We found out on Saturday why college football games are not played on paper.
Urban Meyer after the win over Purdue
Ohio State, coming in at 7-0, seemed to be a prohibitive favorite as it welcomed in Purdue, which had been blown out and trampled upon at home the last two weeks by Michigan and Wisconsin.
But that’s why they play the games.
With quarterback Braxton Miller knocked out of the game, things looked bleak for the seventh-ranked Buckeyes. But backup Kenny Guiton led OSU on a 61-yard scoring march in the final minute to force overtime. Carlos Hyde then had the game-winning 1-yard touchdown in the first overtime as the Buckeyes pulled out a wild 29-22 win before 105,290 Saturday at Ohio Stadium. The win averted the first loss in eight games for first-year OSU head coach Urban Meyer.
“That was a great, great win – a great team win,” Meyer said. “Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary. I mean, that was a moment that I'll certainly never forget. The bottom line is we're going to build on wins and build on being extremely positive in coaching these kids because they do listen to you.”
(For more from Meyer, check out the video above. We also have video below from defensive end John Simon.)
Miller was sent to nearby OSU Wexner Medical Center after suffering an apparent head injury late in the third quarter when he was tackled after a long run. As of 5:30 p.m., an OSU spokesman said he was still being evaluated.
The Purdue defense kept the reins on the dynamic Miller as he was 9 of 20 passing for 113 yards and an interception and only had 47 yards rushing on 12 carries with a touchdown for the Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0).
Guiton, a fourth-year junior, had subbed in for Miller at various points when the starter had been hurt. But none of those situations were like this with a game on the line. It was a moment he had been waiting for.
John Simon after the win over Purdue
“You have to have patience,” Guiton said of his long wait for meaningful playing time. “I’m not going to say I’ve always been (upbeat) about it. Sometimes I get down, and when I get down I talk to my mom and dad.”
Guiton ended up 6 of 11 passing for 77 yards with a touchdown (to Chris Fields with three seconds left in regulation) and an interception. Hyde had 19 carries on 91 yards and two touchdowns.
“This shows we have some guys who can step up,” Hyde said. “We all prepare during the week to play. There are backups who stepped up and played like starters.”
Asked to describe his emotions after the win, Meyer said, “I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure this bad boy out. We won, right?”
Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush was 17 of 25 passing for 224 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He hit Akeem Shavers for an 83-yard touchdown and Gary Bush for a 31-yarder, while Akeem Hunt added a 100-yard kickoff return for a score for the Boilers (3-4, 1-3), who nearly took wins over OSU in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.
“Our motto all week in practice for today’s game was everything to gain, nothing to lose,” said Purdue coach Danny Hope. “We knew we had to put ourselves in position to take the fight to them. It was a great football game, I’m proud of our players and they came out fired up with the will to win and didn’t let up all game. We just didn’t get the result we wanted on the scoreboard.”
Purdue had been blown out the last two weeks at home, falling to Michigan 44-13 on Oct. 6 and Wisconsin 38-14 last Saturday. In those two games, Purdue had given up 82 points, 1,054 yards and 771 yards rushing.
But going on the road to face the unbeaten Buckeyes, the Boilermakers came out ready to roll.
Braxton Miller vs. Purdue
They took over on offense at their own 17-yard line after the opening kickoff. TerBush executed a play fake and brought running back Akeem Shavers out of the backfield on a seam route. Shavers ran right by covering linebacker Storm Klein and easily hauled in the pass. There was no safety help over the top and Shavers was gone on the 83-yard touchdown on Purdue’s first play from scrimmage.
OSU’s Garrett Goebel blocked the PAT attempt, but Purdue led 6-0 just 17 seconds into the game.
OSU drove down to the Purdue 35 on its first possession, but Miller could not handle a hard snap from center Corey Linsley and Purdue’s Kawann Short recovered the fumble.
