Boilers Have Been Spoilers for the Buckeyes
By Rob Ogden
Drew Basil still remembers the exact details of the blocked extra point that cost the Buckeyes what would have been only their second win at Purdue since 2003.
“Being a grass field, there was a bare spot where the extra point spot was," Basil said this week, recounting the Buckeyes' 26-23 loss to the Boilermakers in 2011. "I moved the ball over to the right about six inches just so I could get a good spot for the hold, and then they blocked it from that right side so, you know, in hindsight maybe I shouldn’t have moved the ball over."
The extra point attempt came with less than a minute remaining in the game as Ohio State attempted to take a 21-20 lead.
Jordan Hall's touchdown reception pulled the Buckeyes to within one.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Just seconds prior, then-freshman quarterback Braxton Miller threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to running back Jordan Hall for what Buckeyes fans thought would be the winning score.
Instead, the game went to overtime, where Purdue won it with a 1-yard touchdown plunge.
Saturday, the Buckeyes return to West Lafayette to face the team that has given them so many troubles over the past dozen years.
Purdue has won four of the past 11 meetings with Ohio State, but even some of the games in which the Buckeyes have won, they haven't done so with ease.
In 2002, it took a desperation fourth-down heave to salvage an undefeated season. In 2003, a blocked field goal in overtime propelled the Buckeyes to a narrow win, and last season, it took a heroic comeback led by backup Kenny Guiton for Ohio State to force overtime, and eventually pull out a win.
Dustin Fox blocks the kick in 2003
Photo by Jim Davidson
"It's every year for some reason, and I have no idea why," junior linebacker Curtis Grant said. "There is always that one team that is always out to get you, and Purdue seems like that team.
"The last two years since I've been here, they're always out to get us. We're not expecting anything less."
During that 11-game span, Ohio State has won just twice at Purdue, and has lost three of its past four against the Boilermakers away from home. Eight of the past 12 games have been decided by one score or less.
No current Buckeye has ever won a game at Ross-Ade Stadium, the place the Boilermakers call home.
This Purdue team is a little different. The Boilermakers are 1-6, and haven't sniffed a win against an FBS opponent this season.
The Buckeyes are 30-point favorites on the road in Big Ten play for the first time since 1998.
Of course, Ohio State was a double-digit favorite at Purdue in 2009 and came away from that game with a 26-18 loss.
Grant wasn't on that team, but he knows his team is capable of taking a loss anytime it suits up.
"That makes you want to work a lot harder, because any team can be beat on any given day," he said. "You don't take anything for granted."
It might take a miracle for former Ohio State assistant and first-year Purdue coach Darrell Hazell to lead his team to a victory over the Buckeyes Saturday — possibly something holier than Holy Buckeye itself.
Still, the Buckeyes feel the gravity of the game.
"Going into Purdue, I was there my freshman year, and it didn't turn out how we wanted it to," junior tight end Jeff Heuerman said. "I think there are a lot of guys on this team who remember that. This week is a big week for us, we've got something to prove going back to Purdue."
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