Buckeye Watch - Purdue
By Tony Gerdeman
The problem with seeing something that you never expected to see is that people then expect you to write about it.
Words can only do Saturday's unlikely win over Purdue so much justice, especially when read without any context they would seemed contrived and laughable.
But here we are, and we all saw it happen.
The Buckeye offense was given more than one opportunity to quit, and yet they refused. The defense, more maligned than they have been in years, was given the opportunity to end this game, and they made the absolute most of it.
After the game, defensive coordinator Luke Fickell called this a team win, and he couldn't have been more correct. Neither side of the ball impressed for much of the afternoon, but both sides stepped up and played as well as they have all season when they absolutely needed to most.
This team was actually prepared for this scenario, and that might be the most unbelievable thing of all.
9:28 Headed to a tailgate with some high school and college buddies over by Drackett Tower. It's about a 20-minute walk from my parking garage. I didn't even go to classes that were 20-minute walks unless there were beers waiting on me – I'm looking at you, Drake Union.
9:51 As Norm Peterson once said, “Be sure to stop me at one. Ah, make it one-thirty.”
10:18 Saying my goodbyes. I just found out that I could carry the weight of a grown man who has jumped into my arms. [Crosses off of bucket list.]
10:48 Eggs and pulled pork. The true breakfast of champions. Suck it, Wheaties. What have you done for America lately anyway? Nothing.
11:18 Purdue's uniforms are extremely white. They're so white that I'm surprised their moms let them play outside in them. “So help me if you get your uniform dirty, I will whip the blood out of you!”
11:38 Nathan Williams is working at Sam in drills and Noah Spence is at Leo. Not a surprise.
12:06 The Buckeye captains are at midfield. They win the toss and with 4-6 seconds of relentless effort, they defer until the second half. Purdue will receive.
12:09 I am expecting a much better defensive effort today, even given the new faces in new places. Purdue opens with a play-action bootleg...and it's a throw back wheel route for an 83-yard touchdown. Akeem Shavers was hiding at fullback, and he ran right by Storm Klein and the safety. Just like Ohio State did twice in four years with Brandon Saine. Unbelievable. Hey, at least the extra point was blocked. Purdue leads it 6-0 after one play. Will Purdue ever just go away?
12:16 Trips right. Braxton Miller splits out, leaving Carlos Hyde as the wildcat. Miller now comes in motion and gets the pitch from Hyde, but his pass is incomplete. That was a lot of flash for very little dash. Like a Rube Goldberg machine with 100 separate actions and all it does at the end is shake a Magic 8-Ball.
12:17 Buckeyes fumble, Miller jumps on it and then got hit while he was down. Now they're saying it got knocked out. He was down. OSU didn't bother to challenge it, nor did the refs. And nobody is stopping anything? A fan should at least run out on the field to stop the play.
12:18 Purdue gets a play off and they steal a possession from the Buckeyes. Real classy.
12:20 The Boilermakers go three and out and have to punt. They've gotten pressure on these first two drives, which is new. Having John Simon, Johnathan Hankins, Noah Spence and Nathan Williams all on the field together probably helps.
12:25 Three and out for the Buckeyes. Ben Buchanan's punt is returned to the Purdue 25-yard line. Devan Bogard is down and grabbing his right knee. It does not look good. “Can anything else go wrong,” he asked, knowing full well that the Buckeye defense was getting ready to come right back out onto the field.
12:28 Three and out for Purdue. More good pressure. Caleb TerBush feels it even if he's not in danger. Chris Fields returns the punt to the Ohio State 33-yard line. We've got us an old fashioned barn burner today, except the barn already burned down and we're just reminiscing about how we actually didn't get to see the barn burn down because we were all sleeping.
12:30 Time for Guiton? This is the fifth possession of the game and we have 9:03 to play in the first quarter.
12:31 The offense is huddled together during the timeout. I'm assuming this is one of those serious discussions where Meyer tells them that if they don't go down here and score a touchdown, they're no longer his dudes.
