Purdue Quotebook: Bryson Shaw Says "Some of Us Didn't Do Our Jobs" on Saturday, Jaxon Smith-Njigba Says the Buckeye Receivers Are "Scary" Good

By Griffin Strom on November 14, 2021 at 8:35 am
Bryson Shaw

By several metrics, Ohio State put on one of its most impressive offensive showcases of the season against Purdue on Saturday.

The Buckeyes tied their single-game season-high mark of 624 yards, equaled their highest first-half point total of the year with 45, and rushed for a season-second-best 263 yards against the Boilermakers.

On defense, however, Ohio State allowed 481 total yards to Purdue, including 390 and four touchdowns to quarterback Aidan O'Connell alone. The 31 points Purdue scored in the 28-point Buckeye win were the most any Ohio State opponent has put up against the scarlet and gray since Oregon tallied 35 in Week 2.

Buckeye safety Bryson Shaw took responsibility for some of the defensive lapses after the game, although he said he's made plenty of strides individually since the start of the year.

"I would just say reading the offense, coming up and making tackles. Still a lot to improve on, though," Shaw said. "Hit that post over my head – can never happen. Can never, never ever happen, and it won’t happen again. That’s my job to be back there. I gotta do my job, so I gotta be better at that, and I’ll get it corrected."

Shaw, who was second on the Buckeyes with eight tackles Saturday, said he's confident that Ohio State will figure out what the issues were when they look at the film in the coming days.

“We just gotta execute. I thought the game plan coming in was strong, and I thought Coach Barnes, Coach Coombs, the whole defensive coaching staff gave us the right plan," Shaw said. "I just thought some of us didn’t do our jobs, including myself. We’ll get it corrected. We’ll get on that film, get it corrected. But just executing the calls better, and we’ll be fine. We’ll be great.”

Entering Saturday, Purdue's prolific pass attack had already spelled doom for the likes of Iowa and Michigan State in upset wins in the Big Ten this season. But Ohio State head coach Ryan Day said the Boilermakers' aerial assault was still difficult to limit even when the Buckeyes knew it was coming.

"That style of offense that we played against was the first time we’ve seen a lot of heavy throwing. So I think we’ll probably get on the film and learn some things from that," Day said. "And so I think it was a good win in November against a team that was dangerous. We came out early, played well, created some turnovers, certainly made a lot of plays on the perimeter."

The Buckeyes did plenty of damage in the pass game in their own right, though, as C.J. Stroud finished with 361 yards, five touchdowns and no turnovers on 31-of-38 passing. Day said it was no coincidence that his second-year quarterback had such a standout showing, given the work he put in leading into the contest.

“I thought C.J. had the best preparation of the season this week. He was on his game,” Day said. “They brought some different things that made it challenging, but he really put a lot of work in, and I was glad to see it get paid off like that.”

Stroud got plenty of assistance from his star-studded receiving corps, as Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Chris Olave each caught at least nine passes, 85 yards and a touchdown on Saturday. Wilson shined above the rest of them though, finishing with 10 catches for 126 yards and three touchdowns through the air, with another touch going for a 51-yard trip to the end zone on an end-around handoff.

It was Wilson's first game back on the field after missing last week's Nebraska matchup due to concussion protocol.

“Of course you want to have a guy like Garrett out there, man," Stroud said. "He’s a great player, his routes speak for himself, he gets open time in and time out. Last week I feel like the young guys stepped up and did a good job too, but of course you just want G5 out there. I feel like everybody did well. Jaxon did great, Chris did well – I wish they didn’t take that post back. At the end of the day, I feel like as an offense, this was our best game.”

Wilson said it was difficult for him to even watch the Nebraska game at home on TV, given that the injured Buckeye could not impact the game. Needless to say, it's not an experience Wilson is looking to have again any time soon, and it was clear that the junior intended on making up for lost time on Saturday.

“It was definitely hard. As far as how Saturday went with the game against Nebraska, I literally had to not watch the game for a little bit, because I was just tripping," Wilson said. "Like, tripping too much, I just didn’t feel good. I was watching the game stressing myself out too much. It’s something that I’d never like to do again. I don’t plan on that happening again.”

Despite Wilson's performance, it was actually Smith-Njigba that led the Buckeyes in receiving yardage on Saturday. Just one game after breaking David Boston's single-game record with 15 receptions against the Huskers, Smith-Njigba hauled in nine for a game-high 139 yards and a touchdown against Purdue.

“It’s just real scary. I feel like it’s hard for defenses to cover all of us,” Smith-Njigba said. “It doesn’t really matter if I’m covered; someone’s open, usually. That’s what we work on and that’s what we do.” 

The Buckeyes may have to keep that torrid pace up in the coming weeks if they hope to survive the rest of the conference schedule unscathed, as Ohio State has meetings with Michigan State and Michigan remaining on the docket to close out the regular season. 

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