Head Coach: Danny Hope 2008 Record:
4-8 - Big Ten Location:
W. Lafayette (IN)
Kickoff: 12 p.m. EDT Television: Big Ten Network Location: Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500)
When Purdue has the ball...
Rushing Defense: 89.17 Ypg. (12th)
Passing Defense: 182.67 Ypg. (30th)
Scoring Defense: 12.0 Ppg. (7th)
Rushing Offense: 145.17 Ypg. (64th)
Passing Offense: 265.0 Ypg. (22nd)
Scoring Offense: 28.5 Ppg. (55th)
Ohio State Defensive Backs
Purdue Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
The Ohio State secondary has done a great job to date going against teams and the Buckeyes are 3rd in the league in pass defense. Chimdi Chekwa has developed into a lockdown cornerback and even though he remains humble it appears that opponents are starting to take notice. Couple that with the safety play of Kurt Coleman and Jermale Hines and the Buckeye defense is strong from top to bottom and will only get better, ever going against a Purdue team that puts up 410 YPG.
In two conference games the Purdue passing offense leads the Big Ten with more than 310 yards per game and a league tying five touchdowns via the air. Joey Elliott has been in the program for five years now and has a handle on the old schemes and new ones and his personnel. The receivers may be a little bit of a weakness on name recognition but Aaron Valentin has been in the program just as long and tight end Kyle Adams is a big target to be mindful of.
Ohio State Linebackers
Purdue Running Backs
Ross Homan is coming off of his best game in an Ohio State uniform and that should be expected going against a run happy team like Wisconsin. Brian Rolle andAustin Spitler did just fine as well in a game where the defense was out on the field for nearly a 3-1 clip over the offense. Now the linebackers are going to have to do a lot more in pass support with Purdue not having the running tendencies of the Badgers. All things considered this could be another big day for the Backers but just in a different way with more of a passing team.
Quick, who is the No. 2 rusher in the Big Ten conference? It is Ralph Bolden of the Boilermakers with 599 yards on 115 carries. The rest of the team however has 75 carries between them. Bolden has the ability to break the long once with a 78-yarder already on the resume this season but will he be enough to concern the Buckeyes, a team that has faced the likes of Wisconsin and USC to date and even the triple option of Navy.
Ohio State Defensive Line
Purdue Offensive Line
The Ohio State defensive line continues to be the strength of the team, not only the defense. When you have second teamers like Nathan Williams, John Simon and Rob Rose just to name a few making significant plays, it just shows how deep a team can be. All of the talk of the second team is not meant to overshadow what in this writer's opinion is the best defensive line in the nation and expect the likes of Thad Gibson and Cameron Heyward to feast.
Purdue doesn't have a bad offensive line but they just haven't gone against a line like the one that Ohio State will be bringing into town this week. The front five will have three fifth year seniors including Jared Zwilling, Zach Reckman and Zach Jones but this could be a long day. It could be a long day as the Buckeyes look to unleash the hounds to see what Elliott can do under pressure.
When Ohio State has the ball...
Rushing Offense: 172.17 Ypg. (42nd)
Passing Offense: 166.17 Ypg. (108th)
Scoring Offense: 29.67 Ppg. (46th)
Rushing Defense: 167.33 Ypg. (87th)
Passing Defense: 212.33 Ypg. (57th)
Scoring Defense: 30.5 Ppg. (99th)
Ohio State Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
Purdue Defensive Backs
There is no nice way to put this one. Last week the Ohio State offense, as a whole, looked terrible. The passing game was just not there with Terrelle Pryor not even close on several of his passes and the Ohio State receivers seeming to not be on the same page as the signal caller. That possibly couldn't happen again, could it? Don't expect Purdue to just hand the Buckeyes the key to the Cadillac by any means but this week there will have to be some sort of improvement.
Neither Big Ten opponent to date have gone off for big numbers against the Boilers and that has to be a good sign. The bad sign is that the team still went 0-2 in that stretch. Defensive back Torri Williams is a rare sixth year senior and is a leader out in the secondary, a unit that is comprised totally of senior players. They won't give the Buckeyes much but will they be able to step up in run support because you know the Buckeyes are going to try and run to set up any passing game.
Ohio State Running Backs
The Buckeyes will have Brandon Saine, Jordan Hall and Jermil Martin at running back this weekend due to injuries. Don't forget that Terrelle Pryor can run the ball as well. The running game wasn't a whole lot better than the passing game last week but the Buckeyes are going to be able to scheme a little bit better this week and while it won't be any sort of pageant beauty out there, the Buckeyes will get it done on the ground.
Purdue ranks 10th in the league in run defense and the team has not gone against many of the national stalwarts in that department. Purdue is going to have to make an effort to try and take away as much of the run as possible and tell the Buckeyes that Pryor is going to have to beat them through the air. The problem is even if the team is able to account for the running backs, will they be able to spy Pryor well enough to keep him out of the second and third levels.
Will the flu be gone or at least minimized enough for the offensive line to play a little bit more cohesive this time around? The OL does have an advantage that it hasn't had for years and that is the ability to move players in and out and not be forced to try and fill five spots with five or six players. Michael Brewster is the key in the middle making the line calls and should be able along with the interior line to create enough push to open up some holes between the tackles. Will pass pro be where it needs to be though?
Purdue has some serious weight on the inside of its line with two 300-pounders at defensive tackle and they will look to go after the middle of the aforementioned Buckeye line. Junior Ryan Kerrigan has been one of the better performers on the line coming off of the defensive end position. Purdue hasn't racked up a lot of sacks to date but they are capable of going off if teams don't respect their abilities.
Special teams matchups...
Net Punting: 38.29 Avg. (21st)
Punt Returns: 4.59 Yds/Ret (102nd)
Kickoff Returns: 28.18 Avg. (8th)
Field Goals: 79% 11-14
Net Punting: 34.21 Avg. (85th)
Punt Returns: 10.5 Yds/Ret (46th)
Kickoff Returns: 19.44 Avg. (96th)
Field Goals: 67% 4-6
Ohio State Special Teams
Purdue Special Teams
Ray Small finally found the end zone... but it was a kickoff return rather than a punt return. Either way the Buckeyes will take it, especially in a game that the offense could only muster up one offensive touchdown. Flash Thomas has been close a couple of times as well into breaking free and the Buckeyes will look to keep great field position in this game.
Purdue hasn't really put up anything concrete in the special teams numbers as of late but as we all know that means little. Former running back Jaycen Taylor is about as dangerous of a return man as anyone will want to face. Purdue is going to have to do a better job in the net punt game however to try and prevent opponents from having short fields to work with.