West Lafayette, Indiana- Believe it or not, one of the scariest things for Buckeye fans is heading to Northwest Indiana in mid-October, undefeated, on a unique game for the Boilermakers. And while I may not be superstitious, I am brave enough to admit I am a little-stitious, wondering if the Buckeyes could again avoid embarrassment.
Luckily, Bucks head coach Ryan Day doesn’t believe in all that mojo nonsense. He didn’t care that every head coach from Columbus in this century has lost at least one game at Purdue, nor did he care that it was another “Hammer Down Cancer” game. The Buckeyes had to do without receiver Emeka Egbuka and running back TreVeyon Henderson as well. None of that mattered as Ohio State cruised to victory 41-7.
Ohio State would start the game on defense and appeared to be off to the typical slow start as Purdue marched down the field. Luckily, the Boilermakers missed their field goal attempt. From there, it was off to the races for the Ohio State offense.
The Buckeyes’ offense would go on to score 20 unanswered points in the first half and 34 throughout the game. Quarterback Kyle McCord threw two touchdown passes while backup QB Devin Brown would walk one in himself. On the other side of the ball, Purdue was hopeless as they missed two field goal attempts on bookending drives of the half, while the rest of the drives in the first half resulted in punts.
The second half saw much of the same, as the Buckeyes continued to score in bunches, adding 21 points while holding the Boilers to one touchdown for the entire game. Both McCord and Brown threw for touchdowns in the second half while the backup’s backup’s backup running back, Dallan Hayden, waltzed in for his first career touchdown as a Buckeye.
The game would end with the Buckeyes dominating throughout all phases of the game. The defense continues to impress, and the offense is getting closer to being complete, but most importantly, Ryan Day was fired up the entire game. If Ohio State is to compete with Penn State and, later in the season, Michigan, they’ll need every ounce of energy they can muster.
The focus has been so great on the offense that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has been building something special right under everyone’s noses. This defense has survived a scare against a tough Notre Dame team and two potential trap games, and through it all, the Silver Bullets have looked solid nearly every snap. No opponent this season has scored more than 17 points against the Bucks. Knowles’ defense has given up a total of 58 points combined, which averages out to less than ten points per game. This statistic alone means that Ryan Day and quarterback Kyle McCord have much less to worry about. The Buckeyes’ defensive dominance allows the offense to get healthy while McCord continues to develop. Injuries have hindered the Buckeye ground attack, but one thing is sure: they have depth. Dallan Hayden is no longer buried in the depth chart; instead, he may be the next stud running back in Day’s stable. Once everything starts firing on all cylinders, this team will be nearly impossible to beat.
The Boilermakers look like a work in progress; they are a far cry from the former division champs that faced Michigan in Indianapolis last season for the Big Ten Conference Championship. The departure of former head coach Jeff Brohm was a real setback. The fact that Brohm took quarterback Jack Plummer with him to Louisville while seven others also transferred out paints a clear picture of transition. Either way, new head coach Ryan Walters has inherited a program expecting to progress and yet appears to have fallen right back into the bottom of their respective pack. It will take time, and this dismantling didn’t help anyone’s confidence in West Lafayette.
(3) Ohio State 6-0 (3-0) will host in-division rivals (7) Penn State 6-0 (3-0) Saturday 10/21 at Noon, Eastern.
Purdue 2-4 (1-3) will go on a bye week as they prepare for Nebraska on 10/28.
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)