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COLUMBUS — An Ohio State defense that needs a stenographer to take inventory of its injured and missing players threw a net over Purdue Saturday and had a big hand in the 49-0 demolition of the Boilermakers.
The Buckeyes' defenders registered their first shutout since a 45-0 pounding of New Mexico State about a year ago, but did so against a Purdue team that had been averaging more than 200 yards rushing per game.
Somewhat limited by injuries of its own, Purdue had 27 rushes for just 30 yards against the Buckeyes — averaging only 1.1 yards per carry. The Boilermakers had 118 total yards in 55 offensive plays — 2.1 yards per play. They had averaged about 360 yards per game previously.
Ohio State linebacker Andrew Sweat, who was in the starting lineup since senior Ross Homan injured his foot last week in the loss to Wisconsin, said the Buckeyes needed to get back to relying on their strengths.
“What we had to do was get back to attacking,” Sweat said. “That's when Ohio State is at its best.”
With Purdue's seven first half possessions all ending in punts or turnovers, OSU put the throttle down and surged to a 42-0 lead.
“The defense made big stops for us and they were really keeping the momentum going for us,” Ohio State senior wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher said.
“There were times when it seemed like the offense just sat down on the bench, and then we had to get back out there. That was one of the things that we needed to get back to. Being in control like that, it's easier to carry things out on both sides.”
Purdue managed just 47 yards in that first half, despite the fact Ohio State's defense was missing five of its top players.
“Our defense just took over,” Ohio State coach Jim Tressel said.
The Buckeyes, who allowed fewer than 10 points for the third time this season, got interceptions from safety Orhian Johnson and backup linebacker Storm Klein and a career-high eight tackles from Sweat.
“We've had some young guys come in and get in some plays, which we need with all the injuries in the secondary,” Johnson said.
Defensive tackle Dexter Larimore, who had a major role in stopping Purdue's running game, said he was pleased to see the Buckeyes put everything together.
“Just because we're Ohio State doesn't mean we're going to win,” he said. “This really shows what can happen when we play like we are capable of playing.”
GANT'S TIME: Aaron Gant, a fifth-year senior defensive back from Detroit, made the first start of his career for Ohio State.
CINEMA BREAK: During timeouts Saturday, a small film crew from the Kurt Russell movie Touchback was on the field at Ohio Stadium shooting snippets of football sequences, with one actor playing quarterback, and another playing wide receiver. Russell plays a coach in the film, which began shooting in Michigan in August.
CATCH STREAK: Ohio State junior wide receiver DeVier Posey had four catches for 84 yards and a touchdown and has caught at least one pass in 22 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.
IDENTITY ISSUE: Ohio State has two freshman players named Corey Brown, both from Pennsylvania. Wide receiver Corey Brown, from the Philadelphia area, had the first touchdown reception of his career, a 15-yard pass from Terrelle Pryor near the end of the first half. Defensive back Corey Brown, who comes from the Pittsburgh area, injured his knee and had to be helped off the field.