12:35 Third and three from the 47-yard line. Is this four-down territory? Buckeyes pick up two yards on a huge hole up the middle that was quickly closed. Going for it here? Yep. It's the hurry up. And now they're taking their time, which is good because the quick snap hasn't worked this year. Carlos Hyde busts a big one to the 25-yard line. There was nobody around. Devin Smith didn't realize Hyde was running up his back, or else he may have been able to spring him for six.
12:37 Play-action pass is overthrown to Smith on the post. He was open. Miller needs to calm down a bit. He's throwing lasers that are simply too tall to be caught. It's like he's playing angry and every pass is a tantrum.
12:38 Third and ten. Miller finds Philly roaming over the middle against a three man rush and he takes it to the eight-yard line for a first down. It's good to see him calm down and easily find the open man, and not try to throw the football through his chest.
12:39 First and goal. Miller keeps it on the read option and walks in. Nice job by Devin Smith to seal his man to keep the corner open for Miller. The extra point gives the Buckeyes the 7-6 lead. Apparently that talk by Meyer was effective. Nobody wants to stop being his dude.
12:40 Here is something that I don't understand, why not make everybody BUT Braxton Miller beat you? I would always force Miller to get rid of the ball.
12:41 Kickoff. Two yards deep. And Akeem Hunt is gone. He zigs and zags for 100 yards and stayed between the numbers and the sideline the whole time. Buckeyes lose Bogard and all hell breaks loose. Boilers lead it 13-7. Replay shows a very nice hold that was very poorly not called. The Piranhas are Bluegills today.
12:46 Another three and out for Ohio State. Buchanan's punt is muffed, but recovered by the Boilers at their nine-yard line. Got to have defenders right there to jump on those things.
12:49 Third and seven. TerBush scrambles, but he's just short as Zach Boren tackled him. Time for Purdue to punt. Nope, the punter keeps it on the rugby look and picks up the first down. I'm assuming like most of those rugby punts, if the punter sees certain keys, he's allowed to run for it whenever he wants. I am completely torn on how I feel about Europeans sports encroaching on real sports, but you can't help but love punters willing to carry the ball. And hey, how about these Ohio State special teams. Every game they give you something new. They better hope this is it for the rest of the game though.
12:52 The first quarter ends with the Buckeyes trailing 13-7. The good news, however, is that now they can begin to play well on offense.
12:57 Third and four. TerBush finds a wide open Crosby Wright for six yards and a first down. On the list of America's most pretentious names, “Crosby Wright” is right up near the top. It's no “The Player Formerly Known as 'Mousecop'”, but it's up there.
12:58 Another pass to Wright for another first down. Maybe defend that guy? Is it a rule that he has to be left open? Is this a charity thing? Did Purdue get the Make-a-Wish Foundation involved here?
1:00 Third and six from the Buckeyes' 40-yard line. TerBush finds Gary Bush for eight yards. No pressure, and he found the open guy who wasn't very open. This drive is making me sleepy.
1:05 Third and goal from the six-yard line. I don't care about his wishes, you might want to watch Crosby Wright here. Shotgun. The pass is tipped by Ryan Shazier at the goal line and intercepted by C.J. Barnett! The Buckeyes just dodged the slowest, most methodical bullet ever fired. That was a 19-play drive that took 10:32 off of the clock. So much for the Buckeyes putting up three or four touchdowns in the second quarter. Also, Shazier has the worst hands in America.
1:08 Is this another predictable Ohio State touchdown drive where they have to answer some mythical bell? Or are they still drowsy from watching that Boiler drive?
1:12 Well, nothing mythical about this as the Buckeyes go three and out. The punt is muffed again and OSU can't jump on it. It's like they're giving him a courtesy yard with which to recover his own possible muffs. They need to be right in his face, especially since it's not his first muff.
1:16 Purdue goes three and out as well. I wonder how many times a team has followed a 19-play drive with a three and out. I mean, I'm sure Purdue has done it a ton of times because they're Purdue, but for most programs, it's incredibly rare.
1:17 The punt rolls dead at the 24-yard line with 5:17 to play. Nice long drive here to take the lead for the Buckeyes and then you get the ball back in the third quarter to put the nail in the coffin.
1:18 Still strange that despite all of those possessions, the offense can't really get a vibe or rhythm yet.
