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COLUMBUS – Ohio State travels to Purdue this weekend, knowing it faces a must-win game in an environment where the most recent experience was a nightmare.
The Buckeyes were ranked No. 7 in the country and flying fairly high when they visited Ross-Ade Stadium in mid-October of 2009, but five turnovers and all around sloppy play resulted in a 26-18 loss that ended any hopes of playing for a national championship that season.
“I can remember every bad play that happened,” Ohio State coach Luke Fickell said Tuesday at his weekly news conference.
The shock in that outcome continued, since it ended Ohio State’s 16-game Big Ten road winning streak, the second-longest streak in conference history. Beating the Buckeyes snapped a five-game losing streak for the Boilermakers.
This year’s Purdue team has four wins at home, and four of its five losses have come on the road. The Boilermakers got whacked 62-17 at Wisconsin last Saturday, but Fickell said Purdue’s radically different mentality at home makes that score meaningless.
“They’re a different team at home,” Fickell said. “They play a lot better at home and we have to make sure our guys understand that’s what you’re going to see.”