Buckeyes Getting Used To It

By Jeremy Birmingham on November 12, 2011 at 6:13 pm
This was the closest Ohio State came to looking 11's way
0 7 7 6   3 23
10 7 0 3   6 26

Two years ago in West Lafayette, Indiana, the Purdue Boilermakers inexplicably laid waste to a lethargic, uninspired and disinterested Buckeye football team in front of a lethargic, uninspired and disinterested crowd. As the clock ran out on the Buckeyes comeback attempt that Saturday, Purdue's 'stache in charge made what appeared to be a ill-timed, poke-the-bear-type comment.

"Get used to it."

Jim Tressel remembered that comment as Purdue made their return trip Columbus last year, uncharacteristically dismantling an opponent with 42 first half points before taking the foot off the throttle. The Buckeyes held on for a shutout victory, and Tressel it seemed, got his point across.

Judging by this afternoon's lethargic, uninspired and disinterested Buckeye performance, it appears that Luke Fickell was not made aware of this grudge in his all-too-quick transition from assistant defensive coordinator to head coach.

As they have a number of times this year, the Buckeyes looked inadequately prepared for a football game against a marginal, nay, mediocre opponent. For the second straight week, they allowed a middle-of-the-road Big Ten team to jump out to a ten point first quarter lead, but this time, without the urging of the home crowd behind them, the Buckeyes were not able to complete the comeback, despite Braxton Miller's late-game heroics. 

The Buckeyes scored what looked to be a go-ahead touchdown with :55 remaining in the fourth quarter, but a blocked extra point would push the game into overtime. The Buckeyes scored first in the extra period, but Robert Marve led Purdue to a real game-winning touchdown 8 plays later, and the Buckeyes fell to the Boilers, 26-23 in overtime, likely finishing any chances Ohio State had of sneaking into the Big Ten championship game. 

In my experience watching football, any time your opening kick-off return involves a football bouncing off of your returners facemask, you should be wary that perhaps today might not be your best day, and that old adage (ok, so maybe it's not an old adage, but maybe it should be?) held true once again. Carlos Hyde, back in the return game for the first time this year, took one off the face on Carson Wigg's opening boot, and the Buckeyes were underway on an unseasonably warm Saturday in Indiana.

The Buckeyes offense, one of the nation's most unpredictable and balanced, tried to catch Purdue napping by running the ball right up the middle on their first two plays of the game with Boom Herron handling both carries. On Braxton Miller's first pass of the game he overthrew T.Y. Williams badly, but it almost ended with Jake Stoneburner making a circus catch that would have extended the first drive of the game for the Bucks.

Almost. Would have. Didn't. That would be a recurring theme for Ohio State.

Following a poor punt by Ben Buchanan, Purdue took over at their own 41 yard line, and they quickly took advantage of the excellent field position. Ralph Bolden went 22 yards off tackle on the Boilers first play from scrimmage, moving Purdue to the Ohio State 37. After three more plus plays, Purdue was in a 2nd and 2 from the Ohio State 18, and Caleb Terbush founds Gary Bush for 14 yards, putting the Boilermakers in a goal-to-go situation at the Buckeye four. Ohio State bowed their backs and was able to limit Purdue to a Wiggs field goal, thanks in part to a big stop by Bradley Roby on third-and-goal.

Following an almost hilariously ineffective three and out that saw the Buckeyes lose two yards, Ohio State once again punted into the wind deep from their own territory, and once again Purdue started at their own 40 yard line.

Purdue's second offensive series started off where their first left off, Bolden gashed the Buckeyes for 11 yards on the first play. Terbush would lead the charge the rest of the way, hitting on four of five passes for 43 yards, marching the Boilers down the field by beating the Buckeyes on the edges in both the running and passing game. Akeem Shavers went untouched on a four yard touchdown run with 4:09 left in the first quarter, and the Buckeyes were officially in big trouble in litte China.

Trailing 10-0, it was time for Ohio State to open up the offense, right? Ha. No. Another three and out, and Purdue was back on the attack looking to increase their lead to three scores. The Buckeyes defense seemed to wake up a bit, finally getting a stop and forcing a Cody Webster 19 yard punt to the Ohio State 32.


