Ohio State vs. Purdue: 10 Things We Learned in Buckeyes' Win
The No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes showed their dominance Saturday afternoon, routing the Purdue Boilermakers, 56-0.
The Buckeyes (9-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 21 with the victory while keeping pace in the race for a national title.
The Boilermakers (1-7) dropped their sixth straight game since defeating Indiana State in Week 2.
Here are 10 things we learned from Ohio State's latest blowout victory.
The Ross-Ade Stadium Hex Didn't Impact This Year's Buckeyes
Ohio State has struggled in a big way when it has visited Purdue, losing three of the last four matchups at Ross-Ade stadium.
The Buckeyes couldn't afford a letdown this year, but it was clear early that they would dominate the game.
Cornerback Doran Grant kicked things off by intercepting a pass on Purdue's first drive and returning it 33 yards for a score. After the Buckeyes forced a three-and-out on the ensuing drive, Braxton Miller and the Buckeyes offense found the end zone in just two plays to take a 14-point lead.
Ohio State led by 28 after the first quarter and took a 42-point lead into the locker room at halftime.
In year's past, the Boilermakers have flustered Ohio State quarterbacks into multiple sacks and turnovers, while confounding the defense with a variety of screen passes.
On Saturday, the Buckeyes took control early and never let up.
These Two Teams Occupy the Top and Bottom of the B1G
If it wasn't clear before, it is now. Ohio State is, without question, the Big Ten's best team, and Purdue is its worst.
The Buckeyes completely outclassed the Boilermakers in every phase of the game.
Ohio State's offense piled up 646 total yards of offense—the second week it has eclipsed 600 total yards—while holding Purdue's offense to just 116 total yards.
The Buckeyes started off fast, scoring 28 points in the first quarter, and the final would have been much worse if Urban Meyer would have kept his foot on the gas.
Braxton Miller Is Officialy on Fire
Braxton Miller torched Purdue in just one half of action, completing 19 of 23 passes (82.6 percent) for 233 yards and four touchdowns. He only ran the ball one time for just seven yards, but he didn't need to run as he was nearly flawless in the passing game.
Miller made just one mistake, throwing an interception to Ricardo Allen—one of the Big Ten's best cornerbacks—in the first quarter. Allen only picked Miller off by making a fantastic diving catch, but it's the only mistake the Ohio State quarterback has made in three weeks.
Since Ohio State's bye week, Miller has completed 79.7 percent of his passes for 707 yards and nine touchdowns against just one interception. He has also run for 179 yards and two touchdowns on just 30 carries.
Had Miller avoided that Week 2 injury and played like this all year, he would be in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race.
Jeff Heuerman Needs to Have More Games Like That
Jeff Heuerman came into the Purdue game with 15 receptions, 139 yards and a touchdown on the season.
Against the Boilermakers, the junior tight end nearly matched that output, catching five passes for a game-high 116 yards and a touchdown. Like Miller, Heuerman did all of his damage in the game's first 30 minutes.
Heuerman consistently found the holes in Purdue's zone and was wide-open on most of his catches. He showed great speed on his first catch, which went 40 yards to the house.
The Buckeyes clearly have an explosive weapon in Heuerman—he had as many receiving yards as Purdue had total yards—and need to figure out how to get him more involved on a consistent basis.
Carlos Hyde Is More of a Big-Play Threat This Year
Last year, when Carlos Hyde ran for 970 yards and 16 touchdowns, he didn't register a single rush of 30 yards or longer.
Against the Boilermakers, Hyde ran just eight times but still totaled a game-high 111 yards. His numbers were inflated by three runs that went for 20 yards or more, including a 42-yard burst in the second quarter.
Hyde has shown big-play ability over the last three weeks, busting touchdown runs of 39 and 19 yards against Iowa and Penn State. That wasn't something he worked on this offseason.
"I want to be better at making the safety miss," Hyde said last April, according to Tony Gerdeman of The Ozone.
All that hard work has paid off.
Ohio State's Pass Defense Is Improving
Earlier this season, there was a stretch where three FBS opponents (Cal, Northwestern and Wisconsin) threw for an average of 336 yards against the Buckeyes.
Ohio State's secondary, which returned three starters, was struggling, and things took a turn for the worst when three-year starting safety Christian Bryant suffered a season-ending ankle injury against Wisconsin.
But over the last two weeks, the Buckeyes have only given up an average of 163 passing yards and two touchdowns while picking off three passes.
Purdue quarterback Danny Etling struggled immensely, completing just 13 of 29 passes (44.8 percent) for 89 yards and no touchdowns against one interception.
If the Buckeyes continue to improve their pass defense, it will eliminate what was their biggest weakness.
Ohio State's Pass Rush Is Getting Nasty
Last week against Penn State, the Buckeyes, fueled by sophomore Noah Spence's outstanding performance, piled up four sacks against the Nittany Lions.
This week against Purdue, the Buckeyes were even better, sacking Danny Etling six times.
Much of the credit belongs to the coaching staff, which has been much more aggressive with its blitzing package. The Buckeyes constantly pressured Purdue from a variety of positions, mainly with cornerback Bradley Roby and linebacker Ryan Shazier.
The pressure Ohio State has put on the quarterback over the last two weeks has been a big reason for its improved pass defense.
Dontre Wilson's Role Is Expanding
Dontre Wilson was called a "novelty" by Urban Meyer a few weeks ago, because the freshman speedster was explosive, but he needed to pick up the advanced aspects of the game such as perimeter blocking and general scheme.
Against Penn State, he flashed, scoring on a 26-yard outlet pass from Braxton Miller.
Against Purdue, he played his most extensive minutes and rewarded the staff with 67 total yards on eight touches.
He still struggles with blocking, which was on display when Purdue cornerback Austin Logan blew past Wilson and pasted Ezekiel Elliott in the backfield on a stretch run in the third quarter.
Even with the blown block, Wilson is showing growth as an all-around football player, which is why the coaching staff is getting him on the field more frequently.
The Coaching Staff Wants Kenny Guiton Involved
For the second consecutive week, Kenny Guiton and Braxton Miller saw the field at the same time in Ohio State's goal-line package.
For the second consecutive week, Guiton delivered a touchdown.
The Buckeyes offense leads the Big Ten with more than 48 points per game, but this wrinkle gives opponents just one more thing to worry about.
Guiton has earned some playing time with his incredible play this year. The fifth-year senior has thrown 749 yards and 14 touchdowns against just two interceptions. He has also run for 307 yards and five touchdowns.
Guiton has been so good, in fact, that some think he could earn All-Big Ten honors at the end of the year.
Blowouts Have Consequences
Ohio State suffered a big loss but also avoided a huge blow in the third quarter when starting right tackle Taylor Decker went down.
With the way his leg was rolled up, the initial fear was that Decker suffered a serious knee injury. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, it was only a knee sprain, the same injury Braxton Miller suffered earlier this year.
According to Bill Rabinowitz of The Columbus Dispatch, Meyer expects Decker back in one or two weeks.
The Buckeyes have a bye this week, so Decker, and any player nursing minor injuries, will have ample time to rest and get healthy for the final stretch.
All stats via NCAA.com.
David Regimbal is the Ohio State Football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.