1:22 Third and eleven. Trips left. And Braxton Miller is sacked. Kawann Short timed it perfectly, or he was offsides. No flag means it was timed perfectly, apparently. Buchanan punts.
1:29 Third and two from the Ohio State 36-yard line. Ralph Bolden gets stopped for a yard. John Simon and Johnathan Hankins on the tackle. There's an injury timeout with 45 seconds left in the half.
1:30 They're going for it on fourth and one. Actually, they're just trying to get the Buckeyes to jump offside. Purdue calls a timeout.
1:32 Purdue is going with a field goal attempt here from 52 yards out. It's wide left with 17 seconds to play. The Buckeyes should run some plays here. You only need 20 yards to get the same field goal that Purdue just attempted.
1:34 Third and ten. One last shot. Miller spins back out of the pass rush and dumps it off to Carlos Hyde for very little gain. Braxton was hit and is still down. Roughing the passer on Kawann Short. Miller gets up very slowly, shaking out some cobwebs. That was a y late hit.
1:35 Here's the last play of the half, unless Short decides to take another cheap shot on Miller. The hail mary is intercepted at the three-yard line. He couldn't even reach the endzone. We have reached the end of the half with Purdue leading 13-7. I believe this is the first time this season that the Buckeyes have trailed at the half.
1:39 What is it about Purdue? What is it that they do that always gives Ohio State trouble? Wisconsin ran the ball for over a quarter of a mile on Purdue last week, and the Buckeyes gained exactly zero yards on nine snaps in the second quarter.
1:52 This game couldn't be anymore Purdue vs Ohio State if every Boilermaker wore mustaches and every Buckeye wore sweater vests.
1:53 Purdue has to hate the fact that they only have 13 points after controlling the game, or at least they should. They're missing out on ten points that they could have had simply by avoiding a terrible interception and converting their 52-yard field goal.
1:57 Back to football. Purdue kicks it off with a bit of a pop up. Rod Smith reverses field a bit and crashes down at the 26-yard line. Teams are learning to not let Smith have a running start. Are they actually fearful of him?
1:58 Is it time to start running Braxton on designed running plays? Not yet. He fires it to Philly who drops it, would've been nine yards. Throwing very hard today. It is windy, but I'm not sure he needs to cut through the wind on short passes like that.
1:58 QB run for a yard. That was called. Nevermind what I said about calling more QB runs.
1:59 Third and nine. Chris Fields drops the slant. Two drops on that drive. Receivers doing Miller no favors today. Time to punt for the 24th time today.
2:04 Josh Perry on the blitz, and he whiffed on tackling Bolden in the backfield. You would think when you send a young player on a blitz, all they would be worrying about is getting to the target as quickly as possible. If he would have kept running, he probably would have taken Bolden down, but he slowed up a bit in order not to run by him. Instead, it was Bolden who did the running by.
2:07 The Buckeyes hold, however, and force a three and out. The punt goes out of the endzone.
2:08 OSU timeout. Michael Thomas came in late. I can understand them wanting Thomas in there since he's the only guy who hasn't dropped a pass yet.
2:09 Third and three. Hyde busts through and nearly breaks it. 18 yards with power football. Will that get them going?
2:10 Sure, if “get them going” means “immediately give up a sack on the following play”. Miller is just lucky he didn't fumble, because he was blindsided.
2:12 Third and ten from the Ohio State 44-yard line. Miller starts to scramble and sees Philly for a nice gain to the Purdue 37-yard line. His ability to keep his eyes down field make him almost as dangerous as his feet do. Philly gets helped off the field. Had his shoulder driven into the ground.
2:13 Miller drops back and finds Chris Fields, who breaks wide open and then falls down at the two-yard line after a 35-yard gain. Huge play by Fields, but he has to stay on his feet for that.
2:14 Carlos Hyde finishes the drive off with a two-yard touchdown run. A Purdue player shoves him out of the endzone, but the damage had already been done. The extra point is good. Buckeyes take the lead 14-13. That was a pretty strong drive for the Buckeyes, now they just need about nine more stops.
