West Lafayette has been a strange house of horrors for Ohio State over the past 20 years. During a span where the Buckeyes have dominated the Big Ten conference, the biggest thorn in their side has been playing at Purdue. The Boilermakers are 5-3 in their last eight home games against Ohio State.
Will the nightmares continue on Saturday?
Look for Ohio State to get off to a better start offensively. Ryan Walters likes running a 3-3-5 with three tight defensive linemen and a very deep middle of the field safety.
The Buckeyes will likely reduce the use of two tight ends offensively and continue to lean more heavily on RPOs featuring Marvin Harrison. Defensively, Jim Knowles will likely continue increasingly mixing coverage concepts.
Ohio State 36 Purdue 15
What Purdue lacks in consistency, they make up for in untimely mistakes. When they put it all together, however, they’re just dangerous enough to put an eye out. Boiler quarterback Hudson Card can do everything, but is also mistake prone. This is a Buckeye defense that has been able to capitalize on mistakes. I don’t expect that to end in this one. Getting TreVeyon Henderson back will help the running game — or at least mask the issues somewhat. The weather may be a concern, but shouldn’t be an issue.
Purdue will attack defensively, and if the offensive line can hold up and Kyle McCord can anticipate, the Boilers will give up some big plays. Purdue will need to play their best game to make this one close. I don’t think that happens.
Ohio State 34 Purdue 13
I’m throwing out the recent history here. Is it the most bizarre thing in all of sports that Purdue has won more times than not in West Lafayette over the past quarter-century? Yes.
Can I explain it? Nope.
But it’s a different year and different teams. Purdue does not play an offensive style that is conducive to keeping this close given the talent mismatch. The Boilermakers do not have a threatening enough run game to play keep away and wear down the OSU defense and quarterback Hudson Card has been just as likely to turn the ball over as throw a touchdown pass this season.
Furthermore, say what you want about Ryan Day, but he doesn’t lose these types of games. It takes a playoff caliber team to beat Ohio State under Day’s leadership and I don’t see that trend being broken this weekend.
Ohio State rolls in its “House of Horrors”.
Ohio State 38 Purdue 13
It is easy to allow the history of a series or even part of the history of a series to enter the equation and throw off all of your numbers. Three and Five are two numbers that are being thrown around here a lot, Ohio State’s record at Purdue since the 2000 season. Not every game has been against Ohio State, but we are not talking about a 56-0 win in that timeframe, nor are we talking about Holy Buckeye in 2002. We remember the 2018 loss, we remember the 2009 loss, when you don’t lose many, they all stand out like sore thumbs (apologies to Tommy Eichenbrerg).
None of that should matter this year, right?
Ohio State is the better team on paper, there is no doubting that. And that is even with accepting that Ohio State is not a fully-formed offense as of yet. But Ohio State’s defense on the other hand has rounded into shape and should keep the Buckeyes in any game that they play.
Purdue is banged up on both sides of the ball and wasn’t all that good with its full roster of players.
Ohio State is not going to come out of the gate humming, I just don’t think we are quite there yet, but Ohio State’s defense will keep Purdue largely in check while Ohio State’s offense warms up in the 2nd and 3rd quarters and puts together a handful of nice drives, with or without Emeka Egbuka in the lineup.
It is not going to be one of those games that fans are going to be watching on their DVR over and over again. They can’t, this game is streaming.
That might be for the best.
Ohio State 35, Purdue 10
Despite what you probably think, Ross-Ade Stadium isn’t haunted. Okay, I guess technically based on all available information, Ross-Ade Stadium PROBABLY isn’t haunted, despite what the majority of Ohio State’s trips there this century might have led you to believe.
That’s unfortunate for the Boilermakers because they are only in year one of the Ryan Walters era, at a significant talent deficit compared to the Buckeyes, have some key players banged up, and while the weather is supposed to be a little bit rainy, it shouldn’t materially change the outcome of the game.
Unless Purdue can somehow find a way to lean on the supernatural, they’re going to come up short.
Ohio State 31 Purdue 17