Purdue has been a surprising thorn in the side of Ohio State at times in the past decade, knocking off the Buckeyes on their last two trips to West Lafayette and playing them tough as underdogs on several occasions in Columbus as well.
This is not the first time the Boilermakers have carved a notable presence on the Buckeyes’ schedule, though, as there were several classics staged between head coach Woody Hayes of Ohio State and Jack Mollenkopf of Purdue (see below).
Overall, Ohio State leads the series 39-14-2, and the series has included some historic performances.
Keith Byars set the school record for 354 all-purpose yards against Purdue in 1984, and Garcia Lane became the only Ohio State player to return two punts for touchdowns in the same game when he did it against Purdue in 1983.
David Brown set a record with a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown at Purdue in 1986, a mark equaled by Marlon Kerner in West Lafayette seven years later and also by Will Allen at home against San Diego State in 2003.
No. 4 Ohio State 13
No. 1 Purdue 0
Ohio State wanted revenge but got much more for head coach Woody Hayes. The Buckeyes, still smarting from a 41-6 shellacking at the hands of the Boilermakers a season earlier, had this one circled on the calendar all year and played like it in front of an enthusiastic crowd at Ohio Stadium.
Ohio State shut down Purdue star Leroy Keyes, holding him to 19 yards rushing (Sports Illustrated called it “his worst day since kindergarten”) and road fullback Jim Otis to victory.
The Buckeyes knocked Mike Phipps, the Boilermakers’ star quarterback, out of the game after forcing him into 18 incompletions on 28 attempts. That included a pick-six by Ted Provost that has gone down as one of the most important plays in the history of Buckeye football. It broke a scoreless tie and gave the Buckeyes all the points they would need as a young but talented team announced itself on the national stage by shutting out the top-ranked Boilermakers. Phipps was pressured on the play and probably fooled by the action of Provost and fellow defensive back Jack Tatum, who flipped positions at times after the snap to keep opposing quarterbacks off balance.
Another Phipps interception – this one by middle guard Jim Stillwagon – set up Ohio State’s second touchdown, a 14-yard scramble by reserve quarterback Bill Long. From then it was all Otis, who ran for 144 yards.
Hayes gave credit for the defense’s play to assistant coaches Lou McCullough, Bill Mallory, Lou Holtz and Esco Sarkinnen after the game.
No. 1 Ohio State 42
No. 10 Purdue 14
Leo Hayden ran for 130 yards as Ohio State ran its school-record winning streak to 22 games by pummeling Purdue 42-14. The Buckeyes locked up a share of a second consecutive Big Ten crown in the process, though a trip to the Rose Bowl was out of the question because of the conference’s no-repeat rule.
The OSU defense was again masterful, intercepting Phipps five times and recovering three Purdue fumbles en route to the rout. With Tatum leading the way ferociously from the secondary, Ohio State allowed only 29 yards rushing.
Ohio State quarterback Rex Kern ran for two touchdowns and threw for another to lead the Buckeyes’ super-charged, hurry-up offense that averaged a school-record 42.5 points per game. The special teams also got into the act as halfback Larry Zelina returned a punt for a touchdown late in the game.
This game was such a domination on national television it set off talk of a budding dynasty for the Buckeyes, who had won the national title a year earlier and had a lineup dominated by juniors such as Kern and Tatum. Sports Illustrated mused the best game of the year would in college football would match Kern’s offense against Tatum and the defense, but there was still some business to be accomplished in Michigan a week later, and that 24-12 upset in Ann Arbor put aside all such talk while kicking off the 10-Year War between Hayes and former protege Bo Schembechler.
No. 3 Ohio State 10
The 1970 season was all about avenging the previous year’s loss to Michigan, but Purdue nearly ruined the Buckeyes’ plans one week before the annual game with the Wolverines.
Ohio State took an early lead on a 26-yard touchdown run by John Brockington, but Purdue answered when Stan Brown returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards for a score that tied the game.
It remained that way until the fourth quarter when Fred Schram kicked a 30-yard field goal to cap a 66-yard drive with 2:04 left in the game. Quarterback Ron Maciejowski, who frequently relieved Kern during the pair’s career, got the game-winning drive started with a 23-yard scramble and a 7-yard option keeper. Hayden and Brockington took over from there, picking up the last 23 yards to set up the kick.
Brockington finished with a game-high 136 yards while Hayden added 63.
Ohio State’s defense was again dominating, holding Purdue to 71 total yards and only three first downs. Boilermakers quarterback Gary Danielson had a forgettable day as he lost 56 yards on eight carries and completed as many passes to the Buckeyes as he did his own teammates. Danielson finished 2 for 12 passing for 17 yards. He was intercepted twice by Mike Sensibaugh.
