5 Answers: Purdue at Ohio State

This week Ohio State was tasked with controlling one of the country's best defensive linemen, stopping a running game that was on a roll, preventing any surprising pass plays and tightening up special teams. Terrelle Pryor was a focus as well. To see how those things played out, check out this week's Five Questions.

1. Will Ohio State avoid getting Kerriganned again?

Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan beat J.B. Shugarts for a sack on Ohio State's second pass attempt of the afternoon, but otherwise he had little impact on the game.

He was, however, a big part of the game plan.

"The one thing about him is he's going to attack you," Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel said, noting the Buckeyes called screen passes to use his aggressiveness against him and motioned the tight end prior to the snap to put him in less advantageous positions.

"We did want to trade our tight end a little bit and make him switch technique that he normally plays, and we wanted to zone block him a little bit too and put two people on him and have him rub off up to the linebacker level. There was definitely a lot of thinking with (Kerrigan) in mind."

Kerrigan finished with four tackles, including 2 1/2 for loss.

"He also was a great indicator of where they were blitzing from because he's a guy that was their ‘big stick' blitzer that goes two gaps over on zone blitzes, so we had a pretty good feel for where he was going to be," Tressel said. "We have a lot of respect for the kind of player he was, and it will be interesting to look back in the film how successful we were. We chipped on our backs a little bit with him."


2. Can the Buckeyes stop the Purdue running game?

Ohio State emphatically snapped Purdue's streak of five consecutive games with at least 200 yards rushing.

The Boilermakers entered Ohio Stadium averaging 202.3 yards per game but managed only 30 against the Buckeyes.

"I think our whole team just played well," defensive lineman Cameron Heyward said after recording five tackles. including one for loss. "It wasn't just the defensive line, it wasn't just the linebackers, it wasn't just the DBs, it was everybody working together, and I think we just executed very well."


3. What about the Boilermaker passing game?

Although running had been the Purdue bread and butter all season, the Boilermakers figured to need to hit some plays through the air to knock off the Buckeyes.

They came nowhere close.

Purdue quarterbacks Rob Henry and Sean Robinson combined to complete 15 of 28 passes for only 88 yards with two interceptions.

The longest Purdue completion of the day was 14 yards, and that came in the fourth quarter when the outcome had long been decided and Ohio State's starting defense had gone to the bench.


4. Which Terrelle Pryor will show up at Ohio Stadium?

Ohio State's quarterback shook off poor performances a week ago at Wisconsin and a season ago at Purdue to turn in an efficient 16-for-22 passing day.

He totaled 270 yards through the air with three touchdowns, and even a pair of interceptions did not dampen his day much.

"The one interception I was supposed to read the middle linebacker and I read it wrong," Pryor said. "I thought I would get it out real fast and just catch it for a hitch for about five or six yards. The second time the defensive end dropped and I had no clue. I was trying to get the ball to Dane (Sanzenbacher).

"I think at the end of the day we had a decent throwing day, but we can always get better."


5. Will a team make a game-changing play on special teams?

Although a 35-yard kickoff return by Purdue's O.J. Ross seemed to have Buckeye fans holding their breath, two special teams plays helped Ohio State build its early momentum.

"I thought the one time where we got walled off a little bit and they creased it and it looked like a real long return, now, it was out to the 37 because they ran all the way across the field, but when they're running that long with the ball on kickoff return, you get nervous," Tressel said. "I thought we improved a little bit."

The Buckeyes opened their first possession from the Ohio State 40-yard line after return man Jordan Hall allowed the opening kickoff to roll out of bounds inside the 5.

"As weird as it sounds, we got a little bit of momentum by not touching the ball," Sanzenbacher said.

The second OSU touchdown drive started from the Purdue 39 after an Ohio State punt bounced off the head of a Purdue player and Jermale Hines scooped it up.


Buckeye Sports Top Stories