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Ohio State football to return to unfriendly confines

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After its 34-20 victory against Indiana last Saturday, the Ohio State football team had not lost to the Hoosiers since 1988.

The Buckeyes don’t have to look back nearly as far to find the last time they lost to Purdue, this Saturday’s opponent.

In fact, many current OSU coaches and players were a part of the defeat, including first-year coach Luke Fickell.

In 2009, the Buckeyes went into West Lafayette, Ind., ranked No. 7 in the nation with a 5-1 record, to face a 1-5 Boilermaker team. Purdue shocked OSU, 26-18, effectively ending any national title chances and snapping a 16-game Big Ten road winning streak for the Buckeyes.

Fickell was a co-defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for OSU at the time, and he spoke about the current team learning from the 2009 team’s mistakes during his weekly press conference Tuesday.

“I remember we had five turnovers, dropped a punt down inside the 20-yard line,” he said. “They hit a screen there to make it 26-7 or 23-7. Do you want me to go through the whole game? I can remember every bad play that happened.

“(Purdue) played a very good football game.”

The Boilermakers have won three of their past five home games against the Buckeyes. It would be four of five had former OSU quarterback Craig Krenzel and wide receiver Michael Jenkins not connected on a 37-yard touchdown pass on fourth down in the final minutes at Purdue during the Buckeyes’ 2002 national title run.

Fickell said he will remind the players this week about the team’s recent struggles against the Boilermakers at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium.

“We’ve played over there four times in the last 10 years,” Fickell said. “We’ve been pretty successful (at home) in the last 10 years, as much as any program in the country. We’re 2-2 over there in the last 10 years. 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.”

While Purdue enters the game at 4-5 (2-3 Big Ten) and coming off a 62-17 thrashing at the hands of Wisconsin, Fickell said the Boilermakers are a dangerous team when playing at home.

“I’d say you got to look at them as how they’ve done at home because they’re a different team at home,” he said. “They’re 4-1 at home. They were up (31-0) on Minnesota at home. They were up 21-0 on Illinois at home. They play a lot better at home.”

Fifth-year senior linebacker and defensive back Tyler Moeller was out for the season with a head injury and missed the 2009 game at Purdue. He said he doesn’t think about the Buckeyes’ past losses to the Boilermakers and that the team just needs to focus on this Saturday.

“For me personally, I really don’t look at past games and past experience,” Moeller said. “That’s a different team. We’re a different team. But I do know in November any team could beat any team and we have to do a good job.”

Saturday’s game at Purdue’s Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind., is scheduled to kick off at noon.

 

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