2:19 Second and two from the Purdue 26-yard line. There's a wide screen to Dolapo Macarthy for twelve yards. At this point I think the Buckeyes are going to need a fumble because the Boiler receivers aren't going to drop these screens, and the OSU corners are too far off to jump the routes.
2:20 Quick screen and Macarthy picks up another twelve yards out wide. Dolapo Macarthy is Crosby Wright 2.0, but with a weirder name.
2:24 Bubble screen to Gary Bush and he takes it 31 yards for a touchdown. The Buckeyes just don't have the speed in the back seven right now. Nathan Williams tried to get a hand on it from his linebacker spot, but couldn't do it. Barnett couldn't get free in time to stop it either. Purdue leads it 20-14, and frankly I have no idea why the Boilermakers haven't chosen to score on every single drive, because it sure seems like it's completely up to them what happens in this game.
2:28 One of the problems for the Buckeye offense is that they can't yet run the hurry up like they'd like to this season. They are still learning on the go. They can't wear a defense down with repetition, they simply have to do it with execution.
2:29 Miller keeps it and picks up the first down. Fumble? Yep, the ball is out and the refs are trying to peel players off of the pile. This isn't going to be good for the Buckeyes I think. They call it Purdue ball. Somebody said Corey Linsley came out with it, but Purdue got the ball? Okay? Now they're looking at it. It's definitely a fumble. Confirmed.
2:32 It feels like the Purdue offense is toying with the Ohio State defense. Like a cat (with an Engineering degree) with a mouse.
2:33 Akeem Hunt picks up 14 yards on the draw to the Buckeyes' 19-yard line. What is it about Purdue? Do they have incriminating photos of Brutus Buckeye with a Michigan cheerleader somewhere? This is almost starting to feel like it could get out of hand. The defense looks confused.
2:34 Third and nine. TerBush is 7-8 for 75 yards in the third quarter. Shotgun. It's a broken play and Hankins tracks down TerBush for a yard gain. He turned the wrong way and there was nobody there to help him out. Now it's time for a 34-yard field goal.
2:35 It's blocked! Roby came off the edge, did he get it? Whoever got it, Kerry Coombs likes it. Big Hank got it, and I think he just saved the game. Now the Buckeyes need to do something on offense.
2:36 Miller keeps it on the inverted veer and picks up 37 yards, but he got slammed hard down on his left shoulder and he's down and hurt. Kenny Guiton is warming up, which means this drive ends in an automatic touchdown. That could be shoulder, collar bone, both. He's still down. He's sitting up. Now finally standing up three minutes later. Still hunched over. Now he is finally helped off like he can't walk. No idea what the myriad injuries are, but they all look painful.
2:40 Guiton comes in and hands it off to Hyde, who picks up three yards to end the third quarter. Purdue still leads it 20-14.
2:41 Braxton is sitting on the bench, which is good news in a sense because they're not really working on any specific part of him other than talking. They've got him up and they're taking him to the cart. He can't even walk. Head is down. He's in a bad way. Nothing about that entire scene looked good.
2:45 Fourth and five from the Purdue 33-yard line. Rather than try to pick up the first down, Urban Meyer has decided to attempt a 50-yard field goal. Interesting. The wind is with Drew Basil, but it's whipping. He misses! It's rejected by the left upright. Only Purdue.
2:47 Are the Boilermakers smelling blood in the water? Doesn't matter, because the entire defensive front just stopped Hunt for no gain. The chum was a ruse!
2:49 Looks like a head injury for Braxton, which would likely mean he's out for next week as well.
2:51 Third and ten with 13:26 left. TerBush rolls right, and it's another throw back screen. Bradley Roby is the only defender there and he couldn't defeat three blockers and make the tackle. Where is his help? Hankins is down now. That was a 19-yard pick up. Danny Hope is clapping like he just spun the wheel on the Wheel of Fortune.
2:54 So this game is over because Ohio State won't be able to hold Purdue here, and they certainly won't be able to score twice.
2:55 Third and four from the Ohio State 40-yard line. Gotta stop them here if if you want to win. Rob Henry is in, so this will be some type of run. John Simon blew that up before it could even take off, and then Boren took Henry down! That was some tremendous team defense, and it pushes the Boilers far enough back to keep them from thinking about going for it on fourth down. Now they punt. Ouch. The punt is downed at the one-yard line.
