October 31, 2013

Tale of the Tape: Purdue Boilermakers

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Head Coach:

Darrell Hazell

2012 Record:

6-7 - B1G (Legends)


W. Lafayette (Ind.)

Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. EDT Television: Big Ten Network Location: Ross-Ade Stadium (62,500)

When Purdue has the ball...

  • Rushing Defense: 95.9 Ypg. (6th)

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 129.44 (70th)

  • Scoring Defense: 19.10 Ppg. (15th)
  • Rushing Offense: 76.1 Ypg. (119th)

  • Passing Offense: 202.4 Ypg. (90th)

  • Scoring Offense: 13.1 Ppg. (119th)

  • Ohio State Defensive Backs

    Purdue Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)
    The Ohio State pass defense showed up against Penn State but it was a team effort as the line created more pressure while the secondary clamped down and pulled up a couple of picks. C.J. Barnett and Corey Brown both came up huge while Bradley Roby had a good bounce-back game. Now against Purdue they will be going against a team that is on its second QB of the season and will be trotting out a lot of young players as it tries to find any sort of identity. What can be dangerous here is if the unit does not respect the passing game and looks to make a lot of heroic plays rather than staying in assignment football and doing what is called upon them. The Buckeye defenders don't live in a bubble and it is likely that they have heard about Purdue's passing woes but that doesn't mean that the Buckeyes can just go through the motions and just wish for success. This game will be good for adding to the confidence of the unit is the team goes out and does what is expected of it and should be a chance to cycle through a lot of young guys if this game gets put away early. Purdue's passing game is not as bad as it's running game. There... that is all that I can really say that is positive about this unit at this point. The Boilers made the switch to freshman signal caller Danny Etling over Rob Henry and the young QB has passed for 585 yards and 3 TD in going 47/99 but has also thrown four INTs (Henry had thrown 6 INT against 4 TDs). Freshmen DeAngelo Yancey and Dan Monteroso top the depth chart for the Boilers and are backed up by a pair of sophomores. Needless to say, the unit is young and Purdue is going to continue to go through some rough times this season as they take their lumps and earn some stripes with the young kids. Tight end Justin Sinz is tied for the team lead in TD receptions (with running back Akeem Hunt at an underwhelming total of two. Purdue has passed for seven touchdowns on the season, so it is hard to have one receiver that is having a big year but this unit is definitely not clicking right now but will be Purdue's real only hope to put points up as you will read later in this piece.

    Ohio State Linebackers

    Purdue Running Backs
    What happens when a defense that does not give up much in the running game goes against a team that cannot run the ball and therefore doesn't even really try to run the ball meet? We are going to find out on Saturday but I am going to guess that it is not going to be good for the team in the black helmets. In Big Ten play the Buckeyes have given up 112 rushing yards per game and two rushing TDs in facing the No. 2, No. 8, No. 9 and No. 11 rushing offenses in the league. Purdue is the No. 12 rushing offense and it isn't even close between Purdue and No. 11 (Penn State). Ryan Shazier is coming off of a very solid game against the Nittany Lions and was very active in both stopping the run and getting to the quarterback and it will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes continue to send pressure, especially against an offense that they will likely not fear the running attack of. Curtis Grant left the game last week with a stinger but reports this week say he is good to go. The linebacker depth is still a little thin at this point but Ohio State should get the chance to roll through a lot of backups with the remaining schedule until the game against TSUN. If you thought that the passing numbers were tough to fathom, the running numbers are even worse. Purdue is rushing for 47.7 yards per game during the Big Ten season and has one touchdown during that same period of three games (22 yard run by Rob Henry vs. Wisconsin). The Boilers are averaging 1.8 YPC in Big Ten play and it balloons up to 2.7 YPC in al games. Akeem Hunt is the de factor No. 1 rusher on the team with 293 yards and 80 rushing attempts. After that it gets to be pretty thin as Dalyn Dawkins is the only other Boilermaker with more than 100 net yards on the season (Ohio State has multiple players with 100 yards in a game including true freshman Ezekiel Elliott). Purdue has realized that it can't run and doesn't really attempt it all that much, 80 attempts in three Big Ten games, but when you can't run, you can't pass and you can't score... you aren't going to win much. Purdue loses the ability of a running QB with Etling who has rushed for minus-62 yards on sack yardage and is averaging minus 20.7 YPG on the ground in these three games played.

