Fourth-ranked Ohio State chewed up Big Ten rival Purdue and spit out the outmanned Boilermakers on Saturday afternoon, running away with a 56-0 shutout in front of 51,423 chilled fans at Ross-Ade Stadium.
Junior quarterback Braxton Miller put on a first-half show, completing 19 of 23 passes for 233 yards and tying a career-high with four touchdowns. The OSU offense was so efficient that Miller rushed only once in the game and took the entire second half off, yielding to senior co-captain Kenny Guiton, who connected on 8 of his 11 attempts for 59 yards and a touchdown while rushing nine times for a career-high 98 yards and two scores.
The Buckeyes piled up 640 yards of total offense, the fourth time this season the team had eclipsed the 600-yard mark. Included in that total were 345 yards on the ground, led by senior tailback Carlos Hyde, who had 111 yards on only eight carries.
Tight end Jeff Heuerman had a career day, catching five passes for 116 yards and one touchdown. Heuerman was the first OSU tight end with a 100-yard receiving performance since Ricky Dudley in the 1996 Citrus Bowl, and he had the most receiving yards of any player at his position since John Frank had 123 yards during a 24-21 loss at Michigan in 1983.
Wideout Corey “Philly” Brown also had a touchdown catch among his four receptions for 27 yards, while freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott had three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown while adding 37 yards rushing on five carries.
Meanwhile, the Boilermakers were limited to just 116 yards, the lowest total for a Big ten opponent since Michigan had only 91 during a 14-3 OSU win in 2007. Additionally, Purdue was a shutout victim for the second game in a row, the first time that has happened to the Boilermakers since 1953.
“Any time we play pass defense like that, we have a chance to win,” OSU head coach Urban Meyer told reporters after the game. “We had an interception return for a touchdown to start the game, and that set the tempo. We’ve taken a weakness (in pass defense), and I don’t want to say it’s a strength yet, but we’re playing a whole lot better.”
Purdue freshman quarterback Danny Etling had a rough afternoon, completing only 13 of 29 passes for 89 yards. He was intercepted once, lost a fumble and was sacked six times.
The Boilermakers were limited to only 27 yards rushing.
Ohio State was off and racing from the get-go with the defense setting the opening tempo when cornerback Doran Grant jumped a sideline route and took his third interception of the year 33 yards for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-0 lead just 57 seconds into the game.
Miller took advantage of a coverage bust on the Purdue defense to get OSU’s second score of the afternoon, hooking up with Heuerman on a 40-yard touchdown play to make it 14-0 at the 11:28 mark of the first quarter.
Ohio State tacked on two more TDs before the opening period ended. Tight end Nick Vannett reeled in an 8-yard pass from Miller with 2:37 remaining, and then two plays after defensive end Noah Spence pounced on a Purdue fumble at the Boilermakers’ 21-yard line, Miller flipped a 2-yard pass to Brown to make it 28-0 at the 2:10 mark.
Guiton entered the game at the end of an 80-yard drive to throw a 1-yard jump pass to senior Chris Fields for a touchdown to push Ohio State’s lead to 35-0 at the 8:20 mark of the second quarter.
A 56-yard punt return for a touchdown by Brown with 6:22 remaining was wiped out by an illegal block-in-the-back penalty, but the Buckeyes still managed to add to their lead before the end of the half with Elliott taking a short flip from Miller and turned it into a 10-yard touchdown reception to give Ohio State a 42-0 lead heading to the locker room.
In addition to outgaining Purdue by a 350-87 margin in the opening 30 minutes, the 42 points scored in the first half by the Buckeyes equaled the most points ever given up in a single half by the Boilermakers. They surrendered 42 during a 52-7 loss to Notre Dame in 1988 and 42 against Ohio State during a 49-0 loss in Columbus in 2010.
Meyer took his foot off the gas pedal for the most part in the second half although the Buckeyes still managed to gain another 290 yards. Guiton scored on a 4-yard quarterback draw at the 11:20 mark of the third quarter, and tallied a 1-yard touchdown run with 10:37 remaining in the game to account for the final score.
Purdue crossed into Ohio State territory only three times in the game, and never advanced past the OSU 37-yard line. The Boilermakers never crossed midfield in the second half, accounting for only 29 yards on 19 plays after halftime.