The teams exchanged punts until OSU embarked on a 10-play, 67-yard scoring march. Philly Brown started it with a 9-yard run. Facing fourth-and-2 at the Purdue 45, Hyde took it and cut outside for a 20-yard gain down to the 25. On third down there, Miller hit Brown on a crossing route. He picked up a block from Evan Spencer and got 17 yards down to the Purdue 8. On first down there, Miller faked a give to Hyde going left and kept it going right. Devin Smith had a block for him and he scored on the 8-yard run to put the Buckeyes up 7-6 with 5:29 left in the first quarter.
The lead was short lived, though, as Purdue’s Akeem Hunt fielded the ensuing kickoff 2 yards deep in his end zone and took off down the right sideline. He picked up a block (as well as what appeared to be hold that took OSU’s Adam Griffin out of the play) and weaved through traffic, finally beating kicker Drew Basil for the 100-yard kick return that put the Boilers back up 13-7 with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
OSU then went three-and-out, setting the stage for a monstrous 19-play, 85-yard possession by Purdue. The drive took up 10 minutes, 32 seconds of clock time and saw the Boilers pick up eight first downs. But on third-and-goal at the OSU 6, TerBush tried to fit in a slant pass to tight end Gabe Holmes over the middle. Linebacker Ryan Shazier tipped it up and safety C.J. Barnett intercepted it in the end zone for the touchback with 8:06 left in the first half.
“That was a great tip by Ryan,” said defensive end John Simon. “Noah Spence got some pressure on him and C.J. was able to come away with the pick. That was three playmakers coming together to make a play.”
But the Ohio State offense simply could not generate anything. Miller threw deep incomplete to end one drive. He was sacked by Purdue’s Ryan Russell on third down on the next one.
Purdue then drove down to the OSU 35 with 22 seconds left, but Paul Griggs’ 52-yard field goal was wide left.
OSU tried a Hail Mary at the end of the half, but Miller’s deep pass was intercepted by Purdue’s Josh Johnson just outside the goal line. That wrapped a miserable half that saw the Buckeyes net just 101 yards on 31 offensive plays.
OSU had the ball to start the second half, but went three-and-out as Miller passes went through the hands of Brown and Chris Fields incomplete. The OSU defense forced a punt, setting the stage for an eight-play, 80-yard scoring march by the Buckeyes.
Hyde ripped off a 17-yard run to convert a third down. Miller then hit Brown for a 19-yard gain to convert another. On first down at the 37, Miller took advantage of a coverage break by hitting Fields for a 35-yard gain down the sideline. Hyde came in on the next play and roared up the middle for the 2-yard touchdown, following blocks by tight end Jeff Heuerman and linemen Reid Fragel and Andrew Norwell. Basil’s PAT kick put the Buckeyes up 14-13 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.
Purdue answered with a meticulous eight-play, 82-yard scoring march. TerBush used one screen after another to keep the Buckeyes off balance. On first down at the OSU 31, he faked a give and hit Gary Bush on a screen in the right flat. It appeared that OSU corner Travis Howard was held by the outside receiver, but there was no flag and no other OSU tackler nearby and Bush rolled for the 31-yard TD that put the Boilers back up 20-14 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
On OSU’s ensuing possession, Miller was scrambling for a first down but was hit by Purdue’s Joe Gilliam and fumbled. Purdue’s Kawann Short recovered it at the OSU 37. But the Buckeye defense held and forced a 34-yard Griggs field goal. That kick was low and was blocked by OSU’s Johnathan Hankins with 29 seconds left in the third quarter.
On the first play of the next series, Miller kept it and ripped off a 37-yard gain. But it came at a price as Purdue’s Johnson dragged him down and Miller laid on the field for two minutes until he was helped to the sideline with an apparent head injury. He left the bench area on a cart for examination.
After the Miller injury, Hyde had a pair of 3-yard rushes and backup QB Kenny Guiton threw incomplete. Facing fourth-and-4 at the 33, Meyer opted for a 50-yard Basil field goal. But the kick went off the left upright and Purdue still led with 14:12 left in the game.
The Buckeyes were backed up to their own 1 by a Purdue punt. On second-and-6 from the 5, Guiton scrambled out of the backfield for an apparent first down. But the play was negated by a block-in-the-back penalty by the tight end Heuerman in the end zone. It was ruled a safety, giving Purdue a 22-14 lead with 10:11 left in the game.