No. 3 Ohio State 10
In a game with some similarities to the 1970 contest, Ohio State scored late to avoid being knocked off its national championship path.
This time the offense did not need the special teams to finish the job, however, as quarterback Craig Krenzel went for broke on a fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter. He was supposed to dump the ball to Ben Hartsock for a short gain and a conversion, but the Boilermakers had the OSU tight end covered. That forced Krenzel to look deep, where he found Michael Jenkins running one-on-one with cornerback Antwaun Rogers. Jenkins fought off Rogers’ just long enough to allow Krenzel’s pass to settle into his arms for a stunning 37-yard touchdown pass play that put the Buckeyes on top with 1:36 left in the game in what has come to be known as the “Holy Buckeye” play.
The defense made it stand up as Chris Gamble intercepted a Kyle Orton pass on Purdue’s final possession, allowing the Buckeyes to improve to 11-0.
Mike Doss led the OSU defense with nine tackles while Matt Wilhelm and Dustin Fox both had interceptions.
An injured Maurice Clarett ran for 52 yards while Krenzel passes for 173 and Jenkins finished with 87 yards receiving.
No. 4 Ohio State 16
No. 11 Purdue 13
Krenzel threw for 226 yards and Jenkins had 123 yards receiving, but the Buckeyes had to rely on defense and special teams to pull out an overtime victory in the home finale.
The game was tied at six entering the fourth quarter as each team had managed only a pair of field goals from Ohio State’s Mike Nugent and Purdue’s Ben Jones. Then the Ohio State defense struck as Tim Anderson and Will Smith combined to sack Orton and knock the ball free at the goal line. Mike Kudla grabbed it and fell into the end zone for the first touchdown of the day, and the Ohio Stadium crowd erupted at what looked like the clinching score.
Orton wasn’t done, though. He led the Boilermakers on a 92-yard drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Jerod Void.
Ohio State had the ball first in overtime and managed only six net yards, setting up a 36-yard field goal by Nugent. Purdue picked up a first down on its possession but three straight Orton incompletions put the game on the leg of Jones, who missed a 37-yard kick that would have sent the game to a second overtime.
For the third time in the season, the Buckeyes won without scoring an offensive touchdown.
Nugent had a chance to win the game on the final play of regulation, but his 41-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Bobby Iwuchukwu. OSU punter BJ Sander had a busy day. He punted 10 times with seven downed inside the 20 and five inside the 10.
No. 4 Ohio State 23
No. 23 Purdue 7
A crowd of 65,497 fans showed up for a prime-time game at Ross-Ade Stadium to see the Buckeyes dominate most of the night and improve to 6-0.
Ohio State won its 24th-consecutive regular season game as Todd Boeckman threw for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The senior quarterback spread the ball around, hitting Ray Small and Brian Robiskie six times apiece while Brian Hartline added four catches. All three had at least 60 yards receiving, led by Small’s 70. Small got the scoring started with a 26-yard touchdown catch from Boeckman, who also connected with Hartline for a 6-yard score in the first quarter to stake the Buckeyes to an early 14-0 lead.
That was all they would need as the defense dominated a high-flying Purdue attack that entered the game averaging 45.4 points per game. The Boilermakers did not score until the final 10 seconds of the game, a meaningless score that came after many fans had gone home.
Chris Wells ran for 85 yards while Maurice Wells added 74 for the Buckeyes, who outrushed their hosts 181-4.
The final score might have been more lopsided if not for three Boeckman interceptions, but the defense made sure that didn’t matter. Cornerback Malcolm Jenkins and nickel back Chimdi Chekwa spearheaded the effort of the Silver Bullets with nine and 10 tackles, respectively.
No. 7 Ohio State 29
Ohio State emerged victorious over Purdue in a football game as unpredictable as the autumn weather in the Midwest.
Despite more than three quarters of nearly inept offense, more breakdowns on defense and another special teams gaffe, the seventh-ranked Buckeyes improved to 8-0 on the season by rallying in the final minute then dominating overtime.
Kenny Guiton was the biggest of many heroes, engineering a 61-yard drive in the final minute when the Buckeyes looked all but finished. He got the drive started with a 39-yard pass to Devin Smith then capped it with a 2-yard out pass to Chris Fields, who had to go to the ground to cradle the ball on first-and-goal with three seconds left. Fields then cooly tied the game by finding tight end Jeff Heuerman in the end zone on a perfectly executed throwback pass for the two-point conversion.
Guiton completed a 17-yard pass to Jake Stoneburner in overtime then Carlos Hyde scored on a 1-yard touchdown run to put the Buckeyes on top. The defense made that stand up, allowing only five yards in overtime and forcing Caleb TerBush into an incompletion on fourth-and-5 to end the game.
Guiton was forced into action when starting quarterback Braxton Miller was injured at the end of a long run in the third quarter.