What I saw: The game may have looked like a battle involving two good defenses, but from what I’ve seen of OSU’s offense and Purdue’s defense thus far this year, it really appeared to be little more than an off day for the Ohio State offense. Like Michigan fans are learning this year, Ohio State fans found out that when you play a lot of young guys, there is going to be inconsistent play over the course of the year. This is especially true with a freshman at the quarterback position.
Defensively, the Buckeyes looked good. This can be taken with a grain of salt, of course, because Purdue is traditionally terrible against any defense that can be described as anything better than mediocre. Still, when you hold a Big Ten team to three points, you’re doing something right (this doesn’t apply when playing Michigan. If you let Michigan score three points this year, it might be grounds .for firing your defensive coordinator).
What I didn’t see: The gorilla-with-chainsaws-for-genitalia level of success I was expecting with Beanie and Pryor both in the backfield. Of course, it’s just Purdue, but that also carries the expectation that it’s just a Purdue defense, and even if your gameplan is vanilla, you should be able to have some success. Beanie didn’t look quite right, going down pretty easily and failing to eclipse 100 yards.
Defensively, I didn’t Purdue even have any legitimate scoring threats, so the Buckeyes were beyond solid on that side of the ball. Malcolm Jenkins was glorious, and the d-line did well.
Who I watched: Obviously, I watched the offensive line, and it wasn’t pretty. Over the course of this year, they’ve been wildly inconsistent (including pretty good against Wisconsin), which is troubling, as they’re a mostly veteran bunch. The holes weren’t very big (though, to their credit, usually Beanie does a lot of the creating himself in the form of running over defenders), and they gave up three sacks to a Purdue team that had only totaled that many through its first 5 games.
Pryor was inconsistent, as can be expected of a freshman. He will get better through the course of the year, just in time to kill Michigan with laser eyes and whatever other evil tricks will be up his sleeves.
Beanie Wells was not all that effective, which is something of a surprise. Purdue is near the bottom of the barrel in rush defense, and I thought he’d have a field day against the Boilers. He seemed to go down a little too easily, but when Purdue has nothing going on the other side of the ball, you can excuse an off day for the offense.
The defensive line was pretty darn good, though it looks like they’ll be without the services of Lawrence Wilson for the rest of the year. Still, they should be able to build on the performance against Purdue and start racking up more sacks.
The placekickers had an… interesting day. It seems like there might be something of a controversy brewing.
What I expect to see next week: I’m having a hard time getting a read on the MSU-OSU game. Coming into the year, I wasn’t all that impressed with Michigan State, and to be honest, I’m still not. Sure, they’re winning (and what more can you really ask?), but they are ridiculously one dimensional – and a good defense should be able to capitalize on that.
On the other hand, the Buckeyes are clearly not who we thought they were coming into the season. Still, I like them more than I like Michigan State, and I expect the Bucks to win a surprisingly close contest.
What this can tell us about The Game: Offensively, the Buckeyes really shouldn’t worry. If the offensive line plays well one game all year, they’ll save it for Michigan.
Defensively, the Buckeyes showed what they’re capable of doing if they play up to their potential. If they’re in peak form against the Wolverines, maybe Michigan should just punt on first down every series. Wait – then the Buckeyes might just block it for a TD.