    Ohio State Defensive Line

    Purdue Offensive Line

    Ohio State's defensive line is coming off of a big game against Penn State and the biggest problem on Saturday could be an emotional letdown. Outside of that, Noah Spence and the rest of the line hold a major advantage over the Purdue offensive line and the question will be how aggressive will the defensive coaches be and when will they call off the dogs in what should be a mismatch between a very good DL and an OL that is not up to par with the rest of the Big Ten. This could be a good time to get reserves like Tommy Schutt some much needed playing time after coming off of an injury that cost him the first half of the season. Purdue gives up a good amount of sacks and the Buckeyes are able to get and drop the quarterback. We could see both of Purdue's QBs if that is the case, especially with Etling being pretty immobile.

    The Purdue offensive line has not really helped either facet of the game so far this year. The Boilers have a mixture of veterans with guys like Justin Kitchens at right tackle but are also young at a pair of spots with Jordan Roos (RG) and Robert Kugler (C) checking in as a RS-Freshman and sophomore respectively. It is really hard to find a lot of positive notes at this point other than there is help on the way on the two-deep with some younger players but they are not ready to go yet (or they would be starting) and it is kind of shocking to see how bad this OL is with a former OL coach being the previous head coach in Danny Hope. Stranger things have happened but I don't expect to see a lot of success from this unit on Saturday.

    When Ohio State has the ball...

  • Rushing Offense: 295.6 Ypg. (9th)

  • Passing Offense: 221.6 Ypg. (74th)

  • Scoring Offense: 47.3 Ppg. (5th)
  • Rushing Defense: 192.7 Ypg. (92nd)

  • Passing Eff. Defense: 130.9 (75th)

  • Scoring Defense: 34.4 Ppg. (104th)

  • Ohio State Skill Positions (QB/WR/TE)

    Purdue Defensive Backs
    Ohio State's passing game is finally getting to where people wanted to see it under Tom Herman and Urban Meyer. Quarterback Braxton Miller is finally looking like a star quarterback instead of a star athlete who plays QB. Devin Smith and Corey Brown both have elevated their game throughout the season and teams have been hard pressed to slow down the passing attack. Really the major thing that has kept the numbers down on the season is the fact that Ohio State gets out to such big leads that it runs the ball for the entire fourth quarter if not the entire second half and that has limited some of the passing (and scoring) numbers to be honest. The Buckeyes have found what works and it will be important that they don't outthink themselves by trying to put too many new wrinkles in against weaker competition over the next three games. The Buckeyes just need to build up confidence during this time and not get complacent before the finale against Michigan. Sometimes stats can be misleading, like the stat that says that Purdue leads the Big Ten in pass defense in Big Ten games with the Boilers giving up 151.3 yards per game and only two passing TDs during that three game span. For the sake of all things that make sense, Purdue has been down early and often in Big Ten play and teams have not passed against this unit and the numbers are skewed because of that (78 attempts against the defense in those games, 26 per/gm.). The Boilers are able to pick the ball off and have seven INTs on the year and Ricardo Allen has to be working on his 13th year of eligibility at Purdue (or so it feels). To add to the "false stats" argument, the Boilers have gone against the No. 7, No. 10 and No. 11 passing attacks in the Big Ten during their league schedule and despite their defensive numbers against the pass, still managed to give up 99 points (games are still decided by points, right?) during those three games and the one game during that stretch where they stepped out of league play to take on MAC foe Northern Illinois? Jordan Lynch passed for three touchdowns in that game.

