The Ohio State Buckeyes (6-3, 3-2 Big Ten) travel to face the Purdue Boilermakers (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten) Saturday in a Big Ten battle.
The Buckeyes still have a shot at the Big Ten Championship Game, but the Boilermakers are no longer capable of qualifying for the year-end championship.
Regardless of the circumstances, you can still expect both teams to play hard in this rivalry game.
Where: Ross-Ade Stadium (Indiana)
When: 12:00 p.m. EST on Nov. 12, 2011
Watch: Big Ten Network
Ohio State -7, according to SportsBook.com
The spread is slightly lower than it was at the beginning of the week, but the change does not affect my pick—nor should it affect yours.
The touchdown gap can be scary in a conference game like this, but the strong Ohio State defense shouldn’t be challenged by the average Purdue offense.
I’d avoid this bet, but if you’re forced to pick, take the Buckeyes.
46, according to SportsBook.com
I’m surprised to see a Big Ten over/under this high, but it is college football. The Boilermakers have allowed 98 points in their last two games—both losses. The Buckeyes have scored 67 in their last two, both of which were wins over Big Ten foes.
Ohio State is capable of running up the score; they did beat Purdue 49-0 last year. However, the Buckeyes aren’t the same on offense as they were last year.
I’d vote under on this game, as I don’t expect much scoring from familiar opponents.
Key Injuries (According to College Injury Report)
Jordan Hall (RB) is the only new Buckeye on the injury report. He’s listed as doubtful with an ankle injury. The Buckeyes are deep at running back, so his injury isn’t a huge deal.
Peters Drey (OG) has been ruled out of Sunday’s game with a back injury—an issue that kept him out of last week’s game. His injury may keep him off the field for the rest of the season.
BCS/Top 25 Poll Implications
Ohio State is receiving the second-most votes for any team not in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes would most likely earn a spot in the rankings with their fourth-straight win on Saturday. Their BCS presence would also rise, with a possibility for an appearance in the rankings.
The Boilermakers would need to record more than one win to have a chance at either ranking system. Two-straight blowout losses have hurt the team’s chances for a bowl game.
Keys to Ohio State Win
The Buckeyes need to trust their multi-faceted run game and defense in this game. If they wear down the Boilermakers defense, it will pay dividends in the second half.
If the Buckeyes force the issue by going to the air, they’ll give the Boilermakers the chance they need to pull the upset. The Buckeyes need to trust senior linebacker Andrew Sweat and the defense to make stops.
Ohio State should pound the ball all game, giving each of running back double-digit touches if possible. In their win over Indiana last weekend, both Buckeye RBs and their QB gained over 100 yards.
Keys to Purdue Win
The Boilermakers need to do everything they can to get ahead early. If they fall behind, Ohio State will run, and that’s the last thing Purdue wants.
Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush needs to take some shots early. If they connect and score some early TDs, it will force Ohio State freshman QB Braxton Miller to prove himself, which he hasn’t done.
The Boilermakers need to pull the Buckeyes far from their comfort zone to earn a big conference win.
Ohio State 20, Purdue 9