#11/12 Ohio State v. Purdue

#11/12 Ohio State v. Purdue
Purdue

#11/12 Ohio State v. Purdue 

Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Kickoff: 3:30pm
TV: ABC        

12 years ago Purdue head football coach Joe Tiller brought pizzazz and excitement to an otherwise slow, plodding, three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust Big Ten.  Since Tiller installed the spread offense, Purdue has been at or near the top of the conference offensive statistics.  A 2-3 record was certainly not the way the Boilermakers wanted to start out the season but the urgency for wins makes them a dangerous opponent.  Coach Tiller will be retiring at the end of the season which makes the urgency even greater.  The Buckeyes are coming off a come from behind win at Wisconsin.  The Buckeyes overall seem to still be searching for an identity or a spark or both.  With the Terrelle Pryor / Beanie Wells combo starting to gel, that explosion might just be a game away.

By Pete Quint

OSU “O”

Purdue will have the unceremonious task of trying to stop both Pryor and Wells.  With the Pryor / Wells duo meshing, Purdue’s best chance to win is to load the box against the run and dare Pryor to throw the ball hoping the young quarterback makes a bunch of mistakes.  Linebacker Anthony Heygood leads the Boilermakers in tackles but the next three behind him are all defensive backs.  The Purdue defense has given up 980 yards rushing in five games (196 ypg) which plays right into the Buckeye scheme.  Pryor is averaging only 10.8 passes per game so there’s a lot we have yet to see from the freshman.  Pryor has been good about getting the tight ends in the game but more production from the wide receivers is a necessity.  Brian Robiskie is starting to wake up from hibernation so look for him to make a statement this weekend.

OSU “D”

Purdue and quarterback Curtis Painter have the top ranked passing offense in the Big Ten but struggled against a hard hitting Penn State defense.  The Buckeyes and cornerback Malcolm Jenkins have the conferences top-rated pass defense but gave up big passing plays against OU, Troy and USC.  Purdue will move the ball through the air for certain but the key to the Boilermaker game plan will be the ability to run the ball.  Running back Korey Sheets is a tough ball-carrier with incredible speed.  Sheets has racked up 509 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground so far this season while catching the ball for another 139 yards.  Wide receivers Desmond Tardy and Greg Orton combine for nearly half of Painters passes but only have a total of three touchdowns in 2008.  The Buckeyes don’t give up too many rushing touchdowns so if the Boilermakers are going to be victorious they must be able to grind it out on the ground and score through the air.

Summary

Purdue is chock full of seniors and they want to send Tiller out in style.  The Big Ten title is out of reach but a win in a bowl game would make Tillers swan song sweet.  The Buckeyes are 5-1 and still looking for some answers on both sides of the ball.  Terrelle Pryor and Beanie Wells seem to have solidified the offense but the receivers are still in question while the defense is desperately looking for a pass rush.  While the contest poses some interesting match-ups, the Buckeyes are still vastly more talented and deep at every position.  Purdue might make it a game for awhile but if the Buckeyes, players and coaches, get the killer instinct to out this one to bed early, it should be a blow out.

Prediction: OSU 42 – Purdue 9

Why OSU will win:  Beanie left.  Pryor right.  Beanie up the middle.  Pryor draw.  Game over.

Why OSU will lose:  Purdue loads the box to stop the run and dares Pryor to throw the ball.  If Purdue can keep up with OSU’s wide receivers this might be a game.

Fun stats of the game:

-Last week Korey Sheets surpassed former Boilermaker Mike Alstott’s all-time touchdown mark (45).
-Painter has five touchdowns and five interceptions for the season.
-Sheets has a nine game streak of scoring at least one touchdown per game.
-Purdue hasn’t beaten the Buckeyes in Columbus since 1988. 

Purdue players to watch:
Senior RB #24 Kory Sheets
Senior QB #12 Curtis Painter
Senior WR #21 Greg Orton
Senior WR #6 Desmond Tardy
Senior LB #42 Anthony Heygood

BrutusReport.com
Tags: Buckeyes Football NCAA Ohio State
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