Ohio State Football: Grading All 22 Starters from the Purdue Game
For most of Saturday's game against Purdue, it seemed that there was no way the Ohio State Buckeyes were going to avoid their first loss.
Somehow, someway, Ohio State found a way to get up off the mat and stun the upset-minded Boilermakers, 29-22, in overtime.
Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton replaced the injured Braxton Miller and led a comeback few fans are going to forget.
Here are the grades for all 22 Ohio State starters in the win.
QB Braxton Miller: D
Before being forced out of the game late in the third quarter with an injury that somehow alleviated itself later that night, Braxton Miller did not have a performance that was good at all.
Miller was missing receivers all afternoon and could not find the types of running plays he made in the first seven games of the season.
He didn't look himself, and unfortunately, his best play came on the same play where he was knocked out of the game. Even though he was pronounced "symptom free," his status for Saturday at Penn State is still not clear.
RB Carlos Hyde: A-
Carlos Hyde continued to show why he is among the best runners in the Big Ten, with another two-touchdown performance against Purdue.
Hyde fell short of his third straight 100-yard game, rushing for 91 yards, but made some key runs on a fourth down to set up the Buckeyes' first score of the afternoon.
He also went over the top for what became the game-winning score in OT from a yard out.
WR Corey Brown: C
Corey Brown had three more catches to add to his team-leading total, putting up 44 yards receiving.
Unfortunately, Brown had to leave the game with an injury and did not return to action. Like Miller, his status for Penn State is still unknown.
WR Devin Smith: C-
While Devin Smith continues to be a big-play receiver, he's starting to show some inconsistency catching the football.
Smith did have a big 39-yard catch-and-run late in the fourth on the final drive to help set up the game-tying touchdown to Chris Fields.
His YPC average is far and away tops on the team, but he still needs to work on not dropping passes.
WR Michael Thomas: C-
The youngster made his first career start on Saturday and had a decent third-down reception early in the game. It was his only catch of the game.
He did get more reps due to Brown's injury, but he was a non-factor the rest of the way after his only catch.
TE Jeff Heuerman: B
Jeff Heuerman had only two receptions, and the only "official" reception in the stat sheet came early in the second quarter.
But Heuerman made his big contribution in the final seconds when he hauled in a two-point pass from Guiton on a delayed release off the line to tie the game.
It was an easy catch without a doubt, but without it, the comeback falls short.
LT Jack Mewhort: C-; LG Andrew Norwell: F; C Corey Linsley: B+
The offensive line did not have a great game, in particular Andrew Norwell who was beat like a drum all afternoon.
Playing against Kawann Short is never easy, but Norwell was often caught facing the quarterback in the pocket, which means bad things.
Corey Linsley had some solid blocks from the center position, and Jack Mewhort was just okay.
RG Marcus Hall: B-; RT Reid Fragel: B
The right side of the offensive line continued to play some solid football, with Reid Fragel and Marcus Hall doing some good things.
Hall and the rest of the interior line struggled to slow down the stunts of the Purdue defensive line, which confused them for most of the afternoon.
Fragel did a good job of both run blocking and pass protecting on the right side of the line.
DE John Simon: B+; DE Nathan Williams: C+
The Ohio State defense did not sack Purdue's Caleb TerBush once during the entire game, and the defensive line was mostly neutralized because of the style of offense the Boilermakers play.
As the game got into the later stages, Simon made his presence felt as he made big play after big play to force Purdue's offense off the field. He finished just behind Ryan Shazier in tackles with nine.
Williams bounced around from DE to OLB due to injuries and put up six tackles.
DT Johnathan Hankins: A; DT Garrett Goebel: B-
Johnathan Hankins was slow to get off the field twice, but that was only because he had been playing so hard that he seemed winded.
The star DT recorded eight tackles, six of which were solo stops, and broke up a pass in the win. He also blocked a Purdue FG attempt late in the third.
His teammate Garrett Goebel recorded three tackles but made a big impact early on by blocking Purdue's first PAT attempt.
LB Ryan Shazier: A+
With his fellow linebackers coming under fire and losing bodies to injury every week, Ryan Shazier left his heart out on the field and played amazing football.
Shazier made 12 tackles, 1.5 TFLs, a QB hurry and broke up a pass.
He was all over the place and made play after play to keep the Buckeyes in the game when they needed something to happen.
LB Storm Klein: F
It's obvious that Ohio State is missing Etienne Sabino, because Storm Klein just isn't cutting it at LB.
On the opening play, he was burned by Purdue's Akeem Shavers for an 83-yard touchdown after making a poor read.
Klein only had one assist on a tackle and looks like a player who is only starting because of the incredibly depleted LB corps.
DB Orhian Johnson: C-
Starting in the nickel defense most of the afternoon, Orhian Johnson never had a chance to make his presence felt.
He was in on two tackles but really was never around the play most of the afternoon.
CB Bradley Roby: B-
With Purdue running their vast array of WR screens, the corners had to show whether or not they could tackle in space.
Roby made three solo stops for the Buckeyes on the outside but failed to break up a pass or force a turnover which he has done so well all season.
The nature of the Purdue passing offense makes it difficult for individual corners to make those types of plays.
CB Travis Howard: C+
Much of the same that went for Bradley Roby can be applied to Travis Howard on Saturday.
Howard only made one solo stop, but he did have a critical pass breakup in the fourth quarter that forced a long third down, which Purdue, however, converted.
Against Penn State, he will go up against a more conventional offense that will let him play more of a normal role of man-to-man coverage.
S Christian Bryant: B+
The Ohio State safeties have been inconsistent all season, but both had a very good afternoon.
Bryant recorded eight tackles and had a fantastic pass breakup where he denied a flat pass and nearly had a pick-six.
Outside of the two touchdowns the Boilermakers had, the safeties did a good job of limiting the big play to keep OSU in the game.
S C.J. Barnett: A
For as bad as C.J. Barnett has been all season long, he stepped up and played by far his best game of the season, and possibly in two years.
Barnett had five solo tackles and a pass breakup in overtime to keep the late momentum going.
His biggest play was an end-zone interception early in the second quarter which ended a 19-play drive that might have put OSU further behind the eight-ball if the INT didn't happen.
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