WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana- All the talk all week was about the potential of Purdue being the trap game on Ohio State’s schedule.
The Buckeyes did not look in control in recent wins over Indiana and Minnesota, and Purdue came in with three-straight wins and a top 10 offense in yards.
It was a night game, it was on the road and Purdue had weapons in the pass game that looked to exploit Ohio State’s pass defense. The momentum was not in favor for the Buckeyes.
These storylines were talked about all week. The Buckeyes knew about the storylines all week.
It didn’t matter.
Purdue exploited all of them in a 49-20 victory over No. 2 Ohio State.
“How surprised? Very surprised, I thought we had a good week of work, the glaring shortcomings we have, like you said were exposed,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “you gotta score points. We never had this issue so we’re gonna get a real thorough evaluation of that.”
Redshirt senior quarterback David Blough challenged the Ohio State defense all night, and threw two touchdowns in the first half to give the Boilermakers a lead early in the game.
After both Ohio State and Purdue combined for four punts to start the game, the Boilermakers opened up the scoring on a 15-play, 98-yard drive, leading to Blough finding senior wide receiver Isaac Zico on a 13-yard play in the corner of the end zone.
On a perfect catch and throw, Zico managed to avoid the solid coverage by redshirt junior cornerback Kendall Sheffield, and bring down the ball with one hand, putting Purdue up 7-0 late in the first quarter.
This set the tone for the Purdue offense against Ohio State, which used slant routes and short throws up the middle to open up a part of the defensive that the Buckeyes have struggled with all season.
Just before halftime, Purdue drove eight plays for 80 yards, capped off with Blough finding freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore in the endzone with 29 seconds to go in the second quarter to lead 14-3 at half.
Before Blough found the endzone, Purdue successfully executed a fake field goal to get the ball down inside the 10-yard line, eventually leading to the Moore touchdown.
“Obviously we have a little bit of a tendency there, and they executed and we did not, so those are all part of things I gotta evaluate,” Meyer said.
Blough threw 25-for-43 with 378 yards and three touchdowns, with freshman wide receiver Rondale Moore being his main target all day, catching 12 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns.
The Boilermakers went into the first half leading with 256 yards of total offense to the Buckeyes’ 207.
But Ohio State has been a second-half team all season, not allowing a point to Minnesota a week ago, and coming back from down 12 in the fourth quarter to Penn State.
The third quarter started as expected, Ohio State drove all the way down to the red zone with a quick set of plays, but could only muster a field goal.
Purdue took advantage, with redshirt senior running back D.J. Knox pounding it through the Boilermaker offensive line for a touchdown, advancing the Boilermakers’ lead to 21-6.
The Buckeyes again looked like they could stop the train, driving down to the 2-yard line before getting stopped again in the red zone. This time Ohio State went for it on fourth down, targeting redshirt wide receiver K.J. Hill on a screen. But the pass was broken up, resulting in a turnover on downs.
“A lot of missed opportunities tonight that resulted in this loss, but nothing to do with bad play calling or bad scheme,” Redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins said. “It’s just play better.”
Purdue finished off any chance Ohio State had of coming back with a 42-yard touchdown run by Knox on third and nine to put the Boilermakers up 28-6.
Knox scored a second insurance touchdown with less than seven minutes ago, this one from 40 yards, to keep Purdue up 22.
Knox finished the day with 15 carries for 131 yards and three touchdowns.
Haskins answered between the Knox touchdowns with a 32-yard score to redshirt senior Johnnie Dixon with 9:36 to go to cut the lead to 28-13.
Haskins connected again with less than five minutes remaining to redshirt senior wide receiver Terry McLaurin from 34 yards to bring the game to 35-20.
Haskins continued his string of strong numbers, completing 48 of 72 passes for 470 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. The completions and yards were both Ohio State records.
“I never thought I would have to throw 72 times to win the game,” Haskins said. “You got to do what you got to do to win and this ended today, so we have to figure out what we have to do for Nebraska.”
The Haskins interception by junior linebacker Markus Bailey was returned for a touchdown, sealing Purdue’s 49-20 win.
The Buckeyes’ run game continued to struggle, combining for only 76 yards on 25 carries for 3 yards per rush.
“I look up at the board and I see the rushing yardage again and we’re just gonna, you know we just gotta get something going, you can’t just throw for 400 yards,” Meyer said. “Down the stretch here we gotta get some run game.”
Ohio State finished with 546 total yards to Purdue’s 539.
Junior wide receiver Austin Mack left the game on a cart with an undisclosed injury in the third quarter. He finished the game with one catch for 24 yards.
Redshirt junior cornerback Damon Arnette did not play in the game due to injury he suffered last week against Minnesota.
“We’re 7-1, and our objective is get to be 8-1 and find a way to get these things fixed in the bye week and get some guys healthy,” Meyer said. “We’re on fumes in the back end of our defense right now, so we gotta get some guys healthy.”
Ohio State has a bye week, and will next face Nebraska on Nov. 3 at Ohio Stadium.
Story updated at 1:22 a.m. to include postgame quotes