The Buckeyes forced a Purdue punt and got it back on their own 20 after a touchback with 6:03 left in the game. OSU converted a fourth-and-2 predicament with a 9-yard run by Hyde. But there was no sense of urgency to the possession. In fact, OSU was penalized 5 yards for delay of game with 3:13 left. Facing third-and-13 at the 34, Guiton tried to go deep to wideout Jake Stoneburner. But the ball hung up, Purdue’s Taylor Richards tipped it and teammate Landon Feichter intercepted it with 2:40 left.
The OSU defense forced another Purdue punt with just under a minute remaining. Fields returned it to the OSU 39 with 47 seconds left.
Guiton immediately hit Smith for a 39-yard gain and then found Spencer for 8 more down to the Purdue 14. Hyde plowed ahead for 3 yards and a first down at the 11 with 19 seconds left.
On first down, Guiton spiked it to stop the clock with 15 seconds left. On third down, Guiton tried to go to Evan Spencer in the end zone. The pass was incomplete but Purdue’s Johnson was flagged for pass interference. OSU had first down at the 2 with eight seconds left. Guiton rolled left and hit a diving Fields at the goal line for the 2-yard touchdown to trim the gap to 22-20 with three seconds left.
“After that catch, I think I told him (Fields) ‘Thank you’ a million times,’ ” Guiton said. “Once I saw his hands under the ball, I knew he had it.”
The play withstood an instant replay review, although Fields said he had his hands under it and had it all the way.
“I knew I caught it,” Fields said. “There was no question. They didn’t even need to review it. That is a 3- or 4-yard route (into the end zone). It was a perfect call.”
OSU lined up for a two-point conversion from the left hashmark. The Buckeyes needed two points to get the game to overtime. Guiton rolled right and looked for a pair of receivers in the end zone. But he flipped it back over the defense to a wide open Heuerman in the left flat for the conversion to tie it at 22-22.
“Coach Vrabel told me after the game those are the hardest ones to catch and I definitely agree,” Heuerman said. “It seemed like the ball was in the air forever. It was a play we practiced over and over this week for our two-point conversion scenario and it worked just like we thought it would.”
OSU squibbed the kickoff and the final three seconds ticked off, sending the game to OT.
Purdue won the coin toss and elected to go on defense. Guiton hit Stoneburner for a 17-yard gain and a first down at the 8. Hyde then plowed for 5 yards, Guiton kept it for 2 and, on third-and-goal at the 1, Hyde leaped in for the 1-yard TD. Basil’s PAT made it 29-22 OSU.
“We knew after the offense scored to send the game to overtime it was time for the defense to step up and close the game,” said OSU linebacker Zach Boren. “I was confident we would be able to.”
Purdue then took over for its turn on the 25. TerBush threw incomplete on the first two downs, the second one under pressure from blitzing linebacker Ryan Shazier. TerBush hit Gabe Holmes for a 5-yard gain on third down, setting up a do-or-die fourth-and-5 at the 20. TerBush rolled right under pressure from Simon and heaved it out of the back of the end zone for Crosby Wright incomplete, touching off a huge OSU celebration.
“We had a pressure on where Nate (Williams) would come up and under and try and pressure the quarterback outside, which he did,” Simon said. “I was supposed to wrap around and draw the attention of some guys. We were able to get in his face and get a nice hit on him. I couldn’t see the ball. There were so many people in the way. But once you hear that crowd go crazy, you know it’s a good thing for us.”
“That was a big stand for us. The offense took over and scored a touchdown. It was up to the defense and we really challenged ourselves. That was a big hold for us.”
There were at least 20,000 empty seats in the Horseshoe as the Buckeyes celebrated an improbable win.
“I’ve never been a part of a comeback like that,” Boren said. “Everything was against us – fans leaving, injuries, field position – and we managed to pull it out. We clicked at the right time.”
Meyer was proud of the way his team kept battling.
“I think we talked the old saying the reason you work so hard is when you actually talked about that in the hotel this morning, when it really gets really hard, the people that don't work very hard just let go of the rope and do something else,” Meyer said.
