Purdue at Ohio State: Post Game Grades for Buckeyes Win over Boilermakers
If you didn't believe in Ohio State going into this game, it's hard not to after one of the most stunning wins in recent memory for the Buckeyes.
Down eight with less than a minute to go and down Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller, Ohio State somehow pulled off a magical comeback to stun upset-minded Purdue 29-22 to remain undefeated.
Kenny Guiton became the hero for the Buckeyes when they needed one, leading a comeback that few Buckeye fans are going to forget any time soon.
Here are the postgame grades for the 8-0 Buckeyes.
Quarterbacks: C- (Braxton Miller) /A+ (Kenny Guiton)
Braxton Miller had already had a bad day after turning it over three times. It became a nightmare when he was injured on a run late in the third and had to leave the game. His status is still unknown.
Kenny Guiton stepped in and despite throwing a late interception, he led an incredible game-tying drive that concluded with a TD pass to Chris Fields and a two-point pass to Jeff Heuerman.
For a backup entering under chaotic circumstances, Guiton was unbelievably composed, showing no fear heading into OT when he led the game-winning TD drive finished off by Carlos Hyde.
It's unclear what Guiton's future will be, but he had a moment in The Horseshoe that he certainly will never forget.
Running Backs: B
Carlos Hyde continues to blossom into one of the best running backs in the Big Ten, as he had a two-touchdown game, including the game-winner in OT.
Hyde fell short of 100 yards, but he had a big fourth-down run early in the game and a big third-down run later on in the day.
The game continued to show that Hyde is a running back who can thrive in a spread offense that's usually designed for speedy backs to make the big plays.
Wide Receivers: B-
Five Ohio State receivers caught passes, but the group was plagued early on by some drops.
Chris Fields, who was responsible for one of those drops, had a big second half with three catches—his first three of the season—and hauled in the touchdown pass on the game-tying drive with just three seconds left.
With Philly Brown injured early in the game, Fields stepped up to help save the Buckeyes' hopes of a perfect season.
Tight Ends: B
Jeff Heuerman only had two catches, but his second on the two-point conversion may have been the biggest of his career.
On the two-point conversion, Heuerman, who has been improving throughout the month of October, slipped off the end of the line on a delayed drag route and Guiton found him wide open to tie the game.
That's a play that requires patience and great execution. Heuerman had both.
Offensive Line: C+
OVERALL GAME GRADE — A-
The Buckeyes looked lifeless for most of three quarters and all seemed to be lost when Braxton Miller left the game due to injury.
Give all sorts of credit to the entire Ohio State coaching staff for somehow managing the chaos, getting their players refocused and finishing the job over a very determined Purdue team.
This win is the type of thing that can keep a team afloat, and it certainly has the Buckeyes still in the driver's seat for the Leaders Division Championship, even though it won't be more than just a footnote in the books due to NCAA sanctions.
Q4/OT — A
Whatever Urban Meyer said to Kenny Guiton before that final drive in the fourth quarter needs to be saved for the rest of the season.
The move to Guiton had to be made, but Meyer found a way to get his guys inspired and kept them poised when the world seemed to collapse around them when Miller went to the locker room.
To come out of all of the bad things that happened to Ohio State with yet another win is simply remarkable.
Q3 — C-
The Ohio State offense made some solid adjustments as they moved the found the end zone for the second time in the game.
The defense, however, got exposed once again in the bubble screen game as Purdue used several of those to take the lead.
Q2 — C+
The defense has been much improved in the second quarter, creating a turnover and shutting down Purdue's offense. Luke Fickell does deserve credit for making some good adjustments and his players are responding.
On offense, Tom Herman is not having a good game calling plays. Ohio State is trying to hard to go up the middle rather than try to expose Purdue's secondary.
Granted Miller is having major issues completing passes, but very few plays are hitting the perimeter.
Q1 — C+
Ohio State got off to yet another sluggish start on both sides of the ball. The coaches have helped their guys get more settled.
Plus Ohio State does seem to assert itself much more in the second quarters of games, especially at home.
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Defensive Line: B+
Ohio State's defensive line was neutralized any time the Boilermakers went to their patented bubble screens, which they strangely went away from late in the game.
As the game went into the final stages, John Simon, Johnathan Hankins and the front four shut the door on the Purdue running game.
This group played inspired football late and helped to turn the tide of the game.
For an Ohio State defense that couldn't have had a worse week after giving up 49 points to Indiana, Saturday's game started just as bad with an 83-yard TD reception by Purdue's Akeem Shavers on the opening play. Starting linebacker Storm Klein appeared to blow the assignment as Shavers blew right past him to the end zone.
The linebackers did step up, however, especially Ryan Shazier, as they never allowed Purdue to get its running game going in the second half and through overtime.
Josh Perry went down with an injury in the second half, which made an already depleted linebacking corps even thinner.
Defensive Backs: B+
Purdue's two offensive touchdowns came on plays of 83 and 31 yards. Other than that, the Boilermakers did not have a pass play longer than 19 yards.
Part of it is obviously their system, but the OSU defensive backs also did a good job containing the bubble screens and making open-field tackles.
C.J. Barnett played by far his best game, intercepting a pass in the end zone to kill a 19-play Purdue drive in the second quarter and breaking up a pass in overtime. Christian Bryant also made a nice play to deny a flat pass with a great deflection.
Special Teams: B-
Ohio State's special teams were a mixed bag on Saturday. They did block an extra point and a field goal, but they also allowed a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD and missed a 50-yard field goal.
They didn't win the game, but in the end they made enough plays to keep Ohio State from losing it.
"You're going to go win us this game."
Those were the words Urban Meyer said to Kenny Guiton after he threw an interception late in the fourth quarter. And those words may resonate for a long time after Guiton engineered a comeback that most Ohio State fans won't soon forget.
Meyer is 8-0, but this win is beyond just getting one in the win column. It's about the job he and his coaching staff did to keep their guys in the moment when nothing was going right and when Braxton Miller was on his way to a local hospital.
To have all of that happen and still win the game is truly special and a moment that figures to define the Urban Meyer era.
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