passing game – aided by an unfortunate 15 yard penalty for sideline interference on Purdue. The drive ended rather suddenly when Ricardo Allen jumped a poor pass from Braxton Miller and picked him off. Despite the sudden momentum boost the Purdue offense wasn’t able to do anything with it. They were forced into a 3 and out and a punt.
It was the Buckeye Tight Ends, much maligned and even more forgotten, that made the biggest noise in the first quarter. Heuerman caught another 34 yard pass to put his number at 4 receptions and 98 yards with a touchdown in the first quarter. His backup, Nick Vannett, was the one to cap the second scoring drive when Miller tossed him a short 8 yard gimmie for the score. That was shortly followed by a sweet little touchdown toss pass from Miller to Corey “Philly” Brown after Purdue fumbled on their own 20 yard line.
After Miller moved the Buckeyes down to the redzone again, Smooth Jazz Kenny G got a shot in the game. With Miller split wide as a receiver, Kenny ran a QB draw to the 1, and followed that with a Tim Tebow-esque touchdown toss over the line to Chris Fields for the score. Amazingly, Purdue’s defense was able to put together a stop on the following drive, aided in part by two costly penalties that negated a punt-return touchdown from Philly Brown and a first down catch for Chris Fields.
The Buckeye defense really turned things on in the last couple weeks. After a solid display against Penn State where they gave up only 7 points (the last score was a trash time long touchdown against the third stringers, and not representative of the defense), they came out against Purdue and really kept the momentum going. The pressure from the defensive line was excellent, forcing Etling into bad throws, batting down passes, and keeping Etling from getting comfortable in the pocket. They were effective against the run, keeping Purdue bottled up at only 2 yards per carry for much of the beginning of the game. Ultimately, they prevented Purdue from even becoming a scoring threat. It was a dominating performance from top to bottom, and is a great sight to see after the early season struggles.
The Buckeyes were pinned deep late in the 2nd half, with Carlos Hyde standing in the endzone. Three plays later, Hyde had taken the Buckeyes to the Purdue 30 yard line on several huge runs that very nearly looked like he was going to break it for the score. On that drive alone, he picked up nearly 3/4′s of the yards needed to break 100 for the game. Needing a breather, Hyde was replaced by Ezekiel Elliott who caught two passes, including one from 10 yards out for a score.
Ohio State started with the ball in the second half and pretty quickly switched to the 2nd stringers. Carlos Hyde was tossed into the game briefly to pick up a 100 yard rushing day and was then replaced by Ezekiel Elliott and Dontre Wilson for the remainder of the drive. Guiton was the key for the majority of the drive, picking up huge yards on 3rd and 6, and then plunging the ball into the endzone from a couple yards out for the score. Purdue’s defense didn’t look any more capable against the backups than they did against the starters.
With the score at 49-0, the Buckeyes simply focused on the running game. A long run from Kenny Guiton on third and 13 from inside their own five yard line set the tone of the drive. Ezekiel Elliott then caused wide swaths of damage, causing Purdue tacklers in good position to miss badly. By time the team made it into field goal range, the Purdue defense stiffened, popping Dontre Wilson and Elliott with nice tackles to kill the drive. A holding penalty on Elliott on fourth and short returned the ball to the Boilers.
The game slowed dramatically in the second half, not a surprise since teams don’t typically like to run up the score. Guiton managed the end of the game very effectively, distributing the ball and making certain the offense continued to move. He also put up very impressive numbers, including: two rushing touchdowns, a passing touchdown, and nearly 100 yards of rushing for the game. While the second string offense wasn’t nearly as efficient as the first team, they still demonstrated that they could move the football effectively – a bright sign for the future.
The Buckeyes are on the Bye next weekend. They will next play the Illinois Fighting Illini in the last home game of the season on Saturday, November 16th. The game time is yet to be determined.