WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Ohio State football returned to Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium Saturday for the first time since a 2009 loss to a 1-5 Boilermakers squad that derailed the Buckeyes’ Big Ten championship hopes.
Saturday’s trip to the Boilermakers also yielded a loss, but in a new, painful fashion.
Junior quarterback Caleb TerBush and senior quarterback Robert Marve combined for 234 passing yards passing and Purdue rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns. Senior kicker Carson Wiggs added two field goals and, after OSU forced overtime, Marve scored the game-winning touchdown to help Purdue (5-5, 3-3) upend the Buckeyes, 26-23.
The Buckeyes struggled on both sides of the ball early and Purdue opened an 10-0 lead with a 19-yard field goal by Higgs and a 4-yard touchdown run by junior running back Akeem Shavers in the first quarter.
“We started slow again and you can’t come out like that,” sophomore running back Carlos Hyde said. “(OSU coach Luke) Fickell was stressing that all week, that we’ve got to come out fast and ready and we didn’t do it until late.”
With sophomore wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown and offensive lineman J.B. Shugarts sidelined with injuries, OSU’s offense was slow to respond. The Buckeyes managed just 11 yards to Purdue’s 136 after one quarter. To that point, senior running back Daniel “Boom” Herron had accounted for OSU’s yardage on five carries.
OSU finally managed a response 3:18 into the second quarter as Miller stood in the pocket in the face of a Boilermakers’ blitz and completed a pass to junior running back Jordan Hall. Hall then darted 38 yards into the end zone to cut OSU’s deficit to 10-7.
With 3:19 remaining in the half, Purdue responded with a 7-yard run by junior running back Ralph Bolden to restore the Boilermakers’ 10-point lead at 17-7.
OSU allowed 242 total yards of offense in the first half, but the Buckeyes managed to hold Purdue in the final minute and gave sophomore kicker Drew Basil a chance at a 50-yard field goal. Basil’s try missed the uprights, ending his streak of 12 consecutive made field goals and Purdue pulled into halftime with its lead still intact.
The game still held more twists, and cutbacks from Miller, though.
Miller led OSU on a 58-yard drive on its first possession of the second half and finished it himself with 6-yard run to cut OSU’s deficit to 17-14.
The Buckeyes couldn’t maintain the momentum and punted on their next two possessions, the second of which carried into the fourth quarter.
Wiggs added a 44-yard field goal with 13:06 to play in regulation and Purdue led, 20-14. OSU wouldn’t respond again until there was less than a minute remaining in the game.
On fourth-and-3 from the Purdue 13-yard line, Miller scrambled and floated a pass for Hall, who pulled the ball in for a touchdown that tied the game at 20.
“Everyone was excited (after the touchdown),” Hyde said. “The sideline came alive. We knew we had it. We knew we were going him with a ‘W.'”
Sophomore right guard Jack Mewhort said he thought Miller’s throw was the greatest thing in the world.
“i saw (Miller’s pass) float over my head. I saw (Hall) grab it,” Mewhort said. “I ran over and gave (Hall) a big hug, It was the best thing ever.”
Then another of Basil’s streaks was snapped as his point-after attempt was blocked. The missed extra point was the first of the season for OSU.
Purdue drove for a potential game-winning score in the closing seconds, but Marve threw an interception to junior defensive back Ohrian Johnson. OSU then ran the clock out and overtime followed.
OSU went on offense to start overtime, and Basil hit a 33-yard field goal to give OSU a 23-20 lead.
The Buckeyes needed a defensive stop to win the game, but they couldn’t get it.
Marve kept the ball on first-and-goal from the inside the 1-yard line for the game-winning score.
Despite the loss, OSU sophomore defensive back C.J. Barnett said the Buckeyes will remain focused for the team’s final two games.
“We still play to represent Ohio State,” Barnett said “No matter what happens we’re going to give it our all.”
With the loss, OSU drops to 6-4 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes return to action next Saturday against Penn State at Ohio Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.