Ohio State’s drive for a November to Remember was derailed by the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday.
Jordan Hall hauled in this TD catch with 55 seconds left but it wasn't enough to lift OSU to victory at Purdue (Photo by Gary Housteau)
The Buckeyes came into Saturday’s game in West Lafayette needing three wins and some help to have a chance to play in the first-ever Big Ten title game. They got the help as Nebraska knocked off Big Ten Leaders Division-leading Penn State 17-14 in State College.
But OSU got off to a slow start, couldn’t consistently tackle on defense and couldn’t establish the run on offense. It all added up to a 26-23 win in overtime for Purdue before 43,334 at Ross-Ade Stadium.
“Obviously it’s disappointing to lose,” said OSU coach Luke Fickell. “That’s the number one thing we talk about, whether it takes us out of contention for our ultimate goals or whatever. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and our guys have fought through a lot of things.”
OSU trailed 17-7 after a dismal first half, but rallied with a touchdown with 55 seconds left to tie it at 20-20 as Braxton Miller hit Jordan Hall with a 13-yard scoring pass on a fourth down. However, the PAT kick was blocked. After Orhian Johnson intercepted a Purdue pass with 12 seconds left, the game was headed to overtime.
OSU then got a field goal in overtime, but Purdue quarterback Robert Marve ended it with a pair of third-down conversions to set up his own 1-yard quarterback sneak. The play set off a massive onfield celebration for the Boilers and their fans.
“I’m really happy for Robert Marve,” said Purdue coach Danny Hope, whose team moved within one win of securing its first bowl bid since 2007. “He made a great play there in overtime (with a pass) and then a great sneak to get in the end zone and win the game. It’s a great story with a great ending today.”
One week after Purdue (5-5, 3-3) gave up 605 yards and 62 points in a loss at Wisconsin, the Boilermakers defense did a number on Ohio State (6-4, 3-3). Purdue held OSU to just 295 yards total offense.
“I feel like we gave them that one there at the end,” said OSU center Michael Brewster. “I don’t know what to say. I can’t believe that’s how it went down like that at the end. I don’t know how we can let (the blocked PAT) happen. That’s not good. That’s not good. But you can’t blame it on one thing. There were multiple things.”
Purdue quarterback Caleb TerBush completed 15 of 24 passes for 140 yards, while his platoon mate Marve was 10 of 13 for 94 yards. Ralph Bolden had 80 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown for Purdue. The Boilers converted 9 of 18 third downs, including those two critical plays in the overtime.
The Buckeyes played the last three quarters and the overtime without starting linebacker Andrew Sweat, who left with an apparent concussion. For the game, the missed tackle total had to be north of 20.
“No matter who goes down, somebody else has to step up,” Fickell said. “That’s no excuse. We won’t use it as an excuse and we won’t allow it to be used as an excuse. All those other guys practice and they were prepared to play as well.
“(The missed tackles) are obvious when they go for touchdowns. We work on it every day. We continue to harp on it. With a longer drive, you may see the fatigue at times and that may have happened today.”
OSU’s Miller was 8 of 18 passing for 132 yards with two touchdowns. He also rushed for a score.
“It was hard for us to get into a rhythm today,” said Miller, who fought through a stomach virus and even threw up on the sideline at one point. “We just had to make some adjustments. We just had to work through it.”
Tailback Boom Herron, who had three 100-yard games since his return from suspension, was held to 62 yards on 18 carries. Hall had nine carries for 46 yards and also caught three passes for 58 yards and two TDs.
The Buckeyes came into the game averaging 220.6 yards rushing per game in Big Ten play. They had three 100-yard rushers in last week’s win over Indiana, when they accumulated 346 yards rushing. But against Purdue – which had surrendered 364 yards on the ground last week at Wisconsin – the Buckeeys netted just 163 yards on 47 carries (3.5 average per rush).
“Their defense played a great game,” Herron said. “We just couldn’t get a handle on them today.”
