and Gray continue their ascension up the polls, this time to the #3 spot.
Andrew Good, a junior from Boardman, Ohio, actually got to handle the opening kickoff for Ohio State and responded by drilling it into the endzone. Greg Orton converted a 3rd-and-8 situation with a 9-yard reception from Curtis Painter to get Purdue going, then the two teamed up for a 7-yard advance two plays later to move the chains once more. But a false start on tackle Zach Jones helped to fizzle the march and the Bucks gained possession at their own 13-yard line.
A 9-yard catch by Brian Robiskie produced OSU’s initial first down of the night, but a dead-ball personal foul call on guard Steve Rehring looked as if it would bog the drive down. Purdue gave the gift right back as corner Royce Adams was called for interference against Brian Hartline, giving the Bucks a first down at their 35. Chris Wells broke off a draw play for 13, but had to leave as once again the injured ankle was tweaked. If Brandon Saine is fully back to health, it might do Jim Tressel some good to let C-Dub take the Kent State game off. Wells’ ankle is getting too reminiscent of Maurice Clarett’s shoulder in 2002- it could go at any time and the only thing that’s going to help at this point is rest.
up Robo for 18 and hooking up with Small for a nice catch-and-run of 13. On 2nd-and-goal from the 6, OSU went to five-wide and Brian Hartline easily beat linebacker Anthony Heygood and gathered in a touchdown toss. The PAT was perfect and the Bucks led 14-0.
Purdue only managed one first down on their next series as tight end Dustin Keller, who caught the game-winning TD pass against the Buckeyes in 2004, shook away from Anderson Russell for a 20-yard pickup. Curtis Painter could get the offense no further and was fortunate that Russell didn’t pick off his third-down throw. Ohio State’s defense leads the Big Ten in a bunch of things, but fortunately for them dropped interceptions aren’t an official stat.
Chris Wells re-entered the game and managed to get a first down on two carries to get the Bucks out of the shadow of their own goalposts, but later on 3rd-and-8 Rory Nicol ran about a 4-yard pattern and was stopped short- BIG surprise! You wonder sometimes if OSU’s receivers know what those big orange things are for along the sideline. The quarter ended with the Scarlet and Gray up 14-0, and in Big Ten play the Bucks have now outscored the opposition 56-0 in the opening period this season.
The defense turned it up a notch as the second quarter began. Chimdi Chekwa, who saw extensive playing time as the nickelback, hit Painter’s arm on the blitz, forcing an incompletion. Painter then tried to throw across his body rolling left and should have been picked by James Laurinaitis. Jared Armstrong punted the Bucks to their own 39 and the offense was off and running again.
Ray Small moved the sticks with a 6-yard snag on 3rd-and-2, then weaved his way on a wide receiver screen for 17 behind great blocks from Mo Wells and center Jim Cordle. With the ball at Purdue’s 30, the Boiler "D" stepped their game up. Anthony Heygood dropped Mo Wells for a loss of 3, then Robiskie lost 3 more on another quick out as corner Terrell Vinson upended him when Alex Boone couldn’t get over to block. Boeckman scrambled for 9 to get within Pretorius’ field goal range and the South African junior nailed a 44-yarder to widen the Buckeye lead to 17-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Dorien Bryant fielded the ball at his 10 and started upfield. His other deep teammate, Desmond Tardy, whiffed on a block of Shaun Lane. The Hubbard junior knocked the ball up in the air, and it came to rest in the arms of Aaron Gant at the Purdue 33. Boeckman tried to go up top right away and had Robiskie wide open down the seam but missed him badly. A pair of runs by Chris Wells netted 8, and with 4th-and-2, Tressel rolled the dice and called on C-Dub once again. Steve Rehring pulled around from his left guard position and joined the crowd in watching the game as Anthony Heygood blew right by him to drop Wells for a loss of 3.
Kory Sheets and Dustin Keller had first-down catches as Purdue moved into OSU territory, but on 3rd-and-10 from there Greg Orton could only manage 9 before being bounced out by Chimdi Chekwa. Now it was Joe Tiller’s turn to gamble and he came up short as Painter’s screen pass for Sheets hit Kory in the helmet and fell incomplete.
Neither offense could muster much for the rest of the half. Larry Grant initiated a three-and-out by sacking Painter for a loss of 8; while Anthony Heygood continued his excellent first half by forcing Todd Boeckman into a drive-stalling grounding call. The Buckeyes went off at the break with the 17-point lead, buoyed by a 209 to 90 advantage in total offense, including a
rushing edge of 75-7.
Purdue got a big break to start the third quarter. Todd Boeckman set himself twice looking for Brian Robiskie before finally heaving one deep down the right sideline. Robo had corner Terrell Vinson beat, but the indecision on Boeckman’s part gave safety Brandon King time to come over and he wrestled the ball away from Robo with both feet inbounds for the pick, which was upheld on review.
Dustin Keller got loose down the middle for a 27-yard reception to put the ball in Buckeye territory, but once again the stop troops came up huge as Malcolm Jenkins cut Dorien Bryant down for a loss of 4 on a screen, followed by an Anderson Russell sack of Curtis Painter.
Back on offense, the ground game worked the ball out to the OSU 41, where Boeckman found Robiskie on a post for 21. Trying to strike while the iron was hot, Boeckman had Hartline open deep but the pass was underthrown and corner David Pender went up to make a super pick at his own 2. The Boilers couldn’t get anything going, and following a 35-yard punt from Jared Armstrong and a 13-yard Hartline return, the Bucks had great field position at Purdue’s 29. Three plays only gained 7, so Ryan Pretorious entered and boomed a 39-yard field goal, opening up a 20-0 lead for the visitors.