2:56 Now it's time for Coach Guiton to save the day.
2:57 Guiton rolls right, finds lots of room back to the left, and scrambles for seven yards and the first down. Nice job Coach. Wait, there's a flag. Block in the back on Jeff Heuerman in the endzone for a safety. Unbelievable. Purdue leads it 22-14 with 10:11 to play. That is the ball game. That was pitiful. The “block” came after the play was already by the quarterback. Can you even block in the back when you are protecting the quarterback?
3:04 Third and ten from the Ohio State 44-yard line. Have to get this stop or else you're truly, finally done. Four wide shotgun. Draw for two yards. Purdue will punt. Time to head down to the field.
3:07 The elevators are incredibly packed with fans heading home. If you've stayed this long...
3:11 Down on the field to see that it's fourth and two. Hyde picks up nine yards to keep the drive alive with four minutes to play.
3:12 Guiton is going deep to Devin Smith, and Josh Johnson breaks it up just a few yards from me. It's impossible to complete those passes in this wind. It's blowing in too many directions for a heave like that.
3:13 Third and thirteen. Guiton avoids the pressure, and then heaves it again downfield to Stoneburner, and the ball bounces off of his shoulder pads and is intercepted by Purdue. It didn't look like a bad ball, but that's probably a play better suited for Evan Spencer.
3:14 And now I bet those elevators are filling up quite a bit more right now. Just talked to an unnamed member of the media who is debating on whether or not to stay for the finish, or simply go and get set up in the post game room. I told him that if he leaves, he knows he'll be missing a miracle finish.
3:15 There is 2:40 remaining and the Buckeyes have one timeout left. They could take three knees and still put the Ohio State offense in a very bad way. As it stands, the can still run almost two minutes off of the clock.
3:17 Purdue starts with a false start. That's actually pretty huge because it makes a first down that much tougher to get.
3:18 Quick pass to Gabe Holmes for no gain. That's confidence when you can throw it wide like that and not worry about an incompletion. Buckeyes call their final timeout with 2:35 to play.
3:20 Third and thirteen. The sideline is imploring the crowd to get on their feet. Purdue calls a timeout with 1:48 to play. The wind is whipping, but it will mostly be going with Ohio State if they can get a stop here.
3:21 Shavers gets the handoff and he breaks loose to the left, but Ryan Shazier tracks him down near the sideline. Almost got him pushed out of bounds. The clock is running. They will punt with about 59 seconds on the clock.
3:22 The punt takes a funky bounce, but Chris Fields is able to track it down and pick up ten yards on the return. He just saved time and distance on that return. The Buckeyes have 61 yards to go and 47 seconds to get there.
3:23 The offense heads out onto the field. Kenny Guiton just grabbed Devin Smith, likely to tell him that when he breaks free down the sideline to make sure he raises his hand so that Guiton can see him.
3:24 Guiton avoids the pressure and HOLY CRAP Devin Smith has broken free on the sideline! That's like a 40-yard gain. Guiton gets everybody up to the line and he rolls out and finds Spencer for eight yards and he dives out of bounds with 28 seconds to play. What am I watching here?
3:24 Guiton rolls left, here comes the sack...and he gets rid of it just in time and throws it into the third row. I saw that pressure coming, and somehow Guiton saw it as well. Or felt it.
3:25 Third and two with 23 seconds to play. Hyde gets three yards up the middle. They needed that first down. I have no problem with that call. Guiton spikes it to stop the clock with 15 ticks left. Is football the best, or what?
3:26 Guiton drops back, throws it to Spencer and and it's incomplete. It's very fortunate that that was not caught, because I don't think he had the distance for a first down. The clock would have rolled and the game could have ended.
3:26 Guiton throws the fade to Spencer and there's a flag for pass interference on Josh Johnson. It will be first and goal from the two-yard line with eight seconds to play.
3:27 Guiton rolls left, short arms it to Chris Fields in the slot and he makes a diving attempt. The line judge calls it a touchdown!! I was right in front of it and I'm not so sure, but I'm only assuming there's no way he could have made that catch. What an effort though. They're reviewing it. Even if they don't give it to him, there are still three seconds remaining.
