Ohio State Football: 10 Things We Learned from the Buckeyes' Win vs. Purdue
The Ohio State Buckeyes lost Braxton Miller, but they didn't lose the game.
Trailing by eight points with 47 seconds left in the game, Kenny Guiton led an improbable 61-yard touchdown drive, then converted a the two-point conversion with a floating pass to Jeff Heuerman to force overtime.
Carlos Hyde flew over the line for a one-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State a 29-22 lead to start the OT period, and Ohio State's defense stiffened, limiting Purdue's offense to just five yards before closing out the game.
Ohio State, now 8-0 on the year, will travel to State College for a matchup against Penn State next week. Before we look ahead, let's take a look back at what we learned about the Buckeyes from their 29-22 victory over the Purdue Boilermakers.
1. This Ohio State team will not quit.
With Purdue leading 22-14 and under a minute to play, things looked bleak for the Buckeyes.
Despite losing their starting quarterback and getting shut down most of the afternoon, everyone from the offensive line to the skill position players executed the offense perfectly on that last-minute drive.
The result? A seven-play, 61-yard touchdown drive in 44 seconds. The ensuing two-point conversion, and the way the team dominated in overtime, speaks to the will of this Ohio State football team.
2. Fans should never leave the stadium in a one-possession game.
We realize it's tempting. Your team is down eight points, the offense has looked terrible all day and the starting quarterback has been knocked out of the game.
None of those justify leaving the game early to try and beat the traffic. Hundreds of Ohio State fans missed the end of a fantastic football game when they quit on the team late in the fourth quarter.
In a one-possession game, this is inexcusable. You have no one to blame but yourself. You should be put in fandom timeout.
If that existed, you'd be in it.
3. Kenny Guiton is a wizard.
After Braxton Miller's injury—which we'll get to shortly—Guiton came on the field and struggled.
Ohio State had struggled to move the ball with Braxton on the field, and during Guiton's first three drives, it wasn't much different. Guiton produced just 13 yards of offense with an interception, in addition to a Purdue safety, during his first three drives.
During Ohio State's last touchdown drive and overtime, Guiton completed four of his six passes for 66 yards to go along with a touchdown and a two-point conversion.
4. Carlos Hyde is a man.
The junior running back was Ohio State's most consistent performer against Purdue.
Hyde rushed for 91 yards on 19 carries—57 yards shy of his average over the last two games—but every yard was earned against a surprisingly stout Purdue run-defense.
Urban Meyer went to Hyde when it mattered most, and the big back delivered, scoring two touchdowns against a loaded box near the goal line.
5. This team is in good hands with Kenny Guiton, but they need Braxton Miller.
Braxon Miller was injured after being brought down hard on his head at the end of a 37-yard run late in the third quarter.
While Kenny Guiton was an improbable hero, the Buckeyes will need Miller back for the best chance at finishing the season unbeaten.
Miller is just too dynamic to replace. You could see during the fourth quarter that Guiton doesn't have the same playmaking ability in the run game, and while that didn't hurt the Buckeyes against Purdue, it could against some of the better teams remaining on Ohio State's schedule.
6. The defense improved after last week's disaster.
After giving up 49 points and over 480 yards of offense to the Indiana Hoosiers last week, Ohio State's defense was rightfully blasted by both coaches and media.
Against Purdue, they played better.
It wasn't the dominant performance most fans wanted to see, but the silver bullets defense only gave up two touchdowns against the type of offense that has given them fits this year.
Those two touchdowns were the result of horribly missed assignments by Ohio State's back seven. Outside of those two plays, the Buckeyes held Purdue's offense to just 233 yards.
And while Kenny Guiton will get a lot of the praise for leading the comeback, none of it would've been possible without the play of the defense. The defense forced a Purdue three-and-out to give Ohio State's offense a chance late in the fourth quarter, and the Boilermakers gained just five yards before faltering in overtime.
7. Ryan Shazier is also a man.
The Ohio State linebackers have underperformed as a unit in 2012, but individually, Ryan Shazier has been stellar this year.
That was no different against Purdue as Shazier led the team with 12 tackles (1.5 for loss). The sophomore linebacker was all over the field, stuffing the run when he needed to while playing very well when he dropped back in pass coverage.
He might not be getting much support from his fellow backers, but no one can complain about the effort Shazier is bringing to the field this year.
8. Ohio State's special teams flex their muscles, then shows their warts again.
The buckeyes flashed and faltered again on special teams.
Ohio State gave up a 102-yard kickoff return to Akeem Hunt that went for a touchdown and also failed to recover one of the three muffed punts Purdue returners coughed up.
Later, Ohio State blocked a Paul Griggs field-goal attempt, which likely saved the game for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Ohio State rode the same roller coaster last week against Indiana. If they don't tighten things up here, going undefeated becomes much more difficult.
9. Danny Hope should be able to get out of his contract with the devil now.
Hope's unexplainable dominance over Ohio State the last few years can only be the result of a deal he made with the devil, right?
Through 59 minutes of game action Saturday, it looked like that deal was holding up.
After giving up an average of 386 rushing yards to their last two opponents, the Boilermakers bottled up Ohio State's eighth-ranked rushing attack to 106 yards going into the final drive of the game (157 yards below their average).
Something happened in the final minute, though. The power that binds that contract faltered, allowing Ohio State to inexplicably overcome its eight-point deficit in just 44 seconds.
10. Ohio State's roster is starting to look like a scene from The Walking Dead.
Injuries have hit the Buckeyes hard this year.
While it looks like Braxton Miller is going to be OK, his trip to the hospital was just the most recent critical injury for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is currently playing without its top running back in Jordan Hall and starting linebacker Etienne Sabino. That's not to mention the nagging injuries to Nathan Williams, Corey Brown, Bradley Roby and Christian Bryant that have forced those players to miss significant snaps this year.
Ohio State's bye week is just one opponent away. If the Buckeyes can survive Penn State and Happy Valley, they'll be able to get some much-needed rest going into the final stretch of the season.
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