Ohio State travels back to the Hoosier state for the 3rd time this season, and are hoping to make it back for a 4th time to the capital city in December. To get there though, they need to get a win against a Purdue team who has not forgotten about the last time that the Buckeyes traveled to West Lafayette. Ryan Day was the offensive coordinator on that team, and both Josh Proctor and Matt Jones are the only players who lived that game. I am sure the prep this week has all about not laying an egg, especially with all that is at stake next week against Penn State.
For the first time this season, the Buckeyes will not be on a national broadcast network, and instead will be on Peacock, which is NBC’s streaming platform, and part of the package deal for the new Big Ten media rights deal which is earning each team north of $100 million.
Ohio State is one of 14 remaining unbeaten teams in the FBS and ranks in the top quarter FBS scoring offenses (35.0) and top five in scoring defenses (10.2). Purdue, meanwhile, is near the bottom third in both categories (25.7 points per game scored, 28.0 allowed).
For Ohio State, they will look at taking care of business and getting out with a win. For Purdue, they are looking to get a win that can help turn thier season around, but with injuries at key positions, this might a higher hill to climb.
Know the Opponent:
Head Coach: Ryan Walters (1st season)
2023 Record: 2-4
Location: West Lafayette, IN
Conference: Big Ten
Ohio State Preview
Ohio State enters the game 5-0, one win away from bowl eligibility, but knowing they have higher aspirations than making a bowl game. Last week against Maryland, the Buckeyes did not look sharp running the ball and were held to under 100 yards rushing. In a program like Ohio State, the standard is the standard, and that just is not good enough. This week Justin Frye mentioned that he was not pleased, and went back to basics with the offensive line. They have the ability to do what the offense demands, they just have to execute, and show they can perform on that level.
For Kyle McCord, he will need to continue to step up as a passer and a leader of this offense. For the season he has passed for 1375 yards with 8 touchdowns, and 1 interception which was all the way back in week 1 against Indiana. He might be without his second favorite receiver, and in Wednesday he was wearing a wrap on his ankle, so his health might be a slight concern, but he said it would not be an issue.
TreVeyon Henderson is expected to be back after missing last week due to an injury. He still leads the running back room with 295 yards rushing, and 5 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards a carry. Maybe he will be the piece the offense needs back to get their run game back on course. Chip Trayanum though has been a solid back this year and has a lot of the same qualities as Trey. He has 207 yards now for the season, after being the lead back against Maryland, and has 3 rushing touchdowns. Miyan Williams has been silent this season, with only 96 yards on the ground, but he might be a valuable asset to help with short yard and red-zone plays.
Enjoy Marvin Harrison Jr in the scarlet and gray while you can, because he is top 5 pick next year. Even with an ankle injury he sustained against Notre Dame, he put up over 100 yards against Maryland, and has 499 yards with 4 touchdowns, averaging nearly 100 yards a game despite not getting targets as much against Indiana and Notre Dame. Cade Stover has continued to be a good safety net for McCord, and recorded his first touchdown of the season last week. He is second on the team with 306 yards. What will be interesting to see is who gets that third spot with Egbuka likely out this game. Will it be Julian Fleming who is 4th on the team with 153 yards? Or will this be the welcome party for freshman Carnell Tate who was one of the quickest freshman to lose their black stripe. Or will it be Mr Block O jersey-man Xavier Johnson, who Hartline had praise for this week in media availability? Whoever it is, this is a great time go get depth in that position as the competition gets harder.
Purdue hopes to make its home field again the great equalizer to Ohio State though Walters knows it will take more.“You prep and go to work in film study and everything the same every week whether you’re playing for the Super Bowl or West Lafayette,” Walters said. “That way you’re not cutting corners and making it more than what it is. You’re just diving into the details of your assignment, the scheme, the technique, and ultimately trying to put yourself in position to make plays and go win a game.”
The Boilermakers have had a tough season already, especially after Jeff Brohm left and the end of last year and is leading an undefeated Louisville team. Purdue lost a close game to Fresno State who was ranked going into last week until they lost to Wyoming. The beat Virginia Tech on the road, but then lost two straight to Syracuse and Wisconsin. They did get a big win against Illinois at home, but lost last week to an Iowa team that lost their starting quarterback.
Hudson Card transferred from Texas, and is the starting quarterback for Purdue. He has passed for 1491 yards on the season with 6 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. He has been sacked 14 times this season, and without their top lineman at right tackle, this Buckeyes might try to add to that total.
Devin Mockobee is the lead running back, and has 368 yards rushing with 4 touchdowns. He has also caught 14 passes for 94 yards. Behind him is Tyrone Tracy Jr, who has 50 carries for 296 yards 5 touchdowns. The third leading back is Dylan Downing who has 143 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.
The top receiver is Deion Burks, who has 396 yards on 24 catches, and 4 touchdowns. Abdur-Rahmaan Yaseen also eclipses the 300 yard mark with 329 yard with 25 catches. The third leading receiver to keep an eye on is TJ Sheffield, who has 284 yards and 1 touchdown.
Kyle McCord. The spotlight will continue to be on Kyle McCord, who has struggled getting into a rhythm in the beginning of the past few games, which part of that has to do with the run game struggles. With Henderson coming back from injury, and the likelihood Egbuka will be out for the game, McCord will need to step up and show that he is the quarterback that can help the Buckeyes win the Big Ten.
Dillon Thieneman. They freshman phenom safety has had a breakout year with Purdue, with 53 tackles and 3 interceptions on the season. He’s a talented player who can cover a lot of ground based on his skillset and athletic ability.
Water Cooler Stat of the Game
33-0. The story lines will be how Ohio State is 3-5 in West Lafayette since 2000, but to me the difference from those previous games is that Ryan Day is 33-0 against unranked opponents. He has beaten every team his team is expected to beat, and his only conference losses come against Michigan.
The Buckeyes make their first trip to West Lafayette since 2018, but this years team have to worry about a trap game against the Boilermaker. Ohio State has started the last few games offensively with a slow start, but with Purdue’s rushing defense ranked 85th in the country, the Buckeyes can hopefully gain confidence on the ground, and give Kyle McCord a chance to make one more impression before the big showdown next week against Penn State. One of the intriguing story lines will be about who steps in incase Egbuka is not able to play after his injury last week against Maryland, but I am sure Hartline will have the next man ready to go. Ohio State covers the spread on the road, and comes back home 6-0.
Ohio State 42 – Purdue 13