The No. 19 Boilers are back on the road this week after taking down then-No. 3 Michigan State to continue a grueling Big Ten schedule against No. 4 Ohio State.
This will be the third Top 5 team Purdue has played this season and could complete a hat trick for the Boilermakers (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten) if they upset the Buckeyes (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten) in Columbus.
“We get in rhythm and we’re aggressive, we can do some good things,” head coach Jeff Brohm said. “We’re not afraid of the challenge and we look forward to really tough opponents.”
The last time Purdue faced off against Ohio State was the upset of the century. A perfect storm led to the beatdown in Ross-Ade stadium from the underdog Boilermakers that spoiled the Buckeyes’ hopes for a College Football Playoff appearance. But this year is different. Purdue is not a team that’s being overlooked anymore. The Boilers have been giant slayers this season.
“We just put our head down and work; nothing special,” sophomore tight end Garrett Miller said. “We just treat every game like every other week.”
Every team knows the Boilermakers are a legitimate threat to win each and every Saturday, and Ohio State is well aware of Purdue’s capabilities. This is not a trap game. These are two Top 25 teams trying to finish out their seasons strong.
This season’s Ohio State team has featured one of the best rush defenses in the Big Ten. Their passing defense has been their biggest weakness, but the Buckeyes do excel at getting to the quarterback. Saturday’s game will place a huge burden on the offensive line to protect fifth-year quarterback Aidan O’Connell.
If AOC can get the ball out to the play makers, Ohio State has shown this season that it allows a generous amount of passing yards, which just so happens to be Purdue’s biggest strength. The Ohio State defense has been “bend, don’t break” all year long. While they will give up yards and allow teams to move the ball, they don’t give up many points. The Boilers have struggled at times this year to get it in the end zone, and those woes can’t show up if they want to win this weekend.
The biggest burden of all will be placed on the defense. The Ohio State offense has been up and down this year but no doubt has been extremely explosive and is the best offense this defense will see.
“This will be our biggest test for sure,” Brohm said. “This will be our biggest challenge to date for our secondary against these receivers.”
The Buckeyes have a very good rushing and passing attack, with two of the best running backs and arguably the two best wide receivers in the league. Purdue’s biggest weakness is the rush, but the team has been much stronger defending the pass.
The Boilers’ biggest strength has been their red zone defense. Purdue ranks No. 14 in the red zone this year and has weathered numerous goal line stands, which has propelled the Boilers at times the offense wasn’t clicking. Purdue is going to need its defense to play big for a chance to win.