Cody Cousino / Lantern photographer
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — It hasn’t been a successful year for the Ohio State wide receivers and the Purdue game was no different.
The Buckeyes passed for just 132 yards as they fell to the Boilermakers, 26-23.
Obviously, the receivers don’t deserve all the blame. Senior Joe Bauserman was inept running the OSU offense to start the season, only completing 46.5 percent of his passes. Freshman Braxton Miller is more productive with his ability to run the ball, but still lacks confidence in the pocket to step up and make accurate throws.
That being said, there are many times the receivers just aren’t getting open. Athletically, they don’t have the speed to separate from coverage or make a play on the ball.
It’s a stark contrast from what OSU is used to. The Buckeyes have been lucky to have receivers like Santonio Holmes, Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Dane Sanzenbacher come through Columbus and provide viable options for the OSU passing game.
Coming into the season, coach Luke Fickell knew the receiving core was thin and inexperienced, but no one could have predicted the misfortune the unit would experience.
OSU’s top receivers before the season were senior DeVier Posey, sophomore Corey “Philly” Brown, and redshirt freshman Verlon Reed.
Posey was in another league than the other receivers during spring ball. Quarterbacks would lock in on him and almost without fail, No. 8 would find a way to get open and make a play.
OSU knew Posey would be serving a five-game suspension, but was served a major blow when the NCAA extended his suspension five additional games for getting paid for work he didn’t perform.
Reed was sidelined for the rest of the season after injuring his knee against Michigan State and Brown has struggled with an ankle injury all season, keeping him out of parts of five games including Saturday at Purdue.
So, with all the injuries and other problems, OSU started the game against the Boilermakers with its fourth- and fifth-best wide receivers from a group that was already considered weak coming into the season.
Oh, and they had a true-freshman quarterback throwing them the ball.
Young receivers like freshmen Devin Smith and Evan Spencer show promise for the Buckeyes, but the fact of the matter is, they just aren’t good enough yet to be featured in a high-level Division I offense.
The good news for OSU is Posey comes back from suspension next week, and like senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron and senior offensive lineman Mike Adams, will provide an instant impact offensively. He will also be the legitimate deep threat Miller has been missing for much of the season.
OSU will need the extra offense next week when a Penn State defense — ranked third nationally coming into Saturday — visits Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at the ‘Shoe in Columbus, Ohio.