Game Seven: Purdue Boilermakers
Location: Ohio Stadium (Columbus, OH) 3:30PM EST, ABC
Head Coach: Joe Tiller
Purdue Players Who Were Recruited By Ohio State: N/A. Purdue WR Greg Orton and Purdue DB Royce Adams were interested in Ohio State, but never offered scholarships by Ohio State.
Purdue Rushing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Purdue ranks last in The Big Ten in rushing offense, while Ohio State's rushing defense is ranked 4th. Considering the nature of Purdue's spread offense is to primarily move the ball through the air, I will look for Ohio State to play James Laurinaitis and Marcus Freeman, while liberally substituting in Jermale Hines or Tyler Moeller in place of Ross Homan.
Edge: Ohio State
Purdue Passing Offense vs Ohio State Defense: Purdue's passing offense leads The Big Ten, while Ohio State's passing defense also leads The Big Ten. I agree completely with former Buckeye Drew Norman's comments about limiting Purdue's offense. Purdue usually won't go deep with their passing game; they are traditionally content to dink and dunk down the field, looking for the best match up they can find to exploit. It will be important for Ohio State to get pressure on Purdue QB Curtis Painter.
Slight Edge: Purdue
Ohio State Rushing Offense vs Purdue Defense: Here is where Ohio State should be able to wear Purdue down. Purdue ranks last in The Big Ten in rushing defense, allowing nearly 200 yards/game. With RB Chris Wells expected to play, despite lingering pain in his foot, combined with QB Terrelle Pryor's running prowess, this could make for a long day for Purdue. I agree that Brandon Saine needs to have a decent game. RB Boom Herron will not play due to his sustained concussion last week, so Saine will get opportunities to carry the ball extensively in the second half.
Big Edge: Ohio State
Ohio State Passing Offense vs Purdue Defense: Another area for Ohio State to exploit, as Purdue also ranks last in The Big Ten in pass defense. While Ohio State will never be throwing the ball in the manner that Purdue does, I believe WRs Brian Robiskie, Brian Hartline, and possibly DeVier Posey (playing for the injured Dane Sanzenbacher, who is out with a concussion) will all get opportunities against an average Purdue secondary.
Edge: Ohio State
Special Teams: Purdue's special teams are possibly the worst in The Big Ten. Purdue ranks last in net punting, and PK Chris Summers has made only 5 of 10 field goal attempts this season. Purdue has also allowed a kick return for a touchdown this season. While Ohio State's special teams have not been spectacular this year, they are better than what Purdue has to offer.
Edge: Ohio State
Intangibles: With the exception of 2001 (35-9) and in 2007 (27-7), many of the games against Purdue have been close and down to the wire. Nothing would make Coach Joe Tiller happier than to defeat Ohio State in his final season as Purdue's head coach. This is the kind of game Ohio State could possibly overlook after such a big win against Wisconsin last week, but I believe the home crowd will play a part in disrupting Purdue's passing offense.
Prediction: Considering the defensive struggles Purdue has faced this season, I look for Ohio State to come out and establish its running game right off the bat. If all is going according to plan, RB Chris Wells will be resting comfortably by the beginning of the 4th quarter, as Ohio State will have won its sixth game and established bowl eligibility.
Ohio State 35, Purdue 14