The Pit of Despair

By Ramzy Nasrallah on October 30, 2013 at 11:15a

Troy Smith, Terrelle Pryor and Braxton Miller are three of the most decorated and productive quarterbacks in Ohio State history.

Smith won 25 games as a starter, beat Michigan three times in ruthless fashion and has a Heisman Trophy to his credit. Pryor won 30 games as a starter, also beat Michigan three times in ruthless fashion, was the Rose and Sugar Bowl MVP and was set up for an historic senior year before, um, stuff happened.

And somehow Miller was the B1G Freshman of the Year despite the lack of a qualified position coach or competent offensive coordinator. He's already won 21 games as a starter, beaten Michigan, has accounted for almost 6,700 yards and carries a scorching 168.5 QB rating into this weekend.

Those three names are scattered all over Ohio State's record books as passers, rushers and winners. They also share one unfortunate, inconceivable and wholly embarrassing distinction.

Smith, Pryor and Miller have done nothing but lose at Purdue. Those three phenomenal quarterbacks are winless in West Lafayette.

Smith's lone foray into Ross-Ade Stadium dropped the vacillating 2004 Buckeyes to 3-4 in conference play in a game where DT Quinn Pitcock had more interception return yards than Ted Ginn had receiving yards.

The Buckeyes fell 24-17 to a reeling Purdue team trying to avoid a fifth-straight loss. The following week they annihilated #7 Michigan, the Big Ten champion. Ginn outpaced Pitcock's yardage output by a cool 210 yards in that game.

Following that Purdue trip in 2004, the Buckeyes wouldn't lose another conference game to an eventual non-BCS bowl team until five years later, when Pryor made his visit to West Lafayette.

Those struggling Boilermakers entered the game hoping to avoid a sixth-straight loss while the Buckeyes were aiming for a 17th consecutive conference win that would have tied the Big Ten record.

Pryor was thoroughly outplayed by something called "Joey Elliot," and the way the game progressed even the decrepit lead singer of Def Leppard by the same name could have schooled the Buckeyes that afternoon.

Nobody played well and Ohio State's coaching was abysmal. It was a holistic failure in what should have been a gruesome mismatch and a Big Ten record.

Pryor led all OSU rushers with a paltry 34 yards on the game against the country's 94th-ranked rushing defense. This is the same team that ended up winning the outright Big Ten title while beating Oregon in the Rose Bowl.

Purdue won that game 26-18. It took the Buckeyes 16 quarters - almost four full games - after leaving Ross-Ade Stadium to allow 26 more points. They didn't lose again. That's how awful they were in West Lafayette.

It was the second and final time in ten seasons that a Jim Tressel-coached Buckeye team lost to a school with a losing record. Two weeks after pulling the upset of the season, Purdue was shut out 37-0 by Wisconsin, whom the Buckeyes had easily handled 31-13 the week prior to the debacle in West Lafayette.

Danny Hope beat OSU twice & took them to OT. Danny **** Hope. 

Then there's the 2011 game at Purdue - the entire 2011 season, really - which played out like macabre fiction in lieu of what had been scheduled to be a seventh straight conference title run.

All the Buckeyes had to do to beat the Boilers was kick an extra point. Drew Basil attempted a total of 37 PATs during that forgettable season.

He missed one. That one. Purdue won in the overtime period which only took place because Ohio State couldn't keep a goddamn extra point from being blocked with the game on the line.

[Quick sidebar: This year's Buckeyes got their 37th PAT against Iowa - with seven games still left to play - another reminder that Jim Bollman is the worst offensive coach in the universe].

That lousy afternoon in West Lafayette was the beginning of a four-game slide that still serves as Ohio State's most-recent losing streak. Its next victory came under Urban Meyer and it has not lost in the 20 games since.

The ghoulish, gray abscess on the Midwest that is West Lafayette serves as the only Big Ten venue where Smith, Pryor or Miller haven't won. This comes with apologies to Nebraska, which was getting torn apart by Miller to the tune of 27-6 late in the game before he exited with an injury.

Then Bollman and Joe Bauserman decided that ten years of Tressel sitting on 2nd half leads was boring and decided to literally air it out all over the stadium, stopping the clock long enough for the Huskers to enjoy their biggest comeback in school history. Hard to pin that on Miller.

But this isn't about Nebraska. It's about Ohio State having more losses to Purdue since Tressel was hired than it has to Michigan or the entire SEC.

