Ohio State Football: Establishing Run Game Early Key to Win Against Purdue

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 13:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs with the ball during the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Bloomington, Indiana.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Purdue's Kawann Short is a phenomenal defensive tackle, and one that is going to give the Ohio State offensive line fits on Saturday when he leads his Purdue Boilermakers into Ohio Stadium.

Purdue is going to put points on the board when they have the ball in their hands, as the Buckeyes' defense has shown no ability to prevent teams from scoring at will, allowing a total of 87 points to Nebraska and Indiana over the past two weeks.

The simple way to keep Purdue from doing that?

Keep their offense off of the field.

Only seven teams in the nation do a better job of running the ball than Ohio State does, averaging 5.77 yards per carry, more than 260 yards and three touchdowns per game on the ground, largely behind QB Braxton Miller and RB Carlos Hyde.

Purdue's defense can't stop the run, allowing nearly 200 yards per game and more than five yards per carry, numbers that put them 97th overall in the nation.

Short is going to cause problems in the middle of the line, so both Miller and Hyde will need to bounce it outside to get away from the behemoth.

Establishing their ground game early will not only set up Miller in the passing game, but should allow for Ohio State to get out to a lead.

Once they do, they'll be able to dictate the pace of the game if they so choose to.

Run the ball effectively, control the clock and most importantly, keep Purdue's spread offense on the sidelines.

If Urban Meyer's squad is able to do that, there's no reason that they can't put an end to their recent struggles against the Boilermakers, who simply aren't as talented a squad as Ohio State.