“If you hold onto that the rope, it's an old analogy a lot of people have used. And it's amazing we did talk about it this morning in the hotel. The reason we do, it's so hard. You come in February, March, when it gets so friggin' hard, you can't give in; you've got too much invested that's my opinion why they won the game.”
* Here is the statement from Ohio State on Miller’s injury at 6 p.m. Eastern time:
“Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller left the game against Purdue late in the third quarter. He was taken to the Wexner Medical Center, on the campus of The Ohio State University, because of concerns of a possible concussion. He was examined – head, shoulders and neck – and he has been cleared. He is symptom free of all ailments and he is doing fine. He is in the process of being released from the hospital.”
* OSU also lost Philly Brown to a head injury. His status was unclear after the game.
* Fields tallied three catches after coming into the game without a reception this season.
“Chris Fields is a product of, I'd like to say, our program,” Meyer said. “That means three weeks ago he wouldn't have been on the field. But he just changed his whole dynamics, the way he works, his practice habits and his performance.
“You can go out there and work all you want and not make plays. But he's earned that right to be on the field. He was even playing before that before Philly went down, he was on the field, where three, four weeks ago he wasn't on the field.”
* Miller’s eight-yard touchdown run in the first quarter was his 10th of the season, moving him into fourth place on the Ohio State single-season rushing touchdown list by a quarterback.
* Ohio State’s eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the third quarter was the Buckeyes’ 21st drive of 70 or more yards this season. All 21 have resulted in touchdowns. Last year, Ohio State had nine drives of 70 or more yards.
* Sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier led the team in tackles for the fifth time this season with 12 stops, including 1.5 tackles for loss and one pass breakup. He leads the team with 77 tackles in 2012.
* Senior defensive lineman John Simon followed Shazier with nine tackles vs. the Boilermakers, one off his career high.
“It took a lot of toughness,” Simon said. “It was a total team win today. Anytime you can come away with a win you have to be happy, but to come away with that kind of a win shows the dedication this team has to each other.”
* Junior safety CJ Barnett collected his first interception of the season in Ohio State’s end zone at 8:06 in the second quarter to end a potential Purdue scoring drive. The interception ended a 19-play, 85-yard drive for the Boilermakers.
* Senior Zach Boren appeared as a linebacker for the second-consecutive game, notching five tackles. He has 14 tackles the last two games.
* Ohio State now leads the all-time series with Purdue 39-14-2, including 27-5-2 in Columbus. OSU has won 14 of the last 18 overall in the series. OSU has won the teams’ last nine meetings in Columbus, dating to a loss in 1988 (31-26).
Purdue was shooting to win back-to-back games in the series for the first time since 1960 and 1967.
* Shades of pink were prevalent inside the stadium as OSU will recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month on Saturday.
* The Buckeyes reached 8-0 to start a season for the third time in seven years, dating to 2006. Over the last 20 years, OSU has reached at least 8-0 on eight occasions: 1993 (started 8-0), 1995 (started 11-0), 1996 (started 10-0), 1998 (started 8-0), 2002 (finished 14-0), 2006 (started 12-0) and 2007 (started 10-0).
This is the fourth team Meyer has led to an 8-0 start in his 11th year as a head coach. Only two first-year OSU coaches have started 8-0. Carroll Widdoes was 9-0 in 1944 and eventually won his first 12 games before a loss. Earle Bruce posted an 11-0 record to open the 1979 before a Rose Bowl loss to USC.
* Urban Meyer’s teams are now 69-14 when ranked.
* OSU improved to 6-2 all-time in overtime games. The two losses were to Northwestern in 2004 and at Purdue last year (26-23). OSU is 2-1 against Purdue all-time in overtime.
The last game at Ohio Stadium to go into overtime was the Iowa game Nov. 14, 2009, a 27-24 victory for Ohio State. OSU is 4-0 all-time at home in overtime, while Meyer improved to 5-0 in overtime as a head coach.
* Ohio State travels to Penn State next Saturday (5:30 p.m., ESPN). Penn State (4-2, 2-0) was set to visit Iowa Saturday night.
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