OSU boots Purdue-2
COLUMBUS - The plan was not to come out against Purdue yesterday and try and kick the Boilermakers into submission. No such strategy exists in college football.
But in Ohio State's 16-3 Big Ten win, the only time the ball crossed the goal line after about the first three minutes of the game was when it recoiled off the shoe of a soccer-style kicker.
The Buckeyes played dominant defense, got a special teams score and a trio of field goals, but never worked through the gear box offensively. For the second time this season, No. 12-ranked Ohio State went without an offensive touchdown.
"It was terrible," Ohio State freshman quarterback Terrelle Pryor said about the Buckeyes' performance, which netted just 222 yards. "Our defense was battling them the whole game, but on offense - we just played bad."
Of Ohio State's 12 possessions in the game, six ended in punts, four in field goal tries, and two were stopped by the clock.
The game's only touchdown came on Purdue's first series when Ohio State defensive back Malcolm Jenkins poured in and smothered a punt attempt by Purdue's Chris Summers. Buckeyes freshman linebacker Etienne Sabino picked the ball up on the run and went 20 yards for the score. With an extra point added by Ryan Pretorius, Ohio State led 7-0 just under four minutes into the game.
But that was it as far as end zone escapades for the Buckeyes. They had drives stall at the Purdue 5 and 7 yard lines, and Pryor, making his fourth straight start for Ohio State, was beyond glum after completing 10-of-14 passes for just 97 yards and finishing with 27 net yards rushing on 14 carries. He was sacked three times.
"We didn't move the ball at all," he said. "Everything went wrong. We've got to start clicking right now. But the bright side is our defense was on them all day, and we're 6-1 and 3-0 in the Big Ten."
The Buckeyes limited Purdue quarterback Curtis Painter to mostly short stuff as he went 23-of-51 for 228 yards, with one interception. Ohio State had the upper hand in the field position battle as well, as A.J. Trapasso put three of his kicks inside the 20.
"A.J. buried them deep, and our defense fought all day long and made them take the long path to the end zone," Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said. "They tried a couple of field goals from over 50 yards, and that was as close as they got."
Purdue missed one from 52 yards out on the final play of the first half and took the second half kickoff and drove from its own 14 to the Ohio State 36. From there, freshman Carson Wiggs made the first field goal of his college career - a Purdue record of 53 yards. That got the Boilermakers within 13-3 at the time.
Ohio State had added to its lead in the final minute of the first quarter after the Buckeyes' defense set things up at the OSU 37. Thaddeus Gibson stormed in on Painter, forcing a fumble that Ohio State's Lawrence Wilson recovered.
"Not many teams can play mistake-free football, but their defense definitely plays that way," Purdue running back Kory Sheets said. "The inability to score is baffling for us, but it's because they are that good."
After Chris "Beanie" Wells ripped off three straight runs totaling 45 yards, flattening a couple Purdue defenders with a stiff-arm en route, the Buckeyes advanced as far as the Boilermakers' seven. From there, Pretorius kicked a 24-yard field goal for a 10-0 Ohio State advantage.
The OSU defense got another assist on the next score after stopping Purdue on a fourth-and-one at the Buckeyes' 45. Ohio State moved to the Boilermakers' 32, where Aaron Pettrey banged in a 49-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes a 13-0 edge with just under five minutes left in the half.
Ohio State did not add to the lead until early in the fourth quarter when the Buckeyes advanced to the Purdue 5 before Pretorius hit a 22-yard field goal for a 16-3 lead.
Tressel said his team has a lot of work ahead of it before Saturday's trip to East Lansing to face a Michigan State team that has won six straight games after opening the season with a loss at California.
"Offensively, we didn't get near as much done as we're going to need to get done," Tressel said. "But we didn't turn it over, and that's critical in a Big Ten battle. I think when we watch the video, we'll feel as if we're a long ways away because we just didn't do things consistently and didn't come up with plays and didn't come up with explosive gains."
Wells, who missed a day of practice this past week with the flu, gained 94 yards on 22 carries for Ohio State.
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