3:29 It stands! The sideline erupts. Zach Boren barges into the offensive huddle for the two-point conversion. I imagine he is reciting Herb Brooks' speech to his team following their defeat of the Russians. “If you don't get the two-point conversion, you'll take it to your grave, your %#@!ing grave.”
3:30 The crowd is ridiculously loud. They need to get ridiculously quiet. Here we go. He's got him on the throw back! Heuerman snatches it for the two-point conversion and the Buckeyes tie the game at 22-22! The crowd is going absolutely crazy. I think all of the quiet ones left a while ago. The throw back to the tight end. Poetic justice for all of the throw backs that Purdue has handed out to the Ohio State defense today.
3:31 I have never seen anything like this first hand. I don't know if I've even seen it second hand. It's beyond improbable. Improbable was passed an hour ago.
3:32 If I had known this was going to go to overtime, I would have brought my coat with me. I wonder what Braxton is doing now. I picture him in a hospital listening to the game on the radio like Shooter in “Hoosiers”.
3:36 The kickoff runs the rest of the clock out and we are actually going to overtime. The Buckeyes are completely depleted on offense and defense, and they somehow have all of the momentum.
3:37 This is every kind of awesome. Just looking around at the crowd and they are as wide eyed as I've ever seen them. If they don't get this win, they might just riot.
3:39 Purdue wins the toss, which means the Buckeyes will get the ball first. I'm not so sure that is a bad thing. Kenny Guiton has to be extremely confident right now, so why let him sit and let the nerves build up.
3:40 Fields is in the backfield. The snap is high and Guiton bobbles it. He lunges forward for no gain. Okay, so maybe the nerves are already building.
3:41 Nevermind. Guiton stands in the pocket on second down and fires it down to Jake Stoneburner inside the ten-yard line! First and goal for the Buckeyes from the seven-yard line. He looked like a ten-year NFL vet standing in that pocket. So do you ride with Hyde from here on out? Or let Kenny do what he does?
3:42 Hyde gets it on first down and blasts down to the three-yard line. I'm still not totally believing this.
3:43 Guiton keeps it and takes it down to the one-yard line. Now the Buckeyes will face a third down and things are starting to get very serious.
3:43 Hyde gets the ball and dives over the top of the pile and lands in the endzone for a touchdown!! Is it okay if I keep using the word “amazing”, because I don't really have any other words that fit so well for what we are seeing. The extra point is good and the Buckeyes are up 29-22.
3:44 What a position for this defense to be in. One series to quiet some doubters. Four plays to cap the most improbable win that these players and coaches might ever have. The Buckeye defense couldn't have asked for a better scenario.
3:45 This crowd right now is simply sustained noise. And now “Hell's Bells” is playing on first down. That's pretty cool. TerBush's pass is incomplete. The crowd gets even louder.
3:46 Second down. TerBush's pass is overthrown. The crowd gets a bit louder.
3:47 More “Hell's Bells”. Third down. A half-hour ago, I was wondering if the moment was too big for Kenny Guiton. I am asking the same of Caleb TerBush right now. TerBush throws a screen to Gabe Holmes, who gets drilled by Hankins after a pick up of five yards. Ball game coming.
3:48 The crowd, louder still. Fourth and five. Is it time for Purdue's throw back screen? The chants of “Defense! Defense! Defense!” are echoing off of every solid object in this stadium.
3:49 Purdue calls a timeout. The Purdue band strikes up a song, and the crowd's rendition of “Seven Nation Army” drowns them out.
3:50 Here we go. Fourth and five. The crowd is yelling like their hair is on fire – and the only way to put it out is to yell even louder. TerBush drops back, gets pressured, and throws it out of the back of the endzone and the Buckeyes have done it! I don't know how they did it, but they did it! They win 29-22 and the Ohio State sideline has spilled out onto the field in celebration. Unbelievable.
3:51 What an amazing scene, an amazing game and an unbelievable finish.
3:53 Not a bad way to spend an afternoon, unless you're Danny Hope, of course.
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