  Cmp/Att Pct Yds TD Int Rat
Miller 8/18 44.4 132 2 0 142.7


  Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Herron 20 67 3.4 21 0 0
Miller 16 43 2.7 17 1 0
Hall 8 43 5.4 25 0 0
Hyde 4 12 3.0 10 0 0


  Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Fum
Hall 3 58 19.3 38 2 0
Williams 2 28 14.0 15 0 0
Herron 1 20 20.0 20 0 0
Smith 1 14 14.0 14 0 0
Spencer 1 12 12.0 12 0 0

After an incomplete pass to Evan Spencer, Miller found Boom Herron for a 20 yard completion, and simultaneously Ohio State had its first completion, first first down, and had engineered their first scoring threat. A few plays later, the Buckeyes drive appeared to be fizzling when Braxton Miller added another highlight to his resume, this time finding Jordan Hall sneaking out of the backfield and delivering a beautiful touch pass in the face of a Purdue blitz, and Hall did the rest, snaking his way down the field for a 38 yard touchdown. Braxton and the Buckeyes were back in it.

On the next Purdue series, the silver bullets missed out on what would be the first of a handful of potential Purdue mishaps, failing to recover a Justin Siller fumble following a five yard completion at the Purdue 36. Bradley Roby forced the fumble, but Siller was able to fall on it. The drive stalled for Purdue and a punt gave the Buckeyes the ball back with good field position at their own 37.

The Buckeyes could not take hold of the swinging momentum, however, as freshman Antonio Underwood, who struggled mightily in his first start for the injured JB Shugarts, got beat by Purdue's Kawann Short for a sack on the first play of the series. Ohio State was unable to move the ball, and punted it back to the Boilers, who took over on their own 12 with 8:42 remaining in the half.

Ohio State's defense struggled last week preventing Indiana from capitalizing on third down (the Hoosiers were 10 of 17) and that trend continued to haunt the Buckeyes. Led by Miami transfer Robert Marve, who entered the game to revitalize the now slowing Purdue offense, Purdue converted consecutive third downs to move the ball out to near midfield. After a holding penalty put Purdue into a 1st and 18 at their own 41, Ohio State's Jonathan Hankins was called for a questionable roughing the passer penalty that put Purdue back in business.

Now at the Buckeyes' 44, Marve completed back-to-back passes for 37 yards (aided by some atrocious 'tackling' by Ohio State) before Ralph Bolden went seven yards for a touchdown, putting Purdue up 17-7 with 3:19 left in the first half.  Ohio State would get a chance to make it a one score game headed into the intermission, but Drew Basil, who had made 12 straight FGs, missed a 50 yarder attempt as time expired.

Purdue outgained Ohio State 242 to 97 in the first half, and limited the Buckeye offense to 4 first downs in the first stanza, while picking up 15 of their own.

Ohio State's defense turned up their pressure to start the second half, forcing a three and out on Purdue's first drive, and the Buckeyes, trailing 17-7, would take over in great field position at their own 42. For the third straight week, Ohio State opened the second half with a big, potentially game-changing run, this time it was Jordan Hall, taking a direct snap 25 yards and moving the Buckeyes to the Purdue 33. After another Hall carry, Ohio State turned to Carlos Hyde, who picked up ten yards on his first carry, the Buckeyes were at the Purdue 19 and momentum once again had seemingly turned towards the Bucks.

Two plays of zero gain left the Buckeyes facing a vital 3rd and 10, and as they have so regularly in the past few weeks, Ohio State turned to their freshman QB, and Miller did not disappoint. He picked up 14 yards to put the Buckeyes at the five, and two plays later took an errant snap from Mike Brewster, starting his 46th career game at Ohio State, into the endzone to make it 17-14, Purdue.

That's when 'ish got real.

The teams traded punts for the next four series, but eventually the field had tilted to Purdue's advantage, starting a key fourth quarter drive at the Ohio State 45 yard line. Ohio State would sitffen defensively, but a Carson Wigg 44 yard field goal with 13:06 left pushed the lead to 20-14.

Ohio State took the ball back, and with Braxton Miller vomiting on the sideline, looked to make Purdue fans equally sick by marching down the field for a winning score. The Buckeyes appeared to be on their way to doing just that, advancing to the Purdue 39 before Chris Fields committed his weekly penalty, this time a drive-killing false start, and Ohio State punted it back to Purdue with 7:50 remaining, still trailing by six.