Purdue only sucks after it's been clobbered by Ohio State, not before.

No school has beaten the Buckeyes more than Purdue has in that period, and not one of those losses was expected. The Buckeyes aren't ever supposed to lose to the Boilermakers, yet they've done so four times this century. You need to go back 40 years beyond that to find four more.

This Purdue team is as bad as the victorious ones that preceded it. It might actually be worse. But we don't know that yet. That's for Ohio State to determine on Saturday.

Is there concern with a massive 32-point spread, a 20-game win streak, enormous momentum coming off the unprecedented massacre of Penn State, title aspirations where style points are required, mismatches at every single position and a Purdue team that has yet to beat an FBS opponent while ranking 122nd in scoring offense and 106th in scoring defense?

Probably not. But Ohio State has taken Purdue lightly far more often this century than it has taken it seriously. This apathy - from the coaching staffs to the players - has directly resulted in all of those losses and three overtime games. Notre Dame brought that apathy with them in September and needed the 4th quarter to come from behind to win.

As memorable as Holy Buckeye was, nobody wants to see dramatics at Purdue like that again. The Buckeyes have to approach this game understanding that Purdue only sucks after it's been clobbered by Ohio State, not before.

So if Purdue really is the picture of mediocrity that it appeared to be in 2004, 2009, 2011 and right now then Miller and his current teammates will have to do something he, Pryor and Smith all failed to do in every one of their previous visits to the Big Ten's least-memorable campus.

They're going to have to actually prove it.


Comments Show All Comments

FROMTHE18's picture

I hate Ross-Ade...burn it down OSU offense, burn it all down.

NitroBuck's picture

Agreed...I made the trip to West Layflatt to watch the 1984 debacle there.  Keith Byars had an unbelievable day accounting for about 340 all purpose yards, yet we lost because Purdue had Rod Woodson, we could not stop Jim Everett from hitting deep crossing patterns, untimely penalties and Mike Tomczak taking stupid pills.  The place can be an easy win or a horror show.

Ferio.  Tego.

NitroBuck's picture

"It's about Ohio State having more losses to Purdue since Tressel was hired than it has to Michigan or the entire SEC."
Ramzy, sometimes I hate being correct....
3 Losses to Purdue since Tressel hired before 2001 season:  2004, 2009 & 2011
4 Losses to SEC teams: 2002 Outback to SCar, 2007 & 2008 BCS Championship Games, and 2012 Gator Bowl to Gators.

Ferio.  Tego.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Well, I vacated the Bowl since Gene Smith refused to. You're welcome.

NitroBuck's picture

LOL...much appreciated.

Ferio.  Tego.

RBuck's picture

Mr. Meyer, tear down that stadium.

Long live the southend.

buckeyemanda's picture

ROLL HYDE. Let's run through them. And if our can D do a lot of what they did last week, we'll slide easily into our 21-0.

Buckabroad's picture

My thinking exactly. We should be able to run against them effectively and (hopefully) wear their defense down over the course of the game.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

droessl's picture

1) great tag on the cover photo
2) I watched the Pryor game on DVR with my dad, and someone (see: a jerk) told me the final score before I could watch it. I had to sit there, the whole damn time, watching that game knowing we lost but couldn't share the news. Not much fun was had. 

gwalther's picture

...More proof that OSU-Purdue games are played in some sort of bizarro universe.

Class of 2008

Baroclinicity's picture

It seems a lot of teams have that one inexplicable kryptonite that realistically should never be a problem.  For us, it's Purdue.  Times are different now, however; it's Urban's watch, and Danny Hope, you're no longer coach of Purdue.  Get used to it.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Aesculus.'s picture

I thought that 2004 game was Smith's coming out.  Wasn't it Zwick who started got us in a hole then Smith almost bailed us out?  Man was that almost 10 years ago?  oh fuck.

IGotAWoody's picture

I was thinking the exact same thing, so I looked it up. That game happened in November, AFTER Smith had taken over as the starter. He finished the 2004 regular season winning 4 of the last 5 games for the Bucks, his only loss being to Purdue.

