Extra Points: OSU vs. Purdue

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Ohio State will spend the rest of the month facing a bakery's worth of cupcakes. The combined record of the Buckeyes' next three opponents is 8-10, and none has been as undeniably woeful as Purdue (1-5).

The Boilermakers have almost literally been giving away games, and their coach, Danny Hope, admits it.

"The turnovers are killing us," Hope said. "I think we get ourselves in a pickle at times, you know, by turning the ball over and then we get out there and start pressing, and then make a mistake or two ..."

... Or three, or four, or 11. That's right: 11. That's the number of fumbles Purdue has lost this season, tied for the most in college football.

Add that to the nine times Purdue has handed their opponent the ball with an interception, and it's just like Hope says: "We have these sequences of horrific events every Saturday where we spot our opponents a couple of scores."

Hope is in his first year at the helm at Purdue. If you were casting a movie, he'd make a good SWAT team leader, with closely cropped salt-and-pepper hair, square jaw and mustache.

But if Purdue football was a movie, it would be getting two thumbs down.

The cast of characters includes a quarterback who's unhappy with his wideouts. Joey Elliot told Purdue's student newspaper, The Exponent, that, "Every single receiver tells you they're open every time, right? Once they catch the ball, they've got to be able to secure it and make big plays with it. You can't be playing tentative and scared once you catch the ball."

At least one wide receiver has responded by questioning the mental toughness of the entire team. "We can't put our heads down and think, 'Oh, this is like last week.' We can't let that happen. That's the issue we're having," said Keith Smith.

But the Boilermakers are still hoping for a major plot twist this Saturday against Ohio State. After all, Purdue's losses have come by a combined 18 points. They have the second-best passing offense in the conference, right behind Michigan State.

Then again, consider who's in the director's chair at OSU. Jim Tressel wins every game he's supposed to win.

The last time the Buckeyes fell to a team that didn't end the year in a BCS bowl game was in 2004. (This is the point in our movie where the dramatic music starts to swell.) Specifically, it was November 13, 2004 - at Purdue.

Do the Boilermakers have a sequel in store? It would take a major upset, and coach Tressel is used to things going according to script.

OSU Fast Fact


Number of Buckeye offensive plays during the third quarter on Saturday. OSU outscored Wisconsin 14-3 in the quarter, on the way to a 31-13 win.

Huddle Up

Danny Hope has replaced Joe Tiller as Purdue's head coach, but he hasn't changed the Boilermakers' reliance on the passing game. That should present an opportunity for the OSU defense, which has 10 picks on the season.

Meanwhile, Purdue's defense is struggling, giving up almost 31 points a game, and they're in the bottom half of the conference in punting and kickoff returns.

That all adds up to a 1-5 record, a five-game losing streak and a great opportunity for the Buckeyes.

What: OSU at Purdue

When: 12 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17

Where: West Lafayette, Indiana

Web: ohiostatebuckeyes.com

TV: Big Ten Network

Listen to Lori Schmidt on 97.1 The Fan and follow her at twitter.com/LoriSchmidt