Game Eight: Purdue Boilermakers
Head Coach: Danny Hope
Location: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH) 12pm EST, The Big Ten Network
Purdue Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. DL Ryan Kerrigan was not offered a scholarship by Ohio State, despite attending their summer camp. WR Justin Siller was also on Ohio State's recruiting radar for a time, but was not offered a scholarship by Ohio State.
Purdue's Offense Versus Ohio State's Defense: Ohio State's defense was pounded last week against Wisconsin, giving up 184 yards rushing. Purdue comes into this game averaging 202 yards per game, so it will be interesting to see what adjustments Ohio State has made for the Boilermakers.
Ohio State will be without senior LB Ross Homan and Star Christian Bryant for this game. Sophomore LB Jonathan Newsome will play in Homan's spot, and senior S Jermale Hines will play the Star position. Senior S Aaron Gant will probably play Hines' position while Bryant is out.
Purdue is without starting QB Robert Marve, RB Ralph Bolden, and WR Keith Smart this season, so it is not as though the Boilermakers have not had to overcome injury issues of their own. QB Rob Henry has been thrust into the role of a game manager, and has been playing well for Purdue so far in conference play as a complimentary player in Purdue's rushing attack.
Edge: Ohio State. Purdue has scaled back on its passing attack for Henry, and Ohio State will try to shut down Purdue's running game. More importantly, after Ohio State was physically dominated by Wisconsin, I look for Ohio State to come out with something to prove against Purdue on the defensive side of the ball.
Ohio State's Offense Versus Purdue's Defense: Ohio State has transitioned to using RB "Boom" Herron as its primary ball carrier, while deploying RB Brandon Saine as a receiver out of the backfield. QB Terrelle Pryor is still a threat to run the ball, but it seem as though Pryor will run when the Ohio State passing game requires him to do so, versus using designed quarterback runs.
Ohio State used the pistol and wildcat formations last week against Wisconsin, and it would not surprise me if Ohio State tried to establish its running game against Purdue, which is giving up nearly 125 yards per game on the ground. Purdue's secondary ranks near the bottom of the conference in pass defense, so a possible Ohio State strategy could be to establish a lead through its passing game, then control the clock in the second half with its running game.
Purdue DE Ryan Kerrigan had a tremendous game last year against Ohio State, continually harassing Terrelle Pryor. It will be interesting to see how OLT Mike Adams handles Kerrigan, or if Adams can handle Kerrigan.
Edge: Ohio State. Similar to Ohio State's defense, Ohio State will look to come out with something to prove against Purdue after last year's defeat by the Boilermakers. I am actually more concerned that Pryor may come out and try to do too much, rather than playing a level-headed game.
Prediction: Beware the wounded animal. Purdue handled Ohio State last season, Ohio State is coming off a humbling defeat by Wisconsin, and this is homecoming weekend at Ohio State.
I look for Ohio State ready to come out with revenge on their minds and a quest for redemption in the minds of the pollsters. This one could be over by halftime if Ohio State plays with the intensity that they displayed earlier this season. I am going to predict Ohio State 42, Purdue 7.