This piece is going to look a little bit different than what you are accustomed to. And frankly, it probably should.
There was no offensive player of the game. There was certainly no defensive player of the game. Not many earned a Buckeye Leaf. Jim Tressel probably hated almost every minute of this absolute debacle.
Ohio State is 7-1 heading in to a much needed bye week where they hopefully can address the myriad of problems that are oh so bothersome right now and right them for the stretch run.
The Short Story
Ohio State had a lot of things working against them heading into West Lafayette.
1. The Buckeyes were playing Purdue...
2. on the road...
3. at night...
4. in a blackout...
5. right before a bye week...
6. with several injuries...
7. following poor showings in prior weeks.
And, well, these all came to a head last night. Ohio State's offense looked flat from the beginning, the defense, after starting relatively strong, reverted towards what we all know so well, and Ohio State got absolutely curb-stomped by the Fighting Brohms.
Blackout? More like Blacked-Out
As expected, Purdue played like it was their Super Bowl, which isn't that much of a surprise. It seems like that always happens when teams play Ohio State.
But Purdue took risks, all night. We saw a fake field goal that was converted and led to a touchdown. We saw a triple reverse. We saw an attempted flea flicker. Jeff Brohm went for it several times on fourth down.
Purdue fakes the field goal for a first down, then punches it in for a TD. The Boilermakers lead No. 2 Ohio State 14-3 at the half. pic.twitter.com/PpCM1OSJl8
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) October 21, 2018
The Boilermakers brought out every trick in the book and Ohio State simply couldn't stop them.
In recent weeks, had one been watching the Local Team, he or she may have noticed some glaring weaknesses on both sides of the ball. They came to a head last night.
Rushing Attack (Or Lack Thereof)
Ohio State's rushing YPC had gone down every game this season. Last week against Minnesota, the Buckeyes rushed for just 2.8 yards per carry.
Well guess what: they bucked the trend! Ohio State's rushing average went back up... to 3.2. Which is still bad. You know it's bad when you're throwing a screen pass on 4th down at the 1-yard line.
We know Ohio State's defense was struggling. I thought this game may end in a shootout. But, I didn't expect the Boilermakers to score 49 points.
I didn't expect David Blough to throw for 378 yards and three touchdowns (with no interceptions) and I certainly didn't expect DJ Knox to rush for 178 yards and another three scores (on 8 YPC).
Obviously, Ohio State was without their best defensive player, who also withdrew from classes and therefore is done in Columbus as a player forever. But that's still not an excuse.
Biggest Question Going Forward
Ohio State still has a lot to play for, of course. With potential chaos looming, as it always does, the opportunity for a playoff spot is still right there for the taking.
Provided the unthinkable doesn't happen and Notre Dame/Clemson both don't win out, there will be some major decisions to make for the College Football Playoff committee once again.
Ohio State will still have an opportunity to defeat Michigan for the seventh time in a row, when the Wolverines come to Columbus on Nov. 24. If Ohio State can win out and then win that game, they will assure themselves a spot in the Big Ten championship game for the second year in a row.
But the question now becomes: how will Ohio State respond? Last year, we saw Ohio State, after the Iowa loss, win out. The Buckeyes steamrolled Michigan State, took care of business against Michigan, and won the Big Ten championship game over Wisconsin.
Despite being denied a playoff spot, the Buckeyes still whipped USC in the Cotton Bowl. This year, will the Buckeyes respond, or will they simply fold and that will be all she wrote for the 2018 season?
A Look Ahead
Ohio State has a much needed week off here where they hopefully can take a strong look at the issues that have plagued them.
The Buckeyes will then play host to Nebraska, who just came off their first win, a shellacking of Minnesota at home.
After that, the Buckeyes travel to East Lansing for a probable slopfest with the Spartans, then go to Maryland, followed by the date against the Michigan Wolverines, who looked good again yesterday.