Ohio State’s hopes of reaching the first-ever Big Ten championship game took a big hit with the loss. They would need to defeat Penn State and Michigan the next two weeks and hope Illinois defeats Wisconsin next week and also hope Wisconsin wraps the season with a win over Penn State. Anything short of those four results would leave OSU out of the title game.
“We know we have to take these one game at a time,” Fickell said. “That’s what we’ve always talked about. We won’t change how we approach things. I can say I am proud of the way they fought and kept their heads up. We didn’t play our best football in the beginning. We came out in the second half, turned it around and had a chance to win.”
OSU defensive end John Simon said the Buckeyes must regroup. After all, two wins – over two of their key rivals – would get them to 8-4 and could lift their hopes of making a Jan. 2 bowl.
“We just have to take it one day at a time,” Simon said. “We have to come in tomorrow, watch the film and make the corrections. Penn State has to become our only focus.”
Safety Tyler Moeller added, “There’s a rollercoaster of emotions. But, ultimately, it’s disappointing. We were excited to go out there and try to win the game. When you don’t get what you want, you’re disappointed, especially in a game like this. With the season nearing its end, it’s a heartbreaker.”
As It Happened
Ohio State went three-and-out on its first three possessions. The Buckeyes didn’t get their first first down until early in the second quarter, when Purdue already led 10-0.
After forcing an OSU punt on the first series, Purdue drove 57 yards in 10 plays for a field goal. Bolden ripped off a 22-yard run on the first play to set the tone. TerBush then hit Bush for a 14-yard gain on third-and-2 at the OSU 18. But TerBush’s third-down pass was broken up by OSU’s Bradley Roby. Purdue’s Carson Wiggs hit a 19-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead with 10:30 left in the first quarter.
Ohio State went three-and-out again and Purdue answered with an 11-play, 60-yard scoring march. Bolden started it with an 11-yard run on the first play. TerBush hit O.J. Ross for a 15-yard gain and a first down at the OSU 23. On third-and-6 at the 19, TerBush rolled right and hit Ross for a 10-yard gain and a first down at the 9. Two plays later, Akeem Shavers went left and scored easily on a 4-yard touchdown run to make it 10-0 with 4:09 left in the first quarter.
“We didn’t start the game off right,” Fickell said. “We didn’t start out the game fast enough. We lost the field position battle early in the game. It put us behind to start the game off. But we battled and kept our head up. I liked the way we fought back after that.”
The Buckeyes finally got off the mat early in the second quarter, moving 68 yards in eight plays. The drive got started with Miller’s 20-yard toss down the middle for Herron. Miller stood in under pressure and delivered the pass for OSU’s first first down of the game. Finally on third-and-10 at the Purdue 38, Miller again stood in under pressure and hit Jordan Hall in the right flat. Hall picked up blocks from Jake Stoneburner and Evan Spencer, stiff-armed Purdue’s Normondo Harris and was gone on the 38-yard touchdown that cut the Purdue lead to 10-7 with 11:42 left in the first half.
“I was just trying to get the ball into the end zone,” Hall said of his extra effort. “We knew coming in here it was going to be tough. We needed every play we could get.”
Purdue then drove 88 yards in 12 plays to another touchdown and a 17-7 lead. Robert Marve relieved TerBush to lead this drive. He hit Ross for an 11-yard gain and Justin Siller for 7 more. Purdue benefitted from a roughing-the-passer penalty on OSU’s Johnathan Hankins, giving them a first down at the OSU 44. Marve then hit Shavers for a 15-yard gain and found Siller on a screen for 26 yards. On both plays, the Buckeyes missed tackle attempts. On first down from the 7, Bolden went right, eluded OSU’s John Simon, cutback and rolled through Etienne Sabino’s tackle attempt for the 7-yard touchdown and a 17-7 lead with 3:19 left in the half.
After the teams traded punts, OSU got the ball back on its own 49 with 16 seconds left in the half. Miller hit Evan Spencer for a 16-yard gain and then scrambled for 2 more yards. Drew Basil came on to try a 50-yard field goal. It had the distance but slid wide right and was no good. That was a fitting end to a half that saw Purdue outgain OSU 242-97 in total offense.