“The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.” ~Carl Rogers

BucksfanXC's picture

"It was the second and only time in ten seasons that a Jim Tressel-coached Buckeye team lost to a school with a losing record." - that sentence sounds confusing, second and only?
But man do I HATE playing Purdue, at Purdue. Boiler-Up! chants, gray and rainy skies (every time, what's the forecast this weekend?), missed field goals, losses, LOSSES! It all sucks. Please break the trend Coach Meyer

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

"It was the second and only time in ten seasons that a Jim Tressel-coached Buckeye team lost to a school with a losing record." - that sentence sounds confusing, second and only?

It only sounds confusing because I meant "second and final" and you weren't telepathic enough to figure that out.

Fixed - thanks. I blame the keyboard. Always.


Oyster's picture

I knew what you meant, 'lil buddy.

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

BucksfanXC's picture

I feel like a dick if I point out mistakes to you guys, do you prefer that I don't? In the grand scheme of the world it doesn't matter much if there is a slight typo.
Also, I checked the weather for the Pit of Despair, IN this weekend, and it is only a 20% chance of rain. Any gamblers out there want to take odds? Always seems to rain making those loses even worse.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

rkylet83's picture

Does Ross-Ade even exist in this space and time dimension?  

Breakawayspeed's picture

I was having a good day and...BAM.  Thanks a lot.

Hoody Wayes's picture

Embrace it. You'll feel better:

XUbuckeye's picture

I trust UFM & Co. to keep the troops motivated and ready to play, he knows Ross-Ade is where Buckeye dreams go to die.
I'd love to see us hang 70 on the Boilermakers just to give the curse a big middle finger. I joked around with a few of my friends (although I was being completely serious as well), that even though our division next year is stacked, I was extremely thrilled that Purdue was placed in the other so we won't have to travel to the abyss of West Lafayette every other year.

"So when you get knocked on your butt, get up, get over it, and then next time, kick their ass." - Woody Hayes 

Hoody Wayes's picture

Aww...I think we need to leave West Lafayette with a 100-point win on the board.

jedkat's picture

This pretty much sums up our last 3 trips to Purdue:
Us going into the game:

Us once we get there:

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

Doc's picture

The "Curse" stops this weekend.  Urban has the team hungry and will not allow them to over look Purdont.  At least I hope so.

CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

Hoody Wayes's picture

"The "Curse" stops this weekend."
Fuckin' A!

1MechEng's picture

Danny Hope is only responsible for the abominations in 2009 and 2011 in West Lafayette.
Joe Tiller was the Purdon't coach in 2004 (and 2000 as well!) that beat us in the previous games at Ross-Ade.
Interestingly, OSU has won every game vs. the BM's in the Shoe since 1988.

shaggybuckeye's picture

A buddy of mine was saying damn you guys have an easy game this Saturday. I looked at him straight faced and said "Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN... It's a trap!" 

He's more of an NFL fan so I had to explain to him the troubles in the Tressel era with good ole Purdue.

Hoody Wayes's picture

"Ross-Ade Stadium, West Lafayette, IN... It's a trap!"
Or a Soviet Union fantasy camp. 

OSUStu's picture

In Soviet Russia, reality distorts you.

If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.  ~ Bruce Lee

Whbrbl's picture

It only LOOKS easy... just like Penn State looked challenging, until that end zone pick.

InfinityX's picture

Technically, there's been 3 losses to the SEC since Tressel was hired. Something about the 2002 Outback Bowl. Still, Purdue... ugh.

burkmon's picture

Ugh indeed.  The 2002 Outback Bowl.  Have hated the Game Cocks and their fans ever since.


Unky Buck's picture

The Bauserman passing chart still makes me laugh!

Rock over London; Rock on Chicago. Timex: It takes a lickin' but keeps on tickin'

cjmgobucks's picture

A simple, yet disturbingly accurate, stroke of genius...

"When I look in the mirror, I want to take a swing at me."

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

Earle's picture

One of the funny things about it is that it gives him credit for more completions than he actually made.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

roamingbuckeye's picture

Going into each game, I expected Wisconsin to be a slug-fest, Northwestern to give us trouble, and Penn State to be a good game. But this week...Purdue terrifies me.
"I trust in Urban Meyer" is my mantra this weekend

"I just cant wait to play football." -UFM

cjmgobucks's picture

This Buckeye team is firing on all cylinders and has too many weapons reaching their potential for Purdue to deal with.  I am a tried and true pessimist but even so, I see the Buckeyes taking care of business and taking care of it early.

"When I look in the mirror, I want to take a swing at me."

