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October 10, 2007

Heacock's blitzes key to stopping Purdue

Jim Heacock, Defensive Coordinator, Ohio State

Ohio State's new-look defense gave the scoreboard at Purdue's Ross-Ade Stadium a new look.

The scoreboard operator didn't need to change the Boilermakers' side for 59 minutes, 50 seconds before a last-ditch touchdown from the Purdue offense.

By then, Ohio State proved its mettle by silencing one of the nation's most powerful offenses and one of its most productive receivers.

After the Buckeyes shut out Purdue for all but 10 seconds and held the Boilermakers to a season-low 272 total yards, Rivals.com has named Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Heacock its National Coordinator of the Week.

"I didn't think that their offense had seen a defense like ours," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said after the game.

Ohio State was without end Vernon Gholston for most of the game and tackle Todd Denlinger missed the entire contest. Heacock used a 3-3-5 look early against the Boilermakers, blitzing linebackers James Laurinaitis, Marcus Freeman and Larry Grant. The change held Purdue to 80 yards in the first half. Before Purdue's only scoring drive of the day, the Boilermakers had only 184 yards.

"We had a lot of injuries as we went through the week, so it was a little bit frustrating," Heacock told BuckeyeGrove.com. "But we've been playing six or eight guys all year, so we expect injuries, and if one guy goes down the next guy has to be ready to step up."

Regardless of injuries to the line, the blitzing linebackers helped throw quarterback Curtis Painter, who had rarely been pressured, off his game.

Just as impressive, Ohio State neutralized one of the Big Ten's top offensive threats. Wide receiver Dorien Bryant had trouble staying out of the red. He finished the evening with two receptions for minus-4 yards, one rush for minus-2 yards and one punt return for minus-4 yards. Only 61 yards on kickoff returns kept Bryant on the positive side of the stat sheet.

The victory also helped Ohio State pass LSU as the nation's top total defense statistically. As good as the Ohio State defense was against Purdue, 10 seconds separated it from a total victory.

"I'd be lying if I wasn't upset we didn't put up the big zero," Laurinaitis said. "Overall, to control that offense, you know you've done something OK."

OTHER NOMINEES FOR COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK:

Tyrone Nix, South Carolina
The Gamecocks frustrated Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson and became the first team to hold the Wildcats to fewer than 400 yards in a 38-23 win.


David Cutcliffe, Tennessee
The Volunteers' offense jumped on Georgia early, and Tennessee led 28-0 at halftime of a 35-14 victory.


Matt Eberflus, Missouri
The Tigers held Nebraska without a touchdown for the first time since 2004 in a 41-6 rout.


Scott Shafer, Stanford
USC put up 459 yards on the Cardinal, but Stanford made the big plays with four interceptions and a fumble recovery in a 24-23 stunner in Los Angeles.




Chase Daniel
Quarterback
Missouri


Missouri may have erased any big-game jitters with a dominating effort against Nebraska. Daniel, who struggled in his first start against the Huskers last year, was named Rivals.com's National Player of the Week with his effort against Nebraska.

Daniel was 33-of-47 for 401 yards and two touchdowns. He also was Missouri's leading rusher, with 72 yards (and two TDs) on 11 carries.

OTHER NOMINEES:

LB Maurice Crum, Notre Dame
Crum led the Irish to their first win of the season with two fumble recoveries (one for a touchdown), two interceptions, two pass breakups, a forced fumble and a sack in a 20-6 win over UCLA.


DE Eric Norwood, South Carolina
He was in the right place at the right time with two fumbles returned for touchdowns in a 38-23 win over Kentucky.


RB Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois
He showed Illinois is more than a bunch of hot-shot underclassmen with 160 yards and three total touchdowns in a 31-26 win over Wisconsin.


QB C.J. Bacher, Northwestern
Bacher came out on top in a shootout with Michigan State, going 38 of 48 for a school-record 520 yards and five touchdowns in a 48-41 win in overtime against the Spartans.



Sam Bradford
Quarterback
Oklahoma


Bradford, a redshirt freshman, shook off the Sooners' first loss of the season with a superb performance against Texas. He was 21 of 32 for 244 yards and three touchdowns in the win. Each of his TD passes gave the Sooners the lead.

OTHER NOMINEES:

RB DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
Murray ran for 128 yards and a touchdown against Texas.


WR Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech
Crabtree had three scores two on receptions, one on a run in a 42-17 win over Iowa State. He already has 17 touchdown catches, which is a freshman record.


TB Anthony Elzy, North Carolina
Elzy helped Butch Davis beat his former team with 95 rushing yards and a touchdown and 39 receiving yards in a 33-27 upset of Miami.


TB Ryan Mathews, Fresno State
Mathews ran for 171 yards and three touchdowns in Fresno State's 49-41 win over Nevada. His scoring runs covered 3, 54 and 67 yards.



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