Captain's Corner - Purdue thoughts

Just stay alive. Style points are worth absolutely nothing at this point. Strength of schedule, margin of victory, and Trev Alberts' opinion are completely meaningless right now. How does that saying go? "Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing."

The more I look back on the Purdue game, the more I realize what a barnburner we witnessed. I can see how that Purdue offense was rated #1 in the Big Ten. I can also see how that Purdue defense was rated #3 in the Big Ten. The Boilermakers are good. If that is a second-tier team in our league, then the Big Ten is doing something right. Now settle down SEC, and Pac-10, and Big 12 fans. I am not saying Purdue embarrasses the Hurricanes with that squad, I am just saying it isn't easy facing Joe Tiller in West Lafayette in November.

For a 10-6 game with only one touchdown, that contest did not lack any drama. It was a slugfest. Neither team was perfect, but I felt both teams played well. Sure there were some penalties, interceptions, and fumbles, but that happens when both teams play 100 mph. I thought both squads played good assignment football. Early in a football season, coaches put on the game film and catch all kinds of mistakes. Defenders blow coverages. Quarterbacks miss audible opportunities. Running backs miss cut back lanes. Remember though, these teams spend all week correcting those mistakes. Ten weeks into the season, most of those silly mistakes don't exist anymore. That is why goofy things happen in November. Teams have bought into the coach's philosophy. Players realize that these coaches know what they are talking about. A well-schooled OSU team cannot school opponents in mid-November the way they could in late August. That is why the month of November gets so interesting.

You could talk about many plays that went OSU's way.

Red zone interception by Dustin Fox.
Buckeye defense holding Purdue to 3 points after they intercepted Krenzel.
Tiller attempting a 36-yard field goal on 4 and 1 with a bad field goal kicker.
Purdue missing that same field goal.
Wilhelm interception setting up nice field position.
Nugent athletically kicking a rushed field goal with time expiring in first half.
Lydell Ross recovering the ball after he coughed it up.
Darrion Scott getting a huge 3rd and 13 sack. Michael Jenkins blocking a punt.
Krenzel recovering the bobbled snap.
Gamble being ruled down as he fumbled on punt return.
Wilhelm ruining the 3rd and 3 bootleg attempt inside the OSU 5, which saved a TD.
Touchdown to Jenkins.
Gamble interception.

Don't get me wrong, we could make a similar list of plays with OSU's mistakes. We could even make a list of the big Purdue plays that put them in good situations. The point is that seasons are made and seasons are broken with all these little battles inside the big battle. Effort and desire are critical, but Purdue had effort and desire. OSU won more of those little battles. Give the style points to someone else; I'll just take the victory.

Buckeye Leaves (Remember, Gamble gets them just for boarding the team bus)…

Michael Jenkins – Huge play. I cannot emphasize enough how critical his size is. A guy like Bam Childress is more electric, but Jenkins can do so much with his big frame. He makes it look easy. He made the 4th and 1 touchdown look easy.

Coach Tressel – Plays his best players on special teams. Jenkins block. Doss making tackles inside the 10. Nickey last week. A raw, inexperienced third-teamer won't make plays like those.

Matt Wilhelm – Size, speed, defends the run, defends the pass, leader, experienced, smart…do you want me to keep going.


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