Purdue had the ball to start the second half, but OSU forced a three-and-out. The Buckeyes drove 57 yards in eight plays for a critical touchdown. Hall started it with a 24-yard run out of the Wildcat formation. Carlos Hyde picked up an 11-yard gain and a first down at the 19. Miller then converted a third-and-10 there with a 14-yard gain on a quarterback draw. On second-and-goal from the 6, Miller kept it on a sweep and went easily around left end for the 6-yard touchdown to cut the Purdue lead to 17-14 with 9:42 left in the third quarter.
Purdue tacked on a 44-yard Wiggs field goal for a 20-14 lead with 13:06 left in the game.
The Buckeyes then drove from their own 20 to the Purdue 44 with Miller converting two third-and-longs with scrambles of 17 and 11 yards. But he had a pair of wild incompletions to stop the drive and OSU punted it away with 7:50 left.
The OSU defense held for a three-and-out and the Buckeyes got it back on their own 34 with 6:15 left.
Herron got the drive started, following a crushing block by fullback Zach Boren for a 21-yard gain to the Purdue 45. Miller then faked a give and rolled right, hitting Spencer for a 12-yard gain to the 30. Herron had a 7-yard run down to the 5 wiped out by an illegal formation penalty. Miller then lost 1 yard on a second-down option. On third-and-8 from the 18, Miller scrambled for a 5-yard gain down to the 13. The clock was at 1:37 and rolling.
On fourth-and-3 from the 13, Miller dropped to throw. He was flushed and went to his right, eluding a tackler. Hall was calling for the ball in the left flat. Miller lofted it to him over Purdue’s Josh Johnson for the dramatic 13-yard touchdown to tie it at 20-20 with 55 seconds left.
“I told him in the huddle, ‘If you have to scramble, I’m going to leak out on the back side,’ ” Hall said. “That’s what happened and it worked out. Braxton is a tough guy. He took some hits.”
Miller added, “I had to make something happen. It was like our scramble drill (in practice). I just had to make a play there. We work on that every day and we just have a little connection on that.”
The all-important PAT kick was very important as Purdue’s Bruce Gaston appeared to squirt between OSU linemen Corey Linsley and Marcus Hall to block Basil’s kick, leaving the game tied at 20-20.
“They got penetration,” Fickell said. “It was probably a combination of things. I don’t know if it was low or just a great play on their part. Those are things that go unnoticed and don’t hurt you until it’s a big shot like that.”
OSU had to kick off into a stiff wind. Purdue’s Raheem Mostert fielded it at his 12 and returned it 27 yards to the Purdue 39. Marve hit Bolden for a 15-yard gain to the OSU 46. The Buckeyes took a timeout with 37 seconds left. Purdue came out of the timeout and tried to go deep for the win. But Marve’s deep pass down the right sideline was intercepted by OSU’s Johnson at the Purdue 12 with 32 seconds left. The Buckeyes ran one play and regulation time expired.
“We had to make sure we didn’t let them get into the end zone,” Johnson said. “We felt we had to get a turnover to force overtime. I saw the ball in the air and I just tried to make a play on it.”
The Buckeyes had the ball first in overtime. After two negative plays, Miller hit Williams for a 15-yard gain. But on fourth-and-1 at the 16, Basil came on and hit a 33-yard field goal for OSU’s first lead of the game at 23-20. The drive was curtailed by a second-down sack by linebacker Dwayne Beckford – one of Purdue’s five sacks on the day. (Defensive tackle Kawaan Short finished with three sacks.)
“They brought some pressure and made a good play (on the sack),” Miller said.
Fickell said he briefly considered going for the first down on the fourth-and-1.
“It was a consideration, but we knew we had to put some points on the board,” Fickell said. “We wanted to get points and put it on the defense.”
