WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Asked about Purdue during an interview session at Big Ten Media Days on July 24, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said five words that would prove to be prophetic a little less than three months later:
“Purdue’s a team to watch.”
In a game that was alarmingly reminiscent to the Buckeyes’ 55-24 loss at Iowa in 2017, that certainly proved to be the case on Saturday night at Ross-Ade Stadium, as the Buckeyes were embarrassed by the Boilermakers, 49-20, in a game in which they never held a lead, to suffer their first loss of the season.
|#2 OHIO STATE
In a game that was widely forecast to be a shootout, both teams punted on their first two possessions. On its third possession of the game, however, Purdue drove 98 yards on 15 plays – capped by an outstanding 13-yard touchdown catch by Isaac Zico in the right rear corner of the end zone on a perfectly placed pass by David Blough – to take a 7-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
Ohio State quickly reached the red zone on its ensuing possession, on which Johnnie Dixon returned a short kickoff to the 45-yard line and Purdue’s defense picked up back-to-back 15-yard penalties. But Dwayne Haskins overshot a wide open Terry McLaurin on a wide open deep ball that would have been a touchdown, and Antonio Blackmon later broke up a 3rd-and-goal pass from Haskins to McLaurin in the end zone, and the Buckeyes were forced to settle for a 24-yard Blake Haubeil field goal.
Those would prove to be the Buckeyes’ only points of the first half.
Ohio State put together a 16-play, 83-yard drive on its final full possession of the second quarter, but was forced to settle for another field goal attempt after Blackmon came up with another third-down pass breakup in the end zone, this time on a pass intended for Binjimen Victor. And this time, Haubeil missed his field goal attempt from 33 yards out wide left, his first miss since taking over placekicking duties from an injured Sean Nuernberger last week.
Purdue then proceeded to reach the red zone in just three plays on its ensuing possession, starting the series with a 19-yard run by D.J. Knox and following that with a 37-yard connection from Blough to Zico two plays later. Ohio State appeared to have Purdue held to a field goal attempt after Rondale Moore dropped a pass on 3rd-and-3, but the Boilermakers decided to run a fake field goal and made it, with punter Joe Schopper running for a 4-yard gain.
That set up a 9-yard touchdown pass from Blough to Moore on the very next play, which put Purdue ahead 14-3 before halftime.
Ohio State quickly drove back inside the 10-yard line on its first drive of the second half, as Haskins completed seven passes on eight straight passing attempts to start the third quarter. But the Buckeyes stalled in the red zone again, as Haskins’ pass intended for Victor on 3rd-and-goal from the 6-yard line went incomplete with Blackmon in coverage, and the Buckeyes were forced to settle for a 23-yard Haubeil field goal.
Ohio State’s defense forced a Purdue punt on its first series of the second half when Baron Browning stopped Boilermakers tight end Cole Herdman three yards short of the line-to-make on a 3rd-and-10 pass. But Davon Hamilton was penalized for roughing the kicker on the punt, keeping Purdue’s offense on the field, and the Boilermakers took advantage, with Knox running into the end zone for a 1-yard touchdown four players later to extend the home team’s lead to 21-6.
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The Buckeyes reached the red zone for the fourth time in Saturday’s game on their next possession, led by a pair of catches by Victor, to get inside the 10-yard line again. Once again, however, the Buckeyes couldn’t find the end zone, and for the second time in the game, they left the red zone without points, as Blackmon broke up a pass intended for Hill on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line.
Both teams would trade punts again on their next two possessions. On its first defensive series of the fourth quarter, Ohio State forced Purdue into a 3-and-out, but once again, the Buckeyes kept the Boilermakers offense with a penalty, this time with a roughing-the-passer penalty against defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones on 3rd-and-11.
Once again, the Boilermakers would take advantage, capping their drive with a 42-yard touchdown run by Knox to take a 28-6 lead with just 11:39 to play, all but sealing victory for the home team.
The Buckeyes finally scored their first touchdown of the game with 9:36 remaining in the contest, when Haskins connected with Dixon on a 32-yard pass to the end zone, but it was too little, too late.
The two teams would trade similar touchdowns again on their subsequent possessions. Purdue extended its lead back to 22 points to its next possession as Knox got another wide-open running lane up the middle for another touchdown run, this time from 40 yards out, with 6:46 to play. Ohio State cut the lead back to 15 when Haskins connected with McLaurin for a 33-yard touchdown with 4:40 to play.
Purdue extended its lead right back to three scores on its next possession, though, after Markus Bailey recovered an Ohio State onside kick attempt. For the third time in the fourth quarter, Purdue scored an offensive touchdown of 40-plus yards, this time by Moore, as he scored a 43-yard touchdown – with missed tackles by Ohio State’s Pete Werner and Isaiah Pryor along the way – to take a 42-20 lead with 3:37 to play.
Dixon made a major mental error on Purdue’s ensuing kickoff, failing to realize immediately that he needed to pick up the rolling kickoff, resulting in a tackle at the 1-yard line. Haskins proceeded to throw an interception that Bailey returned 41 yards for a touchdown, extending the Boilermakers’ lead to 49-20 with 2:08 to play.
Ohio State now takes a 7-1 record into its bye week, after which it will look to get back into the win column against Nebraska (1-6) at Ohio Stadium on Nov. 3. The Buckeyes still control their own destiny in the Big Ten East, as they would hold a tiebreaker over Michigan by winning out the rest of their regular-season games. That said, they will now need to win the remainder of their games in order to have a realistic chance of making the College Football Playoff.
- Isaiah Prince, Jordan Fuller, Tuf Borland and Terry McLaurin were the game captains for Ohio State's opening coin toss.
- Jeffrey Okudah started at cornerback in place of Damon Arnette, who did not make the trip to Purdue due to an undisclosed injury. Davon Hamilton started at defensive tackle in place of Robert Landers, who also left last week's game with an injury. Malik Harrison and Jonathon Cooper returned to Ohio State's starting lineup after missing the Minnesota game with injuries. The Buckeyes opened the game in their nickel defense, so Shaun Wade started at slot cornerback while Baron Browning started alongside Harrison at linebacker.
- Thayer Munford started at left tackle after leaving with a hip injury during the third quarter of the Minnesota game.
- 60,716 was the announced attendance for Saturday night's game at Ross-Ade Stadium.
- Austin Mack was carted back to the locker room in the third quarter with an injury.
- Haskins set Ohio State's single-game record for pass completions with 49 completions for 470 yards in Saturday's game.