Did you see today's game? If you didn't, don't worry... it will be on ESPN Classic very soon. In an exciting defensive battle, it was one burst of offense that kept Ohio State unbeaten as a 37-yard TD pass from Craig Krenzel to Michael Jenkins on a 4th and 1 late in the game sent OSU to a 10-6 win over Purdue and a 11-0 record. The Buckeyes have lived on the edge a few times this year, and this one was no different as they pulled out a magical victory in West Lafayette, Indiana.
The Buckeye defense and Purdue defense went toe-to-toe all day. The Boilermaker D played very well, holding OSU to 267 total yards and just 94 on the ground. It was Ohio State, however, who would rise to the occasion.
Purdue opened the first half at their own 20 and quickly moved the ball down the field with short passes and runs. The Boilermakers got down inside the red zone, but the Buckeye defense would come up big as Dustin Fox intercepted a Kyle Orton pass in the end zone. The Buckeyes took over from their at their own 20 and moved the ball out past the 40, but they fell short on a 3rd down play and had to punt. The Boilermakers returned the favor on their next drive as they could not convert on a 3rd down and punted it back to OSU.
The Buckeyes took the ball on their own 9-yard line, and after successful passes to Chris Gamble, Ben Hartsock and Lydell Ross and a Ross run, they moved out of bad field position, but a Craig Krenzel pass would be intercepted by Purdue's Nino Koutouvides and returned to the OSU 23. The Boilermakers moved down inside the 10-yard line and had a 1st and goal, but the Buckeye defense held them out of the end zone and kept them to a 21-yard Berin Lacevic field goal, giving Purdue a 3-0 lead.
Ohio State led off their next drive with a 26-yard pass to Chris Gamble, but they could not move the ball from there and were forced to punt. The Boilermakers took over on their own 20 and moved the ball downfield again, largely with the help of a 30-yard pass to Joey Harris. Purdue moved the ball deep into OSU territory again, but they would not score on this drive though as despite the fact they converted on a 4th and short on a previous series in the drive, the Boilermakers elected to try a 36-yard field goal with their second 4th and short of the drive and failed, keeping the score at 3-0.
OSU took over on their own 20 and moved the ball into Purdue territory, but they were held short on 4th down again and had to punt. The Buckeye defense would make another big play though as Purdue, who took over at their own 15, would turn the ball over again a few plays later when an Orton pass was intercepted by Matt Wilhelm. Ohio State took over late in the half at their own 41 and moved the ball up the field with some Clarett and Krenzel runs, but as the clock ran down, OSU faced a 3rd and long with no time outs. Krenzel dropped back to pass and took off running and fell short of the first down, and with the clock running, OSU's field goal team hurried onto the field. The clock was running, but with one second left on the clock, the Buckeyes got the snap off and Mike Nugent kicked a 21-yard field goal with no time left to tie the score at 3.
Things started out on the wrong foot for OSU in the second half. OSU started on their own 42, and on the third play of the game, Maurice Clarett re-aggravated his shoulder injury and left the game for good. The Buckeyes sputtered from there and were forced to punt.
On the following drive, Brandon Kirsch was in for Purdue at quarterback. The Boilermakers moved the ball some but were forced to punt soon after, and Ohio State took over at the 11-yard line. Ohio State once again could not do anything with the ball though as they went three-and-out and had to punt to Purdue. It was looking like the defense or special teams would have to come up with a big play in order for OSU to win.
The special teams did just that on the following Purdue possession. Purdue was forced to punt, and the Buckeyes delivered as Michael Jenkins burst through the line to block the punt and give OSU the ball at the Purdue at 37-yard line. The offense didn't follow through though as after a fumbled snap and a sack, they were forced to punt.
The Boilermakers took over at their own 10, but the OSU defense tightened and forced a three-and-out. The Buckeyes once again would have good field position at their own 48-yard line, but they too had to punt after three plays.
Purdue took over on their own 20-yard line, and on the first play of the drive, they hit a huge play as Kirsch hit Ray Williams on a 58-yard bomb. From there, Purdue moved it down inside the 10-yard line, but the defense held and forced the Boilermakers to kick a 32-yard field goal to give them a 6-3 lead.
On the following possession, OSU took over at their own 20-yard line and started moving the ball with a couple of Jenkins receptions, but they were once again forced to punt. Andy Groom booted it down to the Purdue 7-yard line, and the Buckeye D stiffened once again as they held Purdue to a three-and-out. Purdue punted it back to Ohio State, and Chris Gamble returned it to the Purdue 46-yard line.
With 3:10 on the clock, OSU took over with good field position, but after a sack and an incompletion, things were looking bleak. Craig Krenzel then hit Ben Hartsock for a 13-yard gain, setting up a 4th and 1 at the Purdue 37. With everything on the line, Krenzel dropped back to pass and let one fly. The ball landed perfectly in the hands of Michael Jenkins for a Buckeye touchdown, and the Mike Nugent PAT made it 10-6 Ohio State.
It wasn't over yet; Purdue got the ball back at their own 20 with 1:36 on the clock. Kyle Orton came back in the game for the Boilermakers, but after a few plays, he elected to go deep, and once again, Chris Gamble came down with a big interception. From there, the Buckeyes ran out the clock and sealed the win.
The Buckeyes definitely lived on the edge on the road once again today, but they once again came away with the win. Big plays at big times -- and a little luck -- gave Ohio State what they needed today.
- The Buckeye defense has now not given up a TD since the Larry Johnson TD run in the Penn State game, and against an offense like Purdue's, that is a big accomplishment. The bend-but-don't-break offense was successful again today as Purdue moved the ball well -- 333 total yards, 284 in the air -- but the Buckeyes kept them out of the end zone. The Buckeye D proved to be tough to run against once again as Purdue only had 49 yards rushing.
- Give a lot of credit to the Purdue defense. They played very well and did what they had to do to win the game. But one thing that has killed Purdue has been turnovers, and once again, the turnover differential was not in their favor. Ohio State came up with three as opposed to Purdue's one, and each one of the three -- Fox's INT in the end zone, Wilhelm's INT to set up the field goal drive, and Gamble's late game INT -- were huge. It also helped that the ball bounced OSU's way today when the Buckeyes put it on the ground. Each time they fumbled, they recovered the fumble and kept it out of Purdue's hands.
- Things look shaky right now for Maurice Clarett. As previously noted, he went out today again, and it looks like the problem isn't going to go away.
- The Buckeyes face a similar situation next week. They travel to Illinois -- another high-powered offensive team -- who is hanging on to bowl hopes by a slim margin. They posted an impressive 37-20 win at Wisconsin today. They are now 4-6, but if they win their final two games, they will be eligible to go bowling.
- 11-0... great job Buckeyes. Keep it going! Go Bucks!!!