In past seasons under Joe Tiller, a balanced offense for Purdue entailed a good mix of long and short passes. The running game was usually an afterthought.
But this year, the Boilermakers have one of the more balanced offenses in the Big Ten. They are fourth in the conference in passing (221.1 yards per game), sixth in rushing (159.8) and fifth in total offense (380.9).
"They're a great offense all-around," Ohio State nose guard Tim Anderson said. "They're balanced with the run and pass this year. They've got a good offensive line, good receivers, a great quarterback and it's going to be a great challenge for us and we've got to go in and play a great game."
Purdue is led by junior quarterback Kyle Orton (6-4, 220). He has thrown for 2,184 yards (61.7 percent completion percentage), 12 touchdowns and just four interceptions.
"He's a great quarterback," Anderson said. "Does a great job on that front of getting guys where they need to be and calling the right plays. He has a quick release and puts the balls where he needs to put them. He has a lot more experience and the more experience you have, the more comfortable you're going to be."
Strong safety Will Allen has also been impressed with what he's seen from Orton.
"He has a strong arm, a quick release and he and the receivers are on the same page in a lot of different things," Allen said. "They have real good checks and they're always on the same page. That's always good when you're on the same page with your receivers and you're comfortable with your receivers and you basically know what they're going to do when a play gets busted, or when something doesn't go right, they adjust to what Orton wants and they get it done."
Purdue has two standout veteran receivers in Taylor Stubblefield (6-1, 172, Jr.) and John Standeford (6-4, 190, Sr.).
Stubblefield – a three-year starter – has 68 receptions for 633 yards (9.3 per reception) and three touchdowns.
Standeford – a four-year starter – has 56 receptions for 841 yards (15.0) and two scores.
The Boilermakers like to run a "dink and dunk" passing game and very few teams do it better.
"They do what they do well," Allen said. "They've always done what they've done well. They have good quarterback in Orton and good receivers in Stubblefield and Standeford."
The Boilers start three receivers and Anthony Chambers (6-1, 200, Sr.) and Ray Williams (6-2, 188, So.) have been splitting time. Chambers has caught 19 balls for 174 yards (9.2) and one TD, Williams has hauled in 15 for 204 (13.6) and three TDs.
Giving PU's running game a nice boost this season has been tailback Jerod Void (6-2, 213, Jr.). He has 688 rushing yards (4.1 per carry) and 11 touchdowns.
"He's good," Anderson said. "He runs hard and keeps his legs turning and if a running back can do that, he's going to pick up a few extra yards. He's done a real good job for them this year."
Anderson has noticed that Purdue has ran the ball quite a bit in its recent games.
"They started running the ball a lot the last few weeks," he said. "They ran it… I don't know how many times, but they ran quite a few times last week against Iowa. And if an offense can run the ball and throw the ball, that adds more problems of what we've got to stop and what we've got to study and work on."
Purdue's offensive line is a solid group, but only two of its players started in 2002 (three counting the tight end).
Center Nick Hardwick (6-4, 284, Jr.) and RT Kelly Butler (6-8, 315, Jr.) are the returning starters.
The rest of the O-line includes: LT Mike Otto (6-5, 300, Fr.), LG: Matt Turner (6-3, 286, So.) and RG Tyler Moore (6-7, 294, Jr.).
The tight end is Charles Davis (6-6, 265, So.). The Boilermakers usually throw to their tight ends quite a bit, but Davis is primarily a blocker. He has just five receptions for 26 yards on the year.
"They're offensive line is very good," OSU defensive end Simon Fraser said. "They work together real well and they pick up schemes real well. They're very big and powerful, so we've got to go out there and apply as much pressure as we can."
Overall, Fraser and the Bucks know they'll be in for another tough test. They've faced a lot of good offenses this year and you can add the Boilers to the list.
"They mix it up and they are going to be tough to stop," Fraser said. "The past couple weeks they've established the run and Kyle Orton's done a heck of a job passing it and getting it out. They've just done a great job this season of mixing it up and changing their style of offense. They're very talented and big and fast, so we've just got to go out and play our game."