After surviving on the road against Nebraska, the Buckeyes are back in the friendly confines of Ohio Stadium on Saturday afternoon as they will host a red hot Purdue team that now finds itself in the Top 20 of the latest College Football Playoff Rankings.
Purdue has already notched a pair of top five upset wins this season, taking down Iowa and Michigan State respectively. The Boilermakers also have a long history of playing spoiler against Ohio State, though much of that has come in West Lafayette. Will Purdue spoil another season for the Buckeyes or will Ohio State come out and take care of business at home as a three-touchdown favorite?
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Ohio State faces another quality opponent in Purdue after coming off a mistake-filled performance against Nebraska. Advanced statistical rankings largely view Nebraska and Purdue as equivalent teams (in F/+ (Nebraska is 24, Purdue is 34). The advanced statistical rankings SP+ and FEI–which make up F/+–disagree on Purdue, with SP+ ranking Purdue 43, while FEI has the Boilermakers). Like Nebraska and Penn State–and Michigan and Michigan State–Purdue is a better defense than offensive team.
The Boilermaker defensive front, led by George Karlaftis, will again present a challenge for Ohio State. Given the recent struggles, expect more slanting and stunting up front to cause confusion and prevent the Buckeye offensive linemen from getting to the second level. The Buckeyes should be prepared for those looks at this point, and need to stay on their zone tracks and get vertical. Ryan Day needs to also continue to mix in counter trey and RPOs to vary looks and prevent teams from overplaying Ohio State’s zone runs based on tight end alignment. Garrett Wilson’s return should put the Buckeyes in a better position to create explosive plays. And look for Day to continue to look for opportunities to push the football downfield.
On defense, the Buckeyes will be tested by David Bell and Purdue’s passing game. Look for Matt Barnes to continue to vary looks with cover 4 Man, cover 3 pressures, and cover 1 to generate pressure and protect Ohio State’s safeties.
Ohio State 37 Purdue 22
This feels like it’s as simple as contain David Bell and you can’t lose. Purdue has other talented receivers but they don’t put up the same kind of numbers that Bell does. We know they can’t run the ball, and even if Bell goes off, what does that mean in terms of total points for Purdue? The Ohio State secondary needs to harden up the soft middle. Purdue has a solid defense but it’s time for Ohio State to get back to being the nation’s best offense. That starts with playing a clean game and simply getting plays off without penalties. If they can do that, the skill and scheme will take care of the rest. And so will the Buckeye pass rush.
Ohio State 41, Purdue 24
I thought the Ohio State line was fishy last week against Nebraska and Vegas had it nailed again. This week’s is equally puzzling, but in the opposite direction as it doesn’t feel like Ohio State should be a three touchdown favorite given the way these two teams have played the last few weeks.
Purdue’s offense is going to challenge the Ohio State secondary as David Bell is one of the nation’s best receivers. But I have questions about whether or not the Purdue defense will be able to slow down the Buckeyes. Yes, Ohio State has had its issues in the red zone the past two weeks, but that has undoubtedly been an area of heavy scrutiny by the coaching staff this week. Purdue’s history of spoiling Ohio State’s season has generally come in West Lafayette. The Buckeyes should have Garrett Wilson back, a home crowd behind them, and the motivation to clean up some of the mistakes of the past two weeks. While the line is begging for action on Purdue and has made me rethink my score prediction a time or two, I’m still taking Purdue to cover, but the Buckeyes to win fairly comfortably.
Ohio State 41 Purdue 24
I love the spot Ohio State is in for this game. Purdue is coming off a big upset win where they exhausted a lot of energy in knocking off Michigan State. Ohio State is coming off two lackluster performances, especially on the offensive side of the ball, which is Ryan Day’s baby. This game absolutely screams “Ohio State is going to smoke out Purdue” to me.
But I am a bit hesitant to go all in there. I think Purdue’s scheme and passing attack are a good match-up against an Ohio State back seven that is mediocre against the air attack, especially in the middle of the field. I also think Purdue has a stout defensive line, led by George Karlaftis, that could continue to give the Buckeyes some trouble in the ground game again.
