#11/12 Ohio State
Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
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
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.
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.
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 –
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
-Last week Korey Sheets surpassed former Boilermaker Mike
Alstott’s all-time touchdown mark (45).
-Painter has five touchdowns and five interceptions for the
-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
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