Purdue played it safe from there; a bubble screen for five yards, a one yard dive and then another bubble screen that would have yielded a key first down if not for a Herculean effort by Bradley Roby, who once again stood out for the Buckeyes, this time fighting off a block (and a blatant hold) to get to OJ Ross, forcing him out of bounds and forcing a Purdue punt. Cody Webster, who had struggled big time all game, finally uncorked one, driving a 51 yarder that put the Buckeyes, down 6, at their 34 with 6:15 remaining.

The Buckeyes running game, which had been stifled by the Boilermaker defense all afternoon, finally saw a burst of energy. Herron took the first carry 21 yards, and the Buckeyes were in business. The next play, Braxton Miller found Spencer for 12, and just like that, Ohio State was sitting on first and ten at the Purdue 30. Three straight runs down to the 20, and it was first and ten again. Jordan Hall went off-tackle for 8 yards to the 12, and then Herron went off tackle for seven to the five yard line, but another untimely Buckeye penalty, this time for illegal formation, negated the run and set Ohio State back to the 17. On 2nd and 7, Braxton was tackled for a loss, and just like that, a decisive 3rd and 8 stood between the Buckeyes and a potential come-from-behind victory.

Once again, Ohio State turned their hopes to the freshman star-in-the-making, and Braxton turned the 3rd and 8 into a manageable 4th and 3, with a little more than a minute remaining.

On fourth down, trailing 20-14, Miller took the snap and was immediately under pressure, scrambling in the backfield, hurdling his own downed center, and as he fell backwards threw what looked to be another prayer-answering Buckeye touchdown, finding a leaping Jordan Hall in the endzone 13 yards away, sending the Purdue crowd into a stunned silence. Just like that, Ohio State, who had struggled to do anything offensively all game long, would be up 21-20 with :55 remaining.

Except for one little thing, that danged extra point.

The B-Rax couldn't defend the Buckeyes from Bolzilla

Drew Basil's extra point try was blocked, as Purdue's Bruce Gaston knifed through the Buckeye offensive front, sending the ball into the cross-bar, and just like that, overtime seemed to be a certainty. Right?

Well, as we have learned this season watching Ohio State, nothing is for sure. A questionable squib kick gave Purdue terrific field position, starting at their own 39 yard line. A quick strike from Marve to Bolden moved Purdue to the Buckeye 46, only a few yards outside of Wigg's field goal range on a normal day, and maybe in his range on a day with a strong, sustained wind. Ohio State called a timeout to gather their thoughts, and Danny Hope's mustache-fueled bravado decided he would not be content with a long field goal try. Instead, Marve went deep, looking for the big play, but instead found Ohio State's Orhian Johnson who would pick it off before falling out of bounds inside the 20, and the Buckeyes had played themselves into the 7th overtime game in school history.

In OT, the Boilermakers won the coin toss, and elected to put the Buckeyes offense, which had now started to find a bit of cohesiveness, or so it seemed, on the field first. Boom Herron lost a yard on his first carry of the extra period, followed by Miller taking an ill-advised sack, and it was 3rd and 16 for Ohio State from the 31. On third down, Miller once again used his feet to elude pressure, throwing a strike to T.Y Williams for 15 yards, a yard short of a vital first down. Drew Basil connected a 33 yard field goal and the Buckeyes had taken their first lead of the day, 23-20.

On Purdue's first OT possession, the Buckeyes once again were bitten by their inability to come up with stops on third down. On 3rd and 4 from the Buckeye 19, Marve plowed through Buckeye defenders, fighting for extra yards and collecting them, getting a first down at the Buckeye 13. After Justin Siller lost five yards on a screen on 2nd and 7, Ohio State once again had an opportunity to put Purdue into a field goal situation, forcing at worst another overtime period, but once again were unable to get any pressure on the quarterback, and Marve found Gary Bush on a crossing pattern in front of CJ Barnett and Christian Bryant. Bush went out of bounds at the one yard line, and Marve snuck it in behind the left guard on the next play, giving Purdue the 26-23 OT win.

BUckeye notes

With the loss, Ohio State falls to 5-2 all-time in overtime games, and more importantly falls to 6-4 on the season heading into next week's senior day game against Penn State.

Ohio State is now 12-8 all-time, and have lost four of the last six in West Lafayette,or the "little town of horrors", as it will from this point be known.

Herron ran for 67 yards, and the Buckeyes fell to 21-2 in games where has run for more than 55 yards.

Ryan Shazier, seeing his most extensive playing time, recorded 7 tackles with 1 TFL and a forced fumble.

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