Countdown To THE GAME 2015

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Purdue Boils OSU's Division Title Chances In Overtime, 26-23

Having lost at West Lafayette in 2009, it would be only natural for Ohio State not to overlook Purdue heading into this contest. Numerous penalties, a repeatedly stalling offense, and missed turnover opportunities led to Purdue defeating Ohio State, 26-23. This game will have severe ramifications for Ohio State's quest to win the Leaders Division, and Luke Fickell's chances of a long-term coaching contract with the Buckeyes.

In an ominous beginning for this contest, the opening kickoff for Ohio State bounced off Carlos Hyde's facemask. Ohio State had two straight Boom Herron runs, before Ohio State attempted its first pass of the game. Braxton Miller's pass, intended for T.Y. Williams, was deflected and nearly caught by Jake Stoneburner. Ohio State punted on its first three and out offensive series.

Purdue's first offensive series was a mix of runs and passes that allowed the Boilermakers to move into Ohio State territory. A big pass break-up by Ohio State's Brad Roby allowed Ohio State to force Purdue to attempt a field goal. Purdue led early, 3-0.

On its second possession, Ohio State stumbled again, with Boom Herron and Braxton Miller losing yardage on back to back plays. Ohio State's Braxton Miller, in what would be a recurring theme in this contest, was sacked while scrambling, forcing another Ohio State punt.

Purdue again moved down the field, mixing big plays by O.J. Ross, Gary Bush, and Akeem Shavers to extend the Purdue lead to 10-0, with a little over four minutes remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State was behind 10-0 last week against Indiana, and it seemed that against Purdue Ohio State was digging itself a big hole that the offensive unit may not be able to get out of in this contest.

As the second quarter began, Ohio State was in desperate need to get points on the scoreboard. A key Braxton Miller play was a sidestep of a Purdue sack, allowing Miller to find Boom Herron for a 19 yard reception. On this drive, Braxton Miller was able to find Jordan Hall across the middle of the field for a touchdown reception, getting Ohio State on the board to make it Purdue 10, Ohio State 7.Purdue substituted backup quarterback Robert Marve into the contest late in the second quarter, and Marve was able to move Purdue down the field before the half concluded. A critical play on this drive was a roughing the passer penalty on Ohio State's Johnathan Hankins that set Purdue deep into Ohio State territory. After a first and goal at the Ohio State 7 yard line, Purdue's Ralph Bolden ran the ball into the end zone to give Purdue a 17-7 lead.

Ohio State attempted a field goal as the clock expired for the first half, but were unable to connect. At the half, Ohio State's rushing offense had only gained 18 yards. Making the matter worse was the loss of senior linebackerAndrew Sweat, who sustained a concussion and did not return in the second half.

As the third quarter began, Ohio State's defense forced a three and out by Purdue, setting up the offense with an opportunity to get the team back into the game. Jordan Hall had a big run out of the wildcat formation on his first play from scrimmage in the second half, while Carlos Hyde had a sweep to the outside, seemingly getting the Ohio State running game moving. On a blown option play, Braxton Miller kept the ball himself into the end zone, and Purdue's lead was cut to 17-14.

On the next Purdue series, Purdue's Caleb TerBush was nearly intercepted by C.J. Barnett, one of many opportunities Ohio State's defense was unable to force a turnover. On the same drive, Ryan Shazier forced a Purdue fumble, but was unable to recover. Purdue was forced to punt, and Ohio State had a golden opportunity to tie, or possibly take the lead.

Ohio State's next offensive series was a mixture of penalties and overthrown passes by Braxton Miller. Ohio State blew another opportunity to take advantage of having the strong wind at its back during the third quarter.

Ohio State nearly forced a Purdue turnover on the next series, as Ryan Shazier stripped a Purdue receiver, recovering the fumble. Unfortunately, the review showed the receiver's knee was down, and Purdue retained possession. Even more costly, Ryan Shazier incurred a roughing the passer call on Robert Marve, helping Purdue to drive deep into Ohio State territory. Purdue was unable to drive into scoring position, with Ohio State having dodged a bullet when Purdue's Gabe Holmes was penalized for an ineligible player downfield call. Purdue did not score, but were able to pin Ohio State deep in their territory with a punt that set up the Buckeyes on their own six yard line.

Trying to get out of the shadow of their own end zone, Ohio State simply ran the ball, content to punt the ball back to Purdue. Purdue, using the strong and accurate leg of Carson Wiggs, hit a 44 yard field goal to extend the lead to 20-14.

As the fourth quarter proceeded, Ohio State used a mix of designed Braxton Miller quarterback runs and a T.Y. Williams' reception to move the ball. Ohio State was unable to maintain the drive, punting the ball back to Purdue with over seven minutes on the clock remaining.

Ohio State's defense rose to the challenge of stopping Wisconsin. Another injury claimed Johnathan Hankins on this drive, but Ohio State used another big Brad Roby play on a Purdue third down to force a punt. Ohio State reclaimed possession with only 6:15 left.

Using the running of Boom Herron, Ohio State slowly drove into Purdue territory. On a puzzling decision, Ohio State used Jordan Hall on a critical 3rd and 1 - why the coaching staff did not use either Boom Herron or Carlos Hyde for such a critical yard seemed surprising. Ohio State converted the third down, but again the offense bogged down on the drive.

After an illegal formation penalty, Ohio State faced a 4th and 3. Braxton Miller, in a play somewhat similar to his winning pass versus Wisconsin, scrambled and found Jordan Hall for a touchdown reception to tie the game at 20 with under a minute left in the contest.

On the very next play, Purdue blocked Ohio State's PAT, keeping the score knotted at 20. With the wind at their back, and dependable Carson Wiggs on their team, all the Boilermakers needed was to get into field goal range, and the game would be won.

While moving into field goal range, Purdue's Robert Marve threw deep down the sideline. Ohio State's Orhian Johnson, playing deep, intercepted the pass to preserve the tie and force overtime.

Purdue won the coin toss for overtime, deferring until the second possession. Ohio State sluggishly moved on offense again, losing yards on another Braxton Miller sack. Miller was able to find T.Y. Williams on a key third down pass, but Ohio State was unable to come up with a first down on the series. Ohio State settled for a field goal in overtime, taking a 23-20 lead.

Knowing a field goal would tie the game, Purdue began moving downfield in their opening overtime possession. Robert Marve made two critical third down plays in the period that ultimately made the difference in the contest. On 3rd and 4, Marve scrambled for a first down near the sideline to keep the Purdue drive alive. Later in the series, Marve found Gary Bush for a 14 yard gain on 3rd and 12 that set Purdue up with a first and goal at the Ohio State 1 yard line. On its next play, Marve sneaked the ball over for the winning touchdown, to make the final Purdue 26, Ohio State 23.

For the second straight week, Ohio State came out sluggish against an opponent that was supposedly not as talented. What makes this loss even more galling was the news that Nebraska had defeated Penn State, as the Buckeyes blew an opportunity to pull up within a game of the division-leading Nittany Lions.

Can Ohio State still win the division, as it seems that Wisconsin is now in the clear driver's seat for the title? Did Luke Fickell blow his chances for the long-term head coaching job with this loss? Needless to say, the second straight loss at West Lafayette will only leave Ohio State fans wondering how the remainder of the 2011season will play out for the Buckeyes.


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