Wayne Woodrow Hayes

3GB's picture

I was taking a class with Sanzenbacher back in 09 and I still remember that Friday morning before the game.  All I said to him was "Purdue tomorrow, huh?"  He smirked and said "Yeah that'll be a fun one."

hit_the_couch's picture

tOSU's loss at Purdoodoo in '04 was also one of T. Smith's very first starts (maybe his 2nd or 3rd); there was no excuse for '09, and they may have had a chance to take the lead or tie if Worthington hadn't committed that last minute PF. The '09 team played horrible in that game but did start to get it together in the last QTR. '11 Buckeye team just stunk all around too. The 2/3 losses there are just more over hyped than anything.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

ogama843's picture

The key will be Mark May. Don't watch Gameday AT ALL anymore, but was told he picked Penn State last weekend. Hopefully he continues to preach to  his ill advised ilk against Ohio State this weekend. Makes victory that much sweeter.

Holy Buckeye!

yrro's picture

Just Start Kenny G.

Orlando Buckeye's picture

I don't think it would be bad to start Kenny in this game as a way to honor him for last year's game.  Kenny could get the first series.

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Only if, after he scores a touchdown, we then go for two.

IBleedSandG's picture

I'd like to see us break this play back out this weekend. Hopefully it won't be in a 2-Pt conversion situation though.


I_Run_The_Dave's picture

Don't even think about trying to escape.  And don't dream of being rescued, either!

Earle's picture

I have a weird feeling the Bucks may need to call on Kenny G again this year.
To cover the spread.

Snarkies gonna snark. 

AceBuckeye23's picture

The fact that OSU is notorious for playing down to their competition is what annoys, not scares me about this upcoming game.  

Across the field.... because its the only way.

BoFuquel's picture

Last seasons game was so enjoyable. Shame on dem whut left early. Just win. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

Jack Fu's picture

It really is inexplicable what a bugaboo Purdue has been to the Buckeyes, at least since 2003 (those Schweigert/Koutouvides defenses were legit). They have been mediocre at best and terrible at worst for the last 9 1/2 seasons. And OSU is 1-3 in their building in that span. It's completely and totally inexplicable.

stevebelliseeya's picture

For the love of Brutus....please don't show "Holy Buckeye" ever again....I click it every time and always end up in tears....
Nevermind, play it on a loop :)
Go bucks.

"We are eternal. All this pain is an illusion." - Tool

pjtobin's picture

One of my best friends went there to watch Pryor whoop some butt. I told him don't go. I begged him don't go. He went. We lost. I do not consider him a friend any longer. K-12 with him. And now he is  a guy who won't listen to reason when it comes to the Buckeyes. He was my vice pres, I was the pres. And he won't listen. It will forever be his fault. 

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

WC Buckeye's picture

If you know where he lives, don't even ask him if he's going. Take zip ties and duct tape and ensure he can't leave his house this weekend. Don't let him get near West Lafayette under any circumstances.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

pjtobin's picture

Done. Thank me after the derailing is over. I just hope his straw air tube doesn't break while he is riding in my trunk. 
All sarcastic font or whatever?

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

WC Buckeye's picture

Yeah, for sure. There isn't any game worth jail time :)

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

buckguyfan1's picture

Looks like WGN is also reporting that the Buckeyes should tread lightly in West Lafayette this time of year.

Edit: I say "Screw Them".   Go Buckeyes!

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

STEENSN strongly disapproves of this image...

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama

buckguyfan1's picture

It's obviously in the hands of Mother Nature..... I can not control the weather.

harleymanjax's picture

Just to be safe everybody needs to do their superstitions, wear their lucky jerseys, pray to Jobu if you have to!

"Because I couldn't go for 3"

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

I look for the Buckeyes to hang 70 plus on Purdue just to get the taste out of their mouths!  The PSU game was a warning shot across the B1G and the nation in general.  Come prepared or you will be eviscerated quickly and thoroughly!!!  I love the fact that the Buckeyes are getting acused of running up the score and I hope to hear it often!  Woody approves!!! 

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

cinserious's picture

Urban Meyer will march into West Lafayette, burn it to the ground, and march back East to Columbus, thus putting to bed any notions of a special 'achille's heel' at Purdue. The bordermakers are one of the worst teams in FBS after losing Danny Hope, they don't stand a chance.

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

RBuck's picture

This article should be hanging on a board at the WHAC.

