COLUMBUS – The death of The Ohio State football program has been greatly exaggerated.
OK, so the Buckeyes pounded Purdue 49-0 Saturday at Ohio Stadium.
But this is a Boilermaker team that fell to Toledo, 31-20 earlier this season. Any Buckeye fan remembers what happened last season in West Lafayette – a 26-18 OSU loss. Any OSU fan knows what happened Oct. 16 – a 31-18 loss to Wisconsin in Madison.
In other words, there are no gimmies this season.
OSU, though, rebounded in a big way against Purdue. They dominated the Boilermakers from the start and are still in a position to challenge for the Big Ten crown.
Unlike the game against Wisconsin, there were more more positives for OSU against Purdue:
OSU wanted to establish its straight ahead rushing attack. The first drive – five straight Dan Herron runs, the last one for a touchdown, The Buckeyes ran for 184 yards and quarterback Terrelle Pryor didn't lead the way. In fact, he had minus 2 yards on the day.
The Buckeyes were proficient in the passing game. Pryor went 16-of-22 for 270 yards. Eleven different players caught passes from Pryor and back-ups Joe Bauserman and Kenny Guiton.
The special teams didn't give up a touchdown on either a kickoff or punt return.
The much-maligned defense against Wisconsin limited Purdue to 118 yards. The Buckeyes matched up better with Purdue's zone-read offense in which the quarterback is a big factor running the ball. Quarterback Rob Henry gained just 26 yards, before leaving the game in the second half.
The Buckeyes are dealing with injuries (not like Purdue, though), but linebacker Andrew Sweat led the way in tackles at eight and safety Aaron Gant was second with six. Those are two players fans are accustomed to see leading the team in tackles.
Pryor's two interceptions brought his season total to six.
OSU may have lost another defensive back Corey Brown went down with a knee injury late in the game. Coach Jim Tressel didn't seem real optimistic about the injury in the postgame press conference.