Late Comeback Goes For Naught In OSU Loss

Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller engineered another fourth-quarter rally, but a blocked PAT and too many mistakes conspired for a 26-23 overtime loss for Ohio State at Purdue. The defeat crippled the Buckeyes' chances for a berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.

Despite another fourth-quarter comeback engineered by freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, complete with a fourth-down touchdown pass, Ohio State made a few too many mistakes and dropped a 26-23 decision in overtime Saturday afternoon at Purdue.

Miller rallied a sluggish offense for a 66-yard touchdown march in the fourth quarter, throwing a 13-yard touchdown pass to junior tailback Jordan Hall with 0:55 showing on the clock. The play, coming on a fourth-and-3 play, tied the score at 20-20 and gave the Buckeyes an opportunity for the victory. But Purdue defensive tackle Bruce Gaston blocked the extra point to send the game into overtime.

The Buckeyes got a 33-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Drew Basil on their possession, but the Boilermakers converted two crucial third downs and then fifth-year quarterback Robert Marve scored on a 1-yard touchdown sneak for the victory.

The loss dealt a crippling blow to the Buckeyes' hopes for a trip to the inaugural Big Ten Championship game and a shot at a record seventh consecutive Big Ten championship. OSU dropped to 3-3 in the Leaders Division, two games behind Penn State, who dropped a 17-14 decision to Nebraska. The Buckeyes are also a half-game behind Wisconsin, a deficit that could go to a full game since the heavily favored Badgers take on Minnesota later today.

In the end, Ohio State simply made too many mistakes to pull out the victory.

The Buckeyes started slowly for the second straight game, spotting the Boilermakers a 10-0 lead as the defense seemingly couldn't corral any Purdue ball-carrier. Slowly, however, OSU got its footing and it finally had its chance to pull out the victory with Miller's touchdown pass to Hall.

Purdue outgained the Buckeyes by a 363-295 margin, including 234 yards through the air. Marve completed 10 of 13 passes for 94 yards while sharing playing time with junior starter Caleb Terbush, who had a 15-for-24 day in the passing department for 140 yards.

The Boilermakers had only 129 yards rushing on 42 carries, an average of only 3.1 yards per attempt. But they made the carries count, tallying three touchdowns on the ground. Junior running back Ralph Bolden led all rushers in the game with 80 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries while junior running mate Akeem Shavers had 19 yards on nine carries and also tallied a touchdown. Marve had the other rushing TD for Purdue on the game's final play.

Meanwhile, the Boilers enjoyed one of their finest defensive efforts of the season. They entered the game ranked tied for 10th in the Big Ten in rush defense, but limited the Buckeyes to 163 yards on the ground. OSU had rushed for 346 yards a week ago during a 34-20 win over Indiana and had been averaging 275.0 yards rushing during its three-game win streak.

Senior tailback Boom Herron, who had topped the 100-yard mark in each of his previous three games this season, was limited to 62 yards on 18 carries. Hall added 46 yards on nine carries.

Miller provided most of the offense, rushing 16 times for 43 yards and a touchdown, and completing 8 of 18 passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. Hall was on the receiving end of both TD passes – a 38-yarder in the second quarter and the 13-yard score near the end of regulation. Redshirt freshman T.Y. Williams logged the first two receptions of his career, good for 28 yards.

Purdue took advantage of the Buckeyes' sluggish start to grab an early 10-0 lead.

The Boilermakers got a 19-yard field goal from senior kicker Carson Wiggs and a 4-yard run from Shavers during a dominating first quarter. Purdue totaled 136 yards of offense in the opening 15 minutes while Ohio State mustered only 11.

The Buckeyes got back into things early in the second quarter, taking advantage of a short Purdue punt to march 68 yards in eight plays. The big plays in the drive were a 20-yard pass from Miller to Herron and a jump pass from the OSU freshman quarterback to Hall, who got a couple of excellent blocks to turn the play into a 38-yard touchdown.

That cut Ohio State's deficit to 10-7 at the 11:42 mark of the second quarter and the Buckeyes appeared to have weathered the storm. But the Boilermakers strung together a 13-play, 88-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 7-yard TD run by Bolden and gave Purdue a 17-7 lead with 3:19 left before halftime.

The biggest play during the possession was a roughing-the-passer penalty against OSU defensive lineman Johnathan Hankins after Marve had thrown incomplete on a first-and-18 play at his own 41.

But the Buckeyes began to cut into Purdue's halftime margin soon after the third quarter began. After the OSU defense forced its first three-and-out of the game, Miller moved the offense 58 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Hall took a direct snap 25 yards on the first play, and two plays later Hyde took a pitch around left end for 10 yards.

Miller later converted a big third-and-10 with a 14-yard scramble, and two plays after that, the OSU quarterback faked right and then cut left before outracing everyone to the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to make it 17-14 with 9:42 remaining in the third quarter.

Wiggs booted a 44-yard field goal to give the Boilermakers a 20-14 advantage at the 13:06 mark of the fourth quarter and it stayed that way until the Buckeyes took over at their own 34-yard line with 6:15 left.

Herron followed an excellent seal block from junior fullback Zach Boren for a 21-yard gain on the first play, and two plays later, Miller hooked up with freshman receiver Evan Spencer for 12 yards to push the ball to the Purdue 30.

Hall later converted a third-and-1 play with a 1-yard blast up the middle before taking a direct snap 7 yards to push the ball to the Purdue 12. Herron sliced over right tackle to get it to the 5, but that gain was wiped out when Ohio State was called for having too many men in the backfield.

On second-and-7, Miller was stopped for a 1-yard loss, and then on third down, the OSU quarterback scrambled for 5 yards to set up fourth-and-3 at the Purdue 13. Miller took the shotgun snap, dodged a would-be tackler, stopped and jumped into the air when he saw Hall free and waving at him near the goal line. The freshman floated the ball to Hall, who gathered in the touchdown pass just ahead of Purdue cornerback Josh Johnson.

That tied the game at 20 with 55 seconds remaining, setting up Gaston's block of Basil's PAT attempt to send it to overtime. Basil also missed a 50-yard field goal attempt at the end of the first half, ending a personal streak of 12 consecutive made three-pointers.

In overtime, the Buckeyes nearly pulled out another long third-down play, but Williams' reception of a Miller pass came up just short of the first-down marker on a third-and-15. OSU head coach Luke Fickell elected to kick rather than go for it on fourth-and-1, and Basil's 33-yard field goal gave Ohio State a brief lead.

But Marve scrambled for 6 yards on a third-and-4, and then rolled out and found sophomore receiver Gary Bush near the sideline for a 14-yard catch on third-and-12. That gave Purdue the ball at the 1-yard line, and Marve scored on the next play, stretching the football over the goal line to get the 26-23 victory.

Buckeye Sports Top Stories