The Ohio State Buckeyes had another week where they looked a little underwhelming and disappointing on offense, but still earned the win over the Nebraska Cornhuskers, 26-17. Going into the weekend, Ohio State was largely viewed as a two-touchdown favorite over Nebraska, but barely edging out the Cornhuskers by nine points apparently didn’t scare off the College Football Playoff committee as the Buckeyes are now ranked in the top four.
This week Ohio State will be welcoming in the giant killers that are the Purdue Boilermakers and kick-off will take place at 3:30 p.m. EST in venerable Horseshoe. The Buckeyes will look to avoid the same fate as the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Michigan State Spartans, but it will take a better effort than last week. Here are five reasons why Ohio State will come away with the win on Saturday.
Purdue linebacker Jalen Graham (6) celebrates a stop during the first quarter of an NCAA football game, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.
Cfb Notre Dame Vs Purdue
One of the reasons Ohio State struggled with Nebraska is that the Cornhuskers had linebackers that flowed well to the ball and were fantastic in space. Just watch Jojo Domman. Jalen Graham of Purdue is a solid backer, but the unit overall is not in the upper echelon of the Big Ten and I would expect TreVeyon Henderson to have no problem breaking tackles in the second level.
Purdue's offensive line
Purdue offensive lineman Greg Long pours a can of Bud Light over his face after a fan tossed the beer onto the field in the third quarter at Iowa’s Kinnick Stadium.
Syndication The Des Moines Register
OK, before I start going in on the Boilermakers’ offensive line, I first want to mention that they have the coolest player in the nation on this unit, Greg Long, who not only sports the nicest number available, but also chugged a random beer a fan threw after Purdue’s upset over Iowa.
Now with that said, the Boilermakers do not have the strongest offensive line. The Buckeyes have seemingly found their stride on the defensive front with Zach Harrison finally reaching his first-round potential so look for some hay to be made up front when OSU is on defense.
The Purdue QB dilemma
Nov 6, 2021; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Aidan O’Connell (16) drops back to pass the ball in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Ross-Ade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Aidan O’Connell was phenomenal last week against Michigan State, completing 40 of 54 passing attempts for 536 yards and three touchdowns. The effort was enough to earn him Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week. He deserves great praise for those efforts, but O’Connell has been extremely inconsistent and up and down throughout his Purdue career.
O’Connell wasn’t even named the starter at the beginning of the season, but after experimenting with a three quarterback system, which they are still dabbling with, O’Connell earned the starting gig practically by default. His play last week is just unsustainable based on his resume.
Buckeyes are healthy at WR
Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Garrett Wilson (5) celebrates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter of an NCAA Division I football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Garrett Wilson missed last week’s contest but should be ready to go against Purdue. He is arguably the most talented receiver in the country and takes this offense to a whole different level when he is healthy. Chris Olave is always a consistent star and Jaxon Smith-Njigba may honestly be the most reliable weapon in the entire offense. Purdue will not be able to cover everyone, there’s just no way.
The Linebackers continue to improve
Ohio State Buckeyes linebacker Teradja Mitchell (3) lines up across from Indiana Hoosiers wide receiver David Baker (4) during the NCAA football game at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. Ohio State won 54-7. Credit: USA TODAY Sports
Every week, the Buckeyes become stronger and stronger at linebacker. The biggest reason is the rise of former running back, Steele Chambers. The Boilermakers have really struggled with their run game, and when an offense is one-dimensional it allows the linebackers to play with a bit more freedom and confidence. I expect another huge step forward for Steele Chambers and the entire unit as a whole.