(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Game Seven: Purdue Boilermakers
Location: Ross-Ade Stadium (West Lafayette, IN) 12:00PM EST, The Big Ten Network
Head Coach: Danny Hope
Purdue Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. Purdue WR DB Royce Adams was interested in Ohio State, but never offered a scholarship by Ohio State.
Purdue Rushing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Purdue ranks sixth in the Big Ten at a little over 145 yards per game, while Ohio State's rushing defense ranks second in the Big Ten at allowing only a little over 89 yards per game. Purdue sophomore RB Ralph Bolden has been impressive at times this season, averaging nearly 100 yards per game.
Considering how Ohio State was able to slow down Wisconsin RBs John Clay and Zach Brown last weekend, I believe Ohio State will be able to contain Ralph Bolden. Ohio State's defensive linemen and linebackers are the strength of this Ohio State squad. I look for Ohio State to play more of a nickel defense, playing S Anderson Russell more as a nickel linebacker versus playing LB Austin Spitler who is more of a traditional linebacker.
Edge: Ohio State
Purdue Passing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Purdue's passing offense ranks second in the Big Ten with 265 yards per game, while Ohio State's pass defense efficiency ranks third in the Big Ten at allowing nearly 183 yards per game. Purdue QB Joey Elliott is leading the Big Ten in total offense at nearly 284 yards per game, but has already thrown nine interceptions this season.
Considering how effective Ohio State's defense was able to pressure Wisconsin QB Scott Tolzien last week (six sacks), I will be watching to see how Purdue handles the Ohio State pass rush. Elliott will have to get rid of the ball quickly—his favorite target is WR Keith Smith, who Ohio State will probably match up against CB Chimdi Chekwa. I have to give the edge to Ohio State, based upon their performances the last few weeks defensively.
Edge: Ohio State
Ohio State Rushing Offense vs Purdue Defense: Ohio State's rushing offense ranks fourth in the Big Ten at a little over 172 yards per game, while Purdue's rush defense ranks tenth in the Big Ten at allowing a little over 167 yards per game.
Ohio State will be relying on junior RB Brandon Saine, who will be making another start in lieu of the injured Daniel "Boom" Herron. Saine will share the load with freshman RB Jordan Hall, and redshirt freshman RB Jermil Martin. Considering how Ohio State struggled to establish any running game last week against Wisconsin, I look for Ohio State to concentrate on this area of their offense.
Edge: Ohio State
Ohio State Passing Offense vs Purdue Defense: Ohio State's passing offense ranks last in the Big Ten (is there any Ohio State fan surprised with that one?) at a little over 166 yards per game, while Purdue's pass defense efficiency ranks 5th in the Big Ten at allowing a little over 212 yards per game.
It would be charitable to say that QB Terrelle Pryor struggled last week against Wisconsin. It will be curious to see if the Ohio State coaching staff tries to put Pryor into passing situations comparable to their successful two-minute drill at the end of the first half last week against Wisconsin.
Look for Purdue to try to defend Pryor the same way Wisconsin did, by trying to keep Pryor in the pocket and not allow him to get outside on the perimeter. Until Ohio State's offense shows that it can handle that type of defense, every Big Ten team will look to emulate Wisconsin's success.
Special Teams: Purdue's Aaron Valentin is leading the Big Ten in punt returns with an average of nearly 14 yards per return. Purdue's PK Carson Wiggs kicked a 53 yard field goal last season against Ohio State, and has kicked a 59 yard field goal so far this season.
Ohio State's Ray Small exploded with a 96 yard kickoff return that helped Ohio State maintain momentum last week against Wisconsin. PK Aaron Pettrey is leading the Big Ten in scoring, and has kicked a 52 yard field goal this season.
Intangibles: As I wrote previously
, the last time Ohio State lost to a non-BCS bowl opponent was back in 2004 at Purdue. The 2002 Ohio State/Purdue game was one for the ages, where Ohio State had to rally with a "Holy Buckeye!"
pass to hold onto their national championship hopes.
Purdue is 1-5, and has nothing to lose
. This is the type of game that it would be easy for Ohio State to look past Purdue. Purdue played both Oregon and Notre Dame down to the wire, and I believe will be giving this one everything they have to pull off the upset.
Slight Edge: Purdue
Prediction: Even with Ohio State's offensive struggles this season, I look for Ohio State's defense to shut down Purdue by the middle of the 3rd quarter, if not sooner. Ohio State's defense has tremendous depth and speed, and will be too much for Purdue to handle.
I am going to go with Ohio State 35, Purdue 14 as Terrelle Pryor looks to rebound from his tough game against Wisconsin.