Long live the southend.

Idaho Helga's picture

It should be hanging in Braxton's and Kenny's lockers.

Hovenaut's picture

There's no hope Purdue....

Seattle Linga's picture

Keeping the pedal down the entire game will be the key.........
Play defense like it's the last play of your life. 
No need to be conservative - air it out and let Hyde be Hyde.
Dontre and Hall will be monsters....
Go Bucks!

NW Buckeye's picture

Let's face it, for all intents and purposes, the OSU game has been Purdue's de facto premium bowl game for quite some time.  It most likely dates back to the 1968 season when the super sophs, led by Rex Kern, Ted Provost, Jack Tatum, et al, hosted a #1 ranked Purdue at The Shoe.  The Buckeyes pulled the upset that day, and Purdue has never been the same since.  I had the pleasure of attending that game as a HS Junior - what a game!  
It seems that ever since then the bitter memory of OSU stealing their lime light lingers on as most of the world of college football, including modern day Buckeyes, have long forgotten that gem.  The butt hurt from that game lingers on in West Lafayette, and the Boilermakers target the OSU game every year to be the spoiler.  True, there have been stretches when they just haven't been able to muster much of an effort, but it is not for lack of trying. 
I trust Urban understands the history of this game, but you could not tell from last year's match up.  Most of us were thinking that there was no way we would win that game with one minute left on the game clock. However, what was evident on the sidelines was the lack of panic from Urban and the staff.  They made adjustments, albeit late in the game, and prevailed.  Let's hope the adjustments for this game are made pre game and we show up ready to play!
Go Bucks!

Maestro's picture

Go Bucks Indeed!!!!

vacuuming sucks

Seattle Linga's picture

Upvote just for going to that game and rehashing it for us 5 decades later.

BUCKI06's picture

"Then Bollman and Joe Bauserman decided that ten years of Tressel sitting on 2nd half leads was boring and decided to literally air it out all over the stadium, stopping the clock long enough for the Huskers to enjoy their biggest comeback in school history."
I got a good laugh out of this one.

"As long as we're keeping score, we're gonna try to win this thing." - UFM

causeicouldntgo43's picture

At The Shoe last Saturday, whenever Kenny G was on the field, the student sections were chanting "Ken-E-Gee, Ken-E-Gee". I got chills.
You want to play with your opponent's mind coach Meyer? Then start Ken-E-Gee until the first touchdown is made (as was brilliantly mentioned above).
Clear that damn Ross-Ade stadium of any conceivably bad juju with a power dose of Ken-E-Gee right off the bat.
Think of it as a way to score psychic style points and get the attention of BCS voters. No one will accuse us of intentionally "running up the score", when we start out  the game with our second string QB..... 

WC Buckeye's picture

This ^^ SO MUCH. I would go one step further and light up the scoreboard with 21 points in the first quarter with Kenny G, then put xBrax in to score another 28 in the second quarter. Let him play the WHOLE third quarter (with another 28), then put Cardale in to close things out with another 14 in the fourth. 91 sounds about right to me.
No punts, no field goals, no excuses, no bitching, and no regrets.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

theOSUdug's picture

334 days since Carlos Hyde was stopped in the backfield for a loss on the play.........BOILER UP BITCHES, cause el Guapo is coming to town!

Deadly Nuts's picture

El Gaupo is more of a train than Purdue will ever be.


45has2's picture

El Guapo will make purdont cry: "NO MAS!"

"I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people." -W.W. Hayes

Seattle Linga's picture

We need to stomp them so hard that they won't know what to do next year when we are even better.

vitaminB's picture

I watched the 2010 debacle from a tent in Afghanistan.  And this year I'll also be watching from Afghanistan.  I hope it's just a coincidence.

pjtobin's picture

I think you will be a very happy man over there. If only for a three hr curb stomping I hope you enjoy every last second. You surly deserve it. Be safe. God bless!

Bury me in my away jersey, with my buckeye blanket. A diehard who died young. Rip dad. 

rkylet83's picture

I wonder if Darrell Hazel and his staff are donning the traditional Purdue Man mustaches?  Could that be the source of their powers?

acBuckeye's picture

Those struggling Boilermakers entered the game hoping to avoid a sixth-straight loss while the Buckeyes were aiming for a 17th consecutive conference win that would have tied the Big Ten record.

I think you meant to say "17th consecutive conference road win."