Ohio State’s visit to Purdue was quite a departure from the team’s recent battles at Ross-Ade Stadium.
The Buckeyes-Boilermakers matchup didn’t read like a marquee game on paper — Purdue was 1-6 entering the game — and it wasn’t aired on prime-time television. Nonetheless, games at Purdue’s home field aren’t to be taken lightly, as Buckeye Nation knows well.
The Boilermakers’ home stadium has been unkind to the Buckeyes as Ohio State hadn’t won at the field since 2007 before today, falling to surprising upset losses in 2009 and '11. However, Ohio State dismissed any hope of a Purdue upset and claimed a rare but overwhelming 56-0 win at Ross-Ade Stadium. It was another win for the program record book, too.
A week after dispatching Penn State in historic fashion, the Buckeyes (9-0, 5-0 Big Ten) dropped a series-best margin of victory against the Boilers, who tied the worst loss in program history as far as scoring margin. The rout started less than a minute into regulation when Ohio State corner Doran Grant returned an interception 33 yards to put the Buckeyes up, 7-0. The Buckeyes swelled their lead to 28-0 by the end of the first quarter and, just as they did against the Nittany Lions, took a 42-0 lead into half.
Purdue has thwarted Buckeyes championship aspirations previously, and Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was determined to not let a similar fate befall his 2013 team.
“Coach Meyer made a big emphasis of coming (to Purdue) and it not being a big game, a prime-time game like we’ve been playing the last couple weeks,” Ohio State wide receiver Corey Brown said after the game, “and just staying focused and getting the job done. We did.”
The importance of taking care of business in a less-than-glamorous game resonated throughout the Ohio State locker room as players recalled prior trips to West Lafayette, as well as prior disappointing performances.
The 2011 visit to Purdue saw Ohio State lose after a could-have-been game-winning extra point was blocked late in regulation. The game went to overtime where the Buckeyes eventually fell and as a result were eliminated from a potential berth in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.
“I remember we came here my freshman year (in 2011),” Ohio State receiver Evan Spencer said. “To come back here now and take this win the way that we did feels awesome. Our deal was we wanted to start fast and keep our foot on the pedal.”
Leading the focused effort on the offensive end was tight end Jeff Heuerman, who went for 116 yards with one score on five catches. Save for one interception, Braxton Miller also contributed his share, picking apart the Purdue defense with relative ease as he completed 19 of 23 passes for 233 yards and four scores. He was pulled early in the third quarter and replaced by backup Kenny Guiton, who steered the Buckeyes to two additional scores.
Guiton was the holder on the failed extra-point attempt in 2011 that sent the Buckeyes into overtime. Ending his career series against the Boilermakers with a win at Ross-Ade Stadium was the fulfillment of a personal goal for him, but keeping the team’s winning streak intact took precedent.
“It’s great for the team for our confidence,” said Guiton, also the hero of last year's home overtime win vs. the Boilermakers. “We told (younger players) about the environment here and, you know, our last two times out here it didn’t go very good. So, those were the only two times I had to come here so to end it like this today is great.”
For the Buckeyes, there was no secret formula to finally overcoming their Purdue hex, Ohio State running back Carlos Hyde said. It’s just the 2013 brand of Buckeyes football, Hyde added, and it was far more than Purdue was ready for this time around.
"Coach told us no matter who we play, no matter where we play — go play,” Hyde said. “Do us. Don’t let up.”