The seventh-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes seem to be playing incredible football at 7-0 overall and 3-0 in the Big Ten, but they face another conference test in the Purdue Boilermakers (3-3, 0-2 Big Ten) Saturday.
New head coach Urban Meyer's squad is led by formidable Heisman Trophy contender Braxton Miller, who is tearing up the statsheet with his dual-threat ability.
The Buckeyes certainly have some problems to fix after their closely-contested 52-49 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers last week, and they'll certainly be looking to make this a much lower scoring affair, at least on the defensive side of the ball.
Purdue is fresh off a drubbing at the hands of Wisconsin, as the Boilermakers were defeated 38-14 and gave up nearly 250 rushing yards to Montee Ball.
Let's take a look at the matchup between the Buckeyes and Boilermakers and see who has the edge in this conference battle.
Where: Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
When: Saturday, October 20 at noon ET
Live Stream: Big Ten Digital Network
Betting Line: Ohio State (-18.5), per Yahoo! Sports
Ohio State Injury Report (via USA Today)
Etienne Sabino is out indefinitely with a broken fibula.
Jordan Hall is out indefinitely with a knee injury.
Warren Ball is out indefinitely with an undisclosed foot injury.
Purdue Injury Report (via USA Today)
No injuries to report.
Key Storyline: Will Braxton Miller Have His Signature Game?
We sports nerds look for it every year: that game to point to for each and every Heisman Trophy winner. Could Braxton Miller have his on Saturday?
It could set up that way for Miller, who is having an incredible year statistically with 1,271 passing yards, 912 rushing yards and 20 total touchdowns.
Miller is only a sophomore, but he's clearly been firing on all cylinders at this point and any tight victories that the Buckeyes have had haven't been by a lack of scoring. Ohio State has put up 115 points in its last two games.
This is one of the few games on the Buckeyes' schedule for which they'll be pretty heavy favorites, and these are the types of games that Heisman Trophy resumes are built upon. Purdue's rush defense was just gashed by Wisconsin back Montee Ball, and Miller's vision and speed are as skilled as anyone in the conference.
We'd expect Miller to have his usual great outing, but I'm talking more of a six-touchdown performance with a few highlight reel plays that we can all drool over until the trophy presentation in December.
What They're Saying
Meyer's Buckeyes have taken a stranglehold on the Big Ten this season as they're the only team with an unbeaten record, but it's not all smiles in the locker room.
Especially on the defensive side of the ball.
The Ohio State commander-in-chief called a meeting with his defensive players and coaches Sunday (according to ESPN) after they gave up 49 points to a mediocre Indiana team and nearly gave up a game in which Miller's offense amassed 52 points.
"I'm not happy at all with what's going on on defense," the Ohio State coach said a day later. "That includes players, coaches. We can all get better. It's a team effort."
Meyer isn't alone. Cornerback Travis Howard wasn't shy either about addressing publicly how horrid their defense has been recently. "To go out and give up 49 points against Indiana was just embarrassing to us. We all feel depressed about it."
Saturday's game should give this defense much to smile about, as Purdue ranks outside the top 60 in passing yards and rushing yards.
Ohio State Player to Watch: Braxton Miller, QB
Miller has a big chance to make a statement game at home on Saturday in a game that the Buckeyes should easily win, but let's not forget how deep the Big Ten can be and the ability middle-of-the-road teams have to pull out improbable victories.
While we haven't seen much struggle from this offense this season, they could reveal themselves at any moment on a team that relies so heavily on one player's production.
If Miller cannot get things going early, it could spell trouble for the Buckeyes. They obviously don't have much trust in their defense right now, so it's crucial for them to put some points on the board in the early going.
Purdue Player to Watch: Caleb TerBush, QB
The Boilermakers haven't had a whole lot of success on offense this season, but the bright spots have come from quarterback Caleb TerBush.
The senior gunslinger has thrown for 716 yards on the season, but has struggled mightily since entering Big Ten play as he threw for 105 yards against Michigan and just 80 yards in last week's defeat to Wisconsin.
If Ohio State still hasn't gotten their defense in order, then expect TerBush to have his most successful game yet in conference play this year. But this Buckeyes defensive unit, while struggling currently, has a ton of talent and TerBush could be the victim of a unit getting their groove back.
TerBush hasn't done so yet this year, but he'll have to make some clutch plays if his team is going to have any chance at pulling off a massive road upset.
The Buckeyes are playing some of the best football in the country right now, and it's a shame for Meyer's squad that they have been hit with NCAA sanctions and are unable to compete for a bowl this season.
Miller will have one of his best games yet and continue to pad the stats, while his defense will go through some growing pains but force turnovers against a hapless Purdue offense.
Buckeyes 56, Boilermakers 23
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