WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The outcome was never in doubt for the Ohio State Buckeyes against Purdue.
OSU (9-0, 5-0) was in command from the outset Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind., beating the Boilermakers (1-7, 0-4) 56-0 to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 21 games.
The Buckeyes scored early and often, wasting no time to get on the board as junior cornerback Doran Grant picked off a pass from freshman quarterback Danny Etling on the second play from scrimmage and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown.
“Any time we play pass defense like that we have a chance to be a really, really good team,” OSU coach Urban Meyer said after the win. “I thought that the way we kick-started the game with Doran Grant with the interception return, that’s a good sign that we play much better pass defense.”
Grant said the interception “meant a lot” to him, but it was more important for the team.
“It meant a lot to me, but it meant a whole lot more to the team,” Grant said. “It was a great momentum breaker, it got the team going, offense got going. It was good.”
The defense held Purdue to just 116 offensive yards in the game, with only 89 of them coming through the air.
After a quick three-and-out on Purdue’s next drive, the OSU offense again got in the end zone quickly. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller found junior tight end Jeff Heuerman wide open on the sideline for a 40-yard touchdown.
“You gotta reward big guys like that all the time,” Miller said of Heuerman. “They do a hell of a job blocking for the running backs and me as well. It was a perfect defense for Jeff to get open like that.”
Heuerman, who finished the game with a team-high 116 yards on five receptions to go along with the score, credited his day’s success on the abilities of his teammates rather than himself.
“I don’t think it’s me as much as it is the other guys,” Heuerman said. “Having a running back like (senior) Carlos Hyde and a quarterback like Braxton Miller and some of our offensive weapons – Dontre Wilson, Devin (Smith) and Evan (Spencer), Philly Brown – the defenses, they’ve gotta respect all of them…Having all those guys being so productive, it puts me in a position where I can make my block easier sometimes. It makes my route easier.”
Fellow Buckeye tight end, sophomore Nick Vannett, scored OSU’s third touchdown of the game two possessions later. He grabbed an eight-yard pass from Miller and took it the rest of the way for the score.
After a Boilermaker fumble on its next drive, Miller delivered a shovel pass to senior wide receiver Corey “Philly” Brown near the goal line to give OSU a 28-0 lead.
The Buckeyes led, 35-0, after redshirt-senior quarterback Kenny Guiton threw a one-yard jump pass to senior wide receiver Chris Fields for a touchdown with Miller lined up at receiver.
Freshman running back Ezekiel Elliott then caught a 10-yard pass from Miller, giving OSU a 42-0 lead it took to the break.
The Buckeyes tallied 350 total yards in the first half compared to Purdue’s 87.
Guiton relieved Miller when the second half began, promptly leading the offense right down the field and scoring on a four-yard touchdown run. He would find the end zone again in the fourth quarter on the ground, this time from one-yard out to give OSU the lead, 56-0.
Miller finished the day 19-of-23 passing for 233 yards, four touchdowns and an interception.
Sophomore right tackle Taylor Decker left the game in the third quarter with an apparent knee injury. Meyer said after the game Decker sprained his MCL and will “probably be out for a week or so.”
The Buckeyes will take their second bye of the season next week before returning to action Nov. 16 against Illinois in Champaign, Ill.