It’s the biggest game of the season since the last biggest game of the season.
No. 2 Ohio State (7-0, 4-0) heads to Purdue (3-3, 2-1), currently as 12.5-point favorites. The Buckeyes are 0-3 against the spread the last three weeks, so that should give each of the pickers something to think about.
Is this the week that somebody picks the opposition to defeat Ohio State?
Let’s find out.
OSU vs. Rival 1, since 2000: 15-3
OSU vs. Rival 2, since 2000: 8-4
This isn’t necessarily important, I just wanted to take a moment on this fine Friday to bash Michigan. The records above show that even Purdue has played the Buckeyes closer than the Wolverines in this millennium.
For some reason, Purdue has been a thorn in Ohio State’s side for years, and nobody seems to fully understand why. The atmosphere in Ross-Ade Stadium is pretty tame. There’s a loud horn and a big, lonely drum… that’s about it. Their recruiting hasn’t soared enough to put them on an even plane with the Bucks. Heck, they only have one player (and he’s a good one) that was rated a four-star recruit.
I’m not superstitious enough to think that Purdue has some sort of magical read on OSU that allows them the somewhat frequent upset. However, I am a little bit stitious of their passing game and explosive four-star skill player, Rondale Moore. To date, OSU and Greg Schiano have been unable to clamp down on those things.
All that said, with history in its place, behind us, OSU will win on Saturday by at least two scores. For their strengths in the passing game, the Boilermakers have no ability to stop a pass on defense. Haskins and his receivers put up big numbers and, though it’s tight at times, the Buckeyes pull away.
Ohio State 45, Purdue 30
I keep getting this feeling that Ohio State comes into this game and dominates from the outset. Or at least that’s where I was a couple of days ago. I just don’t know how the Buckeyes can flick two switches — the defense and the running game — and expect both to fire right up.
The good news for Ohio State is that this game won’t be the biggest thing they’ve ever seen or done, whereas it will be for the Boilermakers. However, the way Urban Meyer goes conservative in big games, expect Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm to come out swinging and never stop. The Boilers are going to force the issue and it will be up to Ohio State to make them pay.
I don’t see Ohio State running the ball well ever again this season, so they’ll have to defend and throw it. This should be the third 400-yard week in a row for Dwayne Haskins. Because of him — and the Buckeyes’ second-half defense — I’m taking Ohio State.
Ohio State 45, Purdue 27
I don’t think that this will be an easy game for Ohio State. I think they’ll get the win but there are critical problems with this Ohio State team that are going to be exposed once again this week. Purdue is very good offensively, and they’re going to test this depleted Ohio State defense.
The Buckeyes are the more talented team and Dwayne Haskins will save this team as usual. But Purdue has played good teams very tough and they can put points on the board. I’m expecting to see that same thing from the Boilermakers this weekend.
Ohio State 38, Purdue 24
I feel kind of icky this week. Maybe it’s too many peanut butter M&Ms or perhaps its the way the OSU defense stubbornly refuses to stop giving up big plays. Possibly it’s a combination of the two, but you’d better believe I’m not giving up my peanut butter M&Ms.
So the Buckeyes will just have to give up giving up big plays. I don’t know if they can do that and apparently Nick Bosa’s not walking through that door (at least not in uniform). If you play with fire, you’re going to get burned, as the saying goes, and it’s possible Ohio State is finally facing an offense that can do the burning. I hope I’m wrong.
Purdue 45, Ohio State 42
I know we all hope that this is the week that Ohio State changes their run game or defense but I just don’t believe it will happen. Offensively, we will still see the read option over and over. We will also still see a defensive end come unblocked and go straight for the running back. Defensively, we will still see the same struggles we have seen all year. Prepare yourself for it now. After the bye week, I think that is when we see some changes to the lineup and philosophy.
As bad as we all think Ohio State’s defense is, it will easily be the best one that Purdue has faced this season. Statistically speaking, the best defense Purdue has faced is Boston College (70 out of 130 in both Total Defense and Scoring Defense). For reference, Ohio State is ranked 58 and 24 in those categories.
I don’t think it will be quite as bad as everyone thinks but Purdue will break one or two long plays. I just feel like Ohio State will break a few more, especially through the air where Purdue has the 109th-ranked pass defense.
Ohio State 52, Purdue 27
Good ole Purdon’t. A team that’s trending in the right direction, they are tied for 2nd in the B1G West after all. But they are far from being in the discussion of the top teams in the B1G. They have a potent offense which has put up big numbers against sub-par opposition.
Rondale Moore is probably the B1G Freshman of the year. He’s fun to watch. He will probably have a big play or two from the slot this weekend. We all expect that. But I expect Ohio State’s defense to respond when needed and stop the Boilermakers. Maybe they’ll start taking steps to re-earn the “Silver Bullets” moniker? I’m not counting on it, but I expect improvement.
Ohio State’s offense can and will move the ball at-will this weekend. I expect to see them work on things they need to correct for November. There may even be a concentrated effort on running the ball. Still, expect 350 & 3 from Haskins before he’s shut down.
I’m going to go with the good guys, who give up almost 20 points per game.
Ohio State 52, Purdue 20.
Before going too much further…I hope I am wrong. I said as much on the latest episode of The Silver Bullets Podcast, with Michael Citro. That being said, the Ohio State defensive issues that have been there since game one against Oregon State might be exposed dramatically by a Purdue offense that is excellent at big plays on offense. They also have a very innovative offensive-minded coach in Jeff Brohm. Is Damon Arnette going to play? If not, the secondary is in an even more precarious situation.
Yes, Ohio State will move the ball on Purdue, and I am inclined to believe that Art Schlichter’s single-game passing record will fall on Saturday night in West Lafayette; let’s say Dwayne Haskins hits 470 yards passing. This game seems to be more like something that would be seen within the Big 12 than the B1G, and I believe the team that has the ball last is going to win. Again, I hope I’m wrong.
Purdue 49, Ohio State 42.
Ohio State and Purdue first played in 1919. It took the Boilermakers 19 years and six scoreless cracks at the Ohio State defense before they put up their first points in the series history.
The Buckeyes have shut out Purdue 13 times in 55 total meetings, including their last trip to West Lafayette in 2013.
That’s nearly a quarter of the series ending in Boilermaker shutouts.
I’m going to go way out on a limb and say that this weekend’s matchup will not end with another.
Ohio State 45, Purdue 35