Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Can Ohio State vanquish their demons and be successful in West Lafayette?
West Lafayette, Ind., has not been friendly to the Buckeyes. The last time OSU traveled to Purdue in 2009, the then-No. 7 Buckeyes lost to a 1-5 Purdue team, 26-18.
The upset was not an isolated incident. The Boilermakers have actually won three of their past five home games against OSU. Coach Luke Fickell said he can recall almost every detail from the 2009 game and is very aware of how difficult it is to walk out of Purdue with a victory.
“We’re 2-2 over there in the last 10 years,” Fickell said during his press conference on Tuesday. “If that’s just not enough to open your eyes and make sure you understand. It will be pounded home … it’s going to be a battle.”
Which players on Purdue’s offense could hurt OSU?
The Boilermaker offense is balanced, but has lacked explosiveness as of late. The team hasn’t scored more than 18 points in any of its past four games, but averages 25.9 points per game on the year. Its rushing attack, ranked 44th nationally, features junior running backs Ralph Bolden and Akeem Shavers. The duo splits the majority of the carries and have rushed for eight touchdowns on the year.
Junior Caleb TerBush starts at quarterback for the Boilermakers. He’s thrown for 1386 yards and 10 touchdowns this season, but is also a threat on the ground.
Overall, the 16th ranked Buckeye defense shouldn’t have any problems.
With the possible return of Jordan Hall will Carlos Hyde get some playing time?
It may come as a surprise, but OSU’s leading rusher this season is sophomore Carlos Hyde. Despite that fact, Hyde’s playing time has been limited when fellow running backs junior Jordan Hall and senior Daniel “Boom” Herron have both been available to play. With Hall sidelined for last week’s 34-20 win over Indiana, Hyde ran for 105 yards and a touchdown.
All signs seem to indicate Hall will be available for this week’s game against Purdue and Herron will surely be the Buckeyes’ starter at running back.
Fickell would not commit to Hyde receiving playing time.
“Not sure just yet,” Fickell said. “We need to see how those guys practice. A lot of that stuff depends on how you practice.”
Will the Buckeyes have their Big Ten Championship hopes derailed?
OSU has a legitimate chance to win the Big Ten Championship. If the team can win the remainder of its games and Penn State loses twice before the season ends, the Buckeyes will win the Leaders Division of the Big Ten and appear in the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game.
Purdue has other plans, but Fickell will be sure his team knows what’s at stake.
Expect the Buckeyes to continue their success running the ball and rely on a defensive that has a clear athletic advantage over the Purdue offense.
Barring a disastrous, turnover-plagued game from freshman quarterback Braxton Miller, the Buckeyes will take the game, which will be closer than the score indicates.
Final score prediction: Ohio State 34, Purdue 21