Adding everything up, I think that while the OSU defense may struggle a bit more than they have in a while, the offense is going to get back on track. I’ve heard Ryan Day believes he “found a fix” for the run game, and I think the Ohio State passing game will be on point with a re-found running game. Purdue is feisty, but they are not sneaking up on anyone here and they just don’t have anywhere near the talent that the Buckeyes do. Give me the Buckeyes in a game where the offense carries them, but the defense is frustrating throughout the contest
Ohio State 52 Purdue 27
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I think everyone is seeing this as a closer game then it will end up being. I think Purdue had a huge win last weekend—but in the Horseshoe? I think they return to form and the Buckeyes roll big. I’ve got the running game going wild and the defense getting enough stops to make this one very comfortable. Ohio State 45-17 in a laugher.
Ohio State 45 Purdue 17
I thought the Ohio State offense might show more life against Nebraska and it did not, not going to fall into that trap this week, but I do expect to see a return tom some basics as the offense will not bog down as much in the red zone as it has in the previous eight quarters of football.
Ohio State is not going to shut down Purdue, let’s just get that out there right now. Even in Purdue’s worst games, the Boilers were able to score 13 points, so that is where I am going to draw the baseline and work my way up.
David Bell plays his best football in the biggest of games and this Ohio State game is right there with the Iowa and Michigan State games and while Bell has not broken through for multiple scores in either of those games, he will be a frequent target of the Purdue quarterback(s) and will keep the chains moving.
On the other side, I like Ohio State to find success running the ball, maybe not to the same level that we saw against earlier Big Ten opponents, but Ohio State will not be held under 100-yards as the Buckeyes will diversify its running game in terms of scheme and carries.
With that all being said, I don’t see things suddenly being completely righted and there will be some moments where Ohio State bogs down on offense and is not able to shut down the Purdue passing game on defense. Purdue will rush for less than 50 yards but will throw for more than 300. It is just going to come down to how Ohio State bends and if it does not break.
There will be some bending but no breaking as Ohio State wins but does not cover.
Ohio State 34 Purdue 21
Ohio State’s defense should have no issue turning Purdue’s offense
one-dimensional. The Boilermakers have more or less done that to
themselves all fall. But stopping the Purdue passing attack, and star
wide receiver David Bell in particular, will not be easy. OSU gave up
two long pass plays to a far less talented Nebraska passing attack a
week ago, and allowed a pair of Penn State receivers to pick up more
than 100 yards of receptions the week before that.
This is the first of what promises to be a brutal four-week closing
stretch for OSU, and a single slip-up could cost them a shot at the
national title. It won’t be pretty, but Ryan Day won’t necessarily
care. He and the Buckeyes are in “Just Win, Baby” territory from here
Ohio State 38 Purdue 24
Count me in as one of the concerned group for this game versus Purdue. Yes, I know that Purdue has usually performed their heartbreaking routines to Ohio State in West Lafayette, but I was in the stands in 2003 when Ohio State needed overtime to defeat Purdue. The 2012 game that made Kenny Guiton a Buckeye legend is also on my mind.
Expect Purdue to be able to move the ball, even though this Ohio State defense has improved dramatically since the season began. Two things I hope that Ohio State will do are 1) double cover Purdue WR David Bell, as he is the primary offensive weapon for the Boilermakers, and 2) that the Buckeyes call upon the historical Bill Belichick game plan that was used by the Giants to defeat the Bills, way back in Super Bowl XXV.
David Bell leads the Boilermakers with 64 receptions, and their next leading receiver is Milton Wright, who has 36 receptions. As I wrote up above, Purdue is going to move the ball, but I can only hope that the Buckeyes are going to double-team Bell.
The Belichick game plan is more of a call to play almost a dime defense, letting Purdue get their short pass plays in between the 30 yard lines, but it gets much more difficult to complete passes when you get closer to the end zone. Any kind of pass rush on Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell will be a bonus, as O’Connell seems to get rid of the ball very quickly.
Here is to hoping that Ohio State also uses their running game to burn clock, and keep the Purdue offense on the sideline. It could be nerve-wracking, but I have it Ohio State 38, Purdue 28
STEAMBOAT DRY GOODS PICK OF THE WEEK
Each week our members will have an opportunity to win a gift set from our friends at Steamboat Dry Goods for getting the closest to picking the score of the Ohio State game.
In case of a tie, there will be a tie-breaker each week. This week’s tie-breaker: How many CARRIES will TreVeyon Henderson have on Saturday against Purdue?