    Ohio State Running Backs

    Purdue Linebackers
    Is there currently a more dominating runner than Carlos Hyde at this point in the Big Ten? Sure, Melvin Gordon and James White at Wisconsin may get the nod in an offense that is built just to run but Hyde has upped his game to new heights this season and is running over anyone who is trying to get in his way. Add to the mix the running of Braxton Miller and it is enough to give opposing DCs a bad case of heartburn. Hyde really only saw action for 2.5 quarters last week and had less than 20 carries but did not need any more than that to slice through the Penn State defense. Purdue is far worse against the run and the bar is set at 388 yards (what Wisconsin ran against them). Jordan Hall saw some good minutes against Penn State and should be good to go this week as well while the Buckeyes will look to spread the ball around once they have given Purdue a good helping of Hyde. Purdue has been getting gashed on the ground and it hasn't mattered if it has been in B1G play or just in any game this season. The team is giving up 273.7 YPG in league play and the number drops to less than 193 yards in all games but the Boilers have also surrendered 16 TDs during that stretch. Will Lucas is the senior in the linebacker corps and is one of the team's leading tacklers but the lack of success against the run has been a team failure at this point. Another issue (can't credit this to just one unit) is the lack of success in the red zone for the defense with the Boilers ranking dead last in the Big Ten in allowing points 92.6-percent of the time (25-27, 21 TD and 4 FG). Purdue has not had an easy go against the premier running backs in the nation and Hyde has entered that conversation at this point and this could be a tough game, especially if the Buckeyes decide to try and control the clock and get it done on the ground to try and keep this game moving.

    Ohio State
    Offensive Line

    Defensive Line
    Rewind to a couple years ago where the Ohio State offensive line was "big on potential" but "short on output". Those days seems like a million years ago? Sophomore Taylor Decker has stepped into his starting role alongside the four senior starters and Ohio State has to be in the argument for having a top-three offensive line in the nation this year and tops in the Big Ten. It is hard to find many faults with this unit and when an issue appears it gets fixed almost as quickly. Against Penn State the line played very well and allowed the Buckeyes to put up huge numbers on the ground and while Braxton Miller did get dropped a couple of times, the overall play of the line graded out very high and the Ohio State coaches are happy with the play up front. If the Buckeyes get into the red zone (granted, they score from beyond it a great amount) they are pretty much automatic to put up six.

    The defensive line is one area where the Boilers are older and experienced and Bruce Gaston is a very good player from his defensive end position. But there is only one Bruce Gaston and 11 spots to be played and the defensive line is really just often overmatched with so many deficiencies on the defense behind them. The Boilers have not been able to generate much in the way of a pass rush and we have already talked about how teams have been able to run against this unit as well. In past visits to West Lafayette (Ind.) the Buckeyes have been bitten by incredible play from one defensive lineman while the rest of the defense played very well... Gaston could have a big game but there does not appear to be enough support behind him to make much of a difference and another key difference is that Ohio State's OL is playing so much better than it did in past years when Ohio State made the trip to Purdue.

    Special teams matchups...

  • Net Punting: 40.00 Avg. (14th)

  • Punt Returns: 12.43 Yds/Ret (23rd)

  • Kickoff Returns: 25.43 Avg. (14th)

  • Field Goals: 100% 7-7
  • Net Punting: 42.68 Avg. (2nd)

  • Punt Returns: 12.38 Yds/Ret (24th)

  • Kickoff Returns: 24.85 Avg. (19th)

  • Field Goals: 50% 5-10

  • Ohio State Special Teams

    Purdue Special Teams
    Buckeyes fans almost saw that huge return from Dontre Wilson and this could be the week where it finally happens. The one thing that could slow down the return game is that this game will be played on grass and it is not a familiar surface to the Buckeyes in game conditions. Cameron Johnston should have a light day of work if the Buckeye offense clicks the way it has been clicking. Drew Basil has been strong in the kickoff game and has been getting a workout in kicking PATs.

    Punter Cody Webster has been amazing this season for Purdue but he has also had a lot of work to lead the league in punting and the Boilers are 2nd in the NCAA in net punting. The kicking game has been really bad however with Paul Griggs coming in at 50-percent and having missed his last two attempts and has missed 2/4 from inside 39 yards and is 2/4 from 40-49 yards as well.


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