2021 Game Preview: Ohio State vs Purdue
Ohio State and Purdue enter this game both ranked in the College Football Playoff poll, with Ohio State at #4, and Purdue at #19. The Buckeyes are entering this game with everything ahead of them still with Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoff hopes alive. Their offense, which has been their best unit this season, has struggled the past two weeks against good defense, and the Boilermakers will create some challenges for a third straight week. Purdue is off a win against Michigan State, who fell from 3rd to 7th in this weeks CFP poll, and this is the second win against a top 5 team the Boilermakers have defeated this season. They last time these two teams met, Ohio State lost in West Lafayette 49-20 due in large part to not being able to stop Rondale Moore, who is now playing for the Arizona Cardinals. Purdue also has some added motivation for this game as they are currently in a 4 way tie with Wisconsin, Iowa, and Minnesota for the top of the Big 10 West, and seeking their first ever appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game. The game will kickoff at 3:30pm on ABC, and should be under the lights by around the end of halftime.
Head Coach: Jeff Brohm (5th season)
2021 Record: 6-3
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Conference: Big 10
Ohio State Preview: The Buckeyes moved up one spot this week in the College Football Playoff poll, in part due to this weeks opponent. Based on what the players and coaches are saying, the Boilermakers have Ohio State’s attention. With Purdue being ranked, Ohio State now would have to play 6 straight top 25 teams in order to win a national championship. Also, if they are able to win out the rest of the regular season, they should move to the top 2 based on resume.
CJ Stroud has 2,675 yards for the season with 25 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, but still completing 67% of his passes. He made a comment that his job is to pass the ball, but the coaches have iterated they are not telling him not to run. We will see if he becomes more of a running threat during this stretch.
TreVeyon Henderson leads the team with 937 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns on 128 carries. He also has 15 catches for 219 yards receiving and 3 touchdowns. Miyan Williams is second on the team with 318 yards and 2 touchdowns. Master Teague is third with 253 yards and 3 touchdowns.
With Garrett Wilson missing last week, and a monster game against Nebraska, Jaxon Smith-Njigba leads the team in receiving with 50 catches for 888 yards and 4 touchdowns. Wilson is in second with 687 yards and 43 catches for 6 touchdowns. Chris Olave has 42 catches for 623 yard and leads the team with 10 touchdowns.
Purdue Preview: Purdue’s season has been up and down this year, but has played 5 teams already in the top 25 with Notre Dame, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan State, and Minnesota. The “Spoilermakers” defeated Iowa this season when they were ranked number 2, and Michigan State last week when they were ranked 3. They do have losses though to Notre Dame, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
As a team, they rank 60th in total offense with 409 yards a game, and 25th in total defense, giving up 328 yards a game.
Quarterback Aidan O’Connell has 2,087 passing yards for the year with 12 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. His 71% completion percentage is 5th best in the country. He is not a running threat, and has been sacked 14 times already for the year.
Running back King Doerue leads the team with 395 yards on 105 carries and 2 touchdowns. Behind Doerue is Dylan Downing and Zander Horvath who both have 137 yards rushing. For the year, Purdue has only rushed for 694 yards as a team.
Purdue is better known for their passing attack this season, and is led by wide receiver David Bell, who leads the Big Ten in receiving yards with 1,003. He has 64 catches and 5 touchdowns. Behind him is Milton Wright, who has 36 catches for 368 yards and 3 touchdowns. Payne Durham, the Boilermaker tight-end, has 36 catches for 356 yards and 4 touchdowns. On the season, Purdue has 2,993 passing yards and 19 touchdowns.
Buckeye Spotlight: CJ Stroud. Stroud did not look as sharp against Nebraska last week, but is still in the running for many awards. With no front runner for the Heisman, this stretch of games will give him a chance to seize it. With Garrett Wilson back this week, the offense should be at full strength.
Boilermaker Spotlight: David Bell. He is one of the top wide receivers in the Big Ten, and has showed up in games that have mattered for Purdue. If the Boilermakers want to keep up with the Buckeyes, Bell will be the primary target.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game: 3-3. Ohio State is 3-3 against Purdue in their last 6 games, with all wins coming in Columbus. It is arguably the weirdest but most competitive series for the Buckeyes since 2000.
Prediction: Purdue has earned the respect to play spoiler as they have done so far this season with Iowa and Michigan State. The biggest difference is that Ohio State has much better talent than both of those teams, and they have already lost one, so the need to remain perfect from this point is in the back of their minds, and Purdue has Ohio State’s attention. There might be a small revenge factor from the 2018 season, but at the same time revenge can only carry you so far. Purdue will score because they just have players that will be hard to contain all game, but Purdue has losses to teams they had no business losing to based on their performances against teams that matter. I expect the offense to be aggressive in the redzone, and convert touchdowns where they had settled for field goals these past two weeks.
Ohio State 49 – Purdue 20
Photo Credit to Bleacher Report
The Buckeyes will not let Purdue ruin another season this year. Instead this game will be used as a building block for Ohio State’s resume.