Our managing editor Jerod will be closing out his four-week college football road trip, courtesy of La Quinta, this weekend in Columbus, Ohio where the Buckeyes host the Purdue Boilermakers.
Columbus is sure to be a fitting end to an incredible road trip of experiences for Jerod.
Lucky for us, Jerod has been kind enough to chronicle his stops with recaps and photo diaries here on MSF. Stay tuned after Saturday for another fantastic piece. I promise you’ll feel as if you experienced the journey yourself.
As for the game itself, let’s look at what to expect.
Purdue at Ohio State Preview
Looking at their records, one might not think Purdue has any chance at all in this game.
The Boilermakers are just 3-3, while the 7-0 Buckeyes have a Heisman Trophy hopeful and an offense that rips off big plays like no other Big Ten team.
Closer examination, however, will show you that not everything is as easy as looking at records.
Ohio State is coming off a narrow win against Indiana. The Buckeyes scored 52 against the Hoosiers, but their defense – a source of unrest for Urban Meyer and Buckeye fans this season – was throttled to the tune of 49 points and 481 yards. This is after allowing 38 points and 437 yards to Nebraska, totals that might have been much worse were it not for 4 Husker turnovers.
Also on the Buckeyes’ minds is the 26-23 overtime loss at Purdue a year ago.
Purdue put up 51 points per game in their 3 wins (against Eastern Kentucky, Eastern Michigan and Marshall), but just under 15 points per game in their 3 losses (Notre Dame, Michigan, Wisconsin). Obviously, the Boilermakers have struggled to perform against decent defenses.
The question surrounding this game is whether Ohio State, especially given their rash of injuries, can shut Purdue down.
What Purdue Must Do To Win
The fact of the matter is that Purdue will not be able to stop Braxton Miller and the Ohio State offense.
Instead, what the Boilermakers must do is force Miller to throw to win. He has proven capable of doing just that, but given the choice between being beaten by Miller’s arm or legs, Purdue must choose the arm.
Miller is much more likely to make mistakes through the air than on the ground, and it will take creating turnovers to give the Boilermakers any chance in the Horseshoe Saturday afternoon. If Purdue can get a couple of turnovers or big plays by the special teams, they may be able to stay in the game.
Offensively, Purdue has gotten very little out of their own passing game in recent weeks. Last week against Wisconsin, Purdue played three quarterbacks, each less effective than the one before.
It is expected that Caleb TerBush will start and play most of the game, but he has failed to impress against Big Ten-level defenses. In the three losses, TerBush is 31-60 passing with 264 yards, 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. Those numbers won’t cut it against Ohio State.
Akeem Shavers has been a disappointment running the ball, as well. He has run for 121 yards on 31 carries in the three losses.
Ohio State’s biggest weakness has been against the pass, so Purdue will have to create through the air before hoping to find daylight with Shavers and the running game.
What Ohio State Must Do To Win
Urban Meyer may end up retiring again due to heart problems if his defense doesn’t start stopping somebody.
I’m exaggerating, of course, but Ohio State can’t keep squeaking out games against inferior opponents on the strength of their high-powered offense. Just ask West Virginia how long you can get by like that.
If we’re looking at this honestly, Ohio State will win this game.
I think that this is the beginning of a stretch in which the Buckeyes can truly find out what they’re made of on defense. After Purdue, the Buckeyes play at Penn State (surprisingly decent) and home to Illinois (dreadful, especially on offense) before finishing at Wisconsin and home to Michigan.
The Buckeyes would love nothing more than to come out strong on defense against Purdue and carry some momentum into the final stretch. If they allow Purdue, whose struggles on offense I just documented, to put up big points and yards, it may be tough for them to come up with a solution or the confidence necessary to win those big games later on.
I think this game would be a nice opportunity for Ohio State to ease the load on Braxton Miller. He is clearly one of the best runners in the country, but running is the quickest way for a player of his style to get injured. Instead, I think they should try out some things in the passing game and seek to tune up their offense.
Look for wide receiver Devin Smith to continue his big-play onslaught this week.
As long as Ohio State doesn’t monumentally collapse, they will win this game. The only question is by how much and how they will look in the process.
Purdue vs. Ohio State Prediction
As I said, I think Ohio State wins this game.
I think that their defense will beat up on Purdue’s substandard offense, and Miller and company will have an easy afternoon, much like Wisconsin and Michigan have had the last two weeks.
Final Score: Ohio State 48 | Purdue 13
Purdue – Ohio State Game Info
- Purdue – Ohio State Date: Saturday, October 20, 2012
- Purdue – Ohio State Kickoff Time: 12:00 PM ET
- Purdue – Ohio State TV: ABC/ESPN
- Purdue – Ohio State Point Spread: Ohio State -18.5
- Purdue – Ohio State Over/Under: 62.5