Purdue then had its possession at the 25. Marve scrambled for 6 yards and a first down at the OSU 13. On third-and-12 at the 15, Marve rolled right and was blitzed by OSU’s Storm Klein. He held the ball before hitting Bush as he was going out of bounds at the 1 for a first down.
“I ran an under route across the middle,” Bush said. “I caught Marve’s eye and went straight for the sideline. He made the throw and I just tried to get my feet down.”
On first down there, Marve kept it on a sneak and broke the plane of the goal line for the game-winning touchdown.
Marve was only too glad to atone for the interception he threw at the end of regulation.
“It was frustrating because I thought I played a really good game,” Marve said. “And then I threw one dumb pass and made one dumb decision. I feel really blessed that the coaches had faith in me to stick with me (in the overtime).”
* OSU’s record in overtime is now 5-2. The lone previous loss was at Northwestern in 2004. This was OSU’s first overtime game since the dramatic 2009 win at home over Iowa that clinched the Rose Bowl berth.
* Basil had made 12 straight field goals before his miss on the final play of the first half. He is now 13 of 16 on the season. He was also 28 of 28 on PATs this season before the block.
* Two freshmen made their first career starts at Purdue. TY Williams started in place of Corey “Philly” Brown at wide receiver. Brown missed the game with an ankle injury. Antonio Underwood started in place of J.B. Shugarts at right tackle. Shugarts, who had started 24 consecutive games dating to the end of the 2009 season, missed the game with a knee injury.
After several missed assignments by Underwood, right guard Jack Mewhort moved to right tackle and Linsley filled in at right guard.
There were more injuries during the game as linebacker Andrew Sweat left after the first quarter with an apparent concussion. Tailback Boom Herron also missed time during the game due to an ankle injury.
Sweat was replaced by freshman Ryan Shazier, who had seven tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Safety Christian Bryant led OSU with nine tackles.
* Johnson had his second interception of the season.
* Purdue’s Hope is now just 14-20 in three seasons at Purdue and some were rumoring his job could be in jeopardy. But the win allowed him to go to 2-1 against Ohio State. Purdue needs a win at home next week against Iowa or in the finale at Indiana to get to six wins and qualify for a bowl bid.
* Ohio State still leads the all-time series with Purdue 38-14-2, including 12-8 in West Lafayette. OSU is now 2-4 in its last six visits to West Lafayette since 2000.
OSU’s games at Ross-Ade have been memorable over the past decade. In 2000, Drew Brees hit Ryan Morales for a late bomb in a 31-27 win. The Buckeyes won 10-6 in the Holy Buckeye game in 2002 on its way to the national title. In 2004, Purdue held off OSU for a 24-17 win. In 2007, the Buckeyes spoiled a prime time game with a 23-7 win. Two years ago, Purdue was 1-5 but upset the Buckeyes 26-18.
The last six games between the teams in West Lafayette have been decided by an average of seven points.
* The Buckeyes are now 18-2 in the month of November since the start of the 2005 season. The lone previous November loss was at home to Illinois in 2007, when the Fighting Illini upset the top-ranked Buckeyes 28-21. The Buckeyes are now 9-1 on the road in November over the last six years.
OSU’s last November road loss was – where else – here in West Lafayette in 2004.
* Coming in, OSU had won 22 of its last 25 Big Ten road games, dating to a 2005 loss at Penn State. Since then, the Buckeyes dropped road conference games at Purdue in 2009, at Wisconsin in 2010 and at Nebraska earlier this season. OSU is 1-2 in Big Ten road games this year with a loss at Nebraska and a win at Illinois.
* Ohio State returns home to host No. 12 Penn State (8-2, 5-1) in the home finale next Saturday (3:30 p.m., ABC regional with outer market coverage on ESPN). It will be Senior Day for the Buckeyes and they will get senior wide receiver DeVier Posey back from his NCAA-imposed 10-game suspension.
* Click here for the box score.
Click here for Dave Biddle’s What We Learned column.
We have postgame video links with Fickell, Miller, Hall, Moeller and Herron.
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