On Purdue’s ensuing drive, Marcus Freeman missed a tackle on Dustin Keller, allowing him to scoot for 14 on a short pass across the middle. But Freeman made amends on 3rd-and-4 moments later by almost intercepting a throw for Kory Sheets. The Buckeyes were backed up to their own 10 following Armstrong’s punt, and things got a little dicey for the offense. Chris Wells had to leave the game again after re-injuring the ankle, then later on a 3rd-and-11 play from his own 19, Boeckman had the ball slip from his grasp on a pass attempt. Purdue fell on the ball at OSU’s 20, but fortunately for the Bucks it was ruled an incomplete pass. A.J. Trapasso cranked out a 61-yard bomb, pinning Purdue back at its 20 and turning the field position around. The Boilers couldn’t get the offense untracked and Ohio State took over at their own 38.
Mo Wells jumpstarted the "O" with an 11-yard gain, then after a false start, Brian Hartline gathered in a slant pass, slipped safety Torri Williams and weaved his way for 41 yards to the Purdue 15, his longest reception of the season. Three carries by Mo Wells produced 8 yards as the third quarter expired, so the teams changed ends and Ryan Pretorious hoisted a chipshot 23-yarder, fattening the Buckeye lead to 23-0.
Curtis Painter got the Purdue offense chugging, dialing up Dustin Keller, Selwyn Lymon and Greg Orton for first downs to move out to the Purdue 43. Anderson Russell threw a wrench in the works with an 8-yard sack, but then turned right around and dropped another interception. Russell actually worked some in the tailback rotation during his redshirt season in 2005, but it’s a good thing he switched to safety or whatever pages in the playbook had passes to the backs would have to be scrapped. With Kent State coming to town, it might do some good to let Russell work with the receivers. There’s been no real harm done to this point, and Russell’s athleticism and "ballhawk" skills get him in position to make these plays, but he’s going to drop an easy pick down the road and give some opposing offense new life, and they’re going to take advantage.
OSU couldn’t do much on their next series, although it was good to see Brandon Saine back in the lineup getting some totes. Some of the plays looked like they were taking three weeks to develop, but with Chris Wells’ ankle in the shape it’s in, Saine is going to be a key piece of the puzzle down the stretch.
Purdue’s final offensive thrust of the night began from their own 12. Painter went 5 for 7 as the Boilers advanced to a 4th-and-1 at the Buckeye 31. Backup runningback Dan Dierking, whose dad played at Purdue, got loose for 11 and a first down at the OSU 20. Greg Orton lay out to make a terrific diving catch at the 2-yard line, and the shutout was in jeopardy. Cameron Heyward batted the 1st-and-goal throw in the air, but Dexter Larimore couldn’t make the easy pick. It cost the Bucks on the next play as Painter faked to Dierking, rolled right and hit Jeff Lindsay for the score to ruin the shutout.
Ohio State returns home this Saturday for their final non-conference game with Kent State, a 12-noon battle on the Big Ten Network. Purdue will head to the Big House to let Curtis Painter fire away against the suspect Wolverine defense.
RANDOM THOUGHTS- Ohio State’s offensive balance at this stage is pretty remarkable considering almost everyone thought "Tresselball" would be back in vogue. The Bucks have rushed for 1221 yards while throwing for 1276 through 6 games ... The Buckeyes have been ranked #3 in one poll or another 61 times previously in their history. 9 times they haven’t played a game immediately, due to byes, the season being over or the ranking coming in preseason. In the 52 other instances, their record is 38-12-2. The last time OSU was ranked third, their 19-game winning streak ended in Madison in 2003 in the night game against Wisconsin, a loss that actually snapped an 8-game win streak as the #3 team. Some of the significant wins for the Scarlet and Gray as the nation’s third-ranked team include the legendary 18-14 win over Michigan in 1944 (see our "Greatest Drives" series), Woody Hayes’ first ever win as Buckeye coach, a 7-0 defeat of SMU in 1951, the 42-21 drubbing of USC in the 1974 Rose Bowl, the 18-15 win at Ann Arbor in 1979 featuring the "Buckeye Block Party", and the dramatic "Holy Buckeye" win at Purdue in 2002 (again, check out the "Greatest Drives") ... Speaking of "Holy Buckeye", ABC dragged it out in the fourth quarter of last Saturday’s game. It never gets old, friends ... IBM has put together a list of the 25 greatest players in college football history, with one player being revealed each week until the #1 selection is presented during the Rose Bowl. For some reason that completely boggles my mind, Archie Griffin is only #21 on the list. Earlier this summer, ESPN.com’s Ivan Maisel came up with a list of the 100 greatest moments in college football history, and he was too busy filling up his list with Notre Dame moments no one outside of South Bend even remembers to even mention Archie. I’ll give IBM credit for having Archie on the list, but I’ll be curious to know what 20 players- many of whom I’m sure have at least one less Heisman than Archie- they feel are greater ... Ohio State has held three straight opponents to 7 points on the scoreboard, the first time in school history that has ever happened. Both the 1974 and 2006 squads held 4 different foes to only 7 points, but they came in back-to-back games twice ... Paul Keels, the radio play-by-play voice of the Buckeyes, was inducted Sunday into the Ohio Radio Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame ... Don’t know if any of you taped the game, but if you did check out the end when Brent Musburger was reading the credits. The camera finds a Purdue fan staring off into space before obviously belching. Sums up the evening perfectly- Purdue fans had to have a serious case of heartburn after that one. I’m not going to accuse that young lad of imbibing- the belch could’ve been from bad nachos at the concession stand- but from what the Columbus Dispatch and even our staff photographer Gregg Watson reported, Karen Holbrook may not want to put in an application at Purdue if she thought Ohio State’s fans were drunken morons ...