Buckeyes use Boilermakers to get back to health

Published 11:57 pm Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — No. 11 Ohio State wanted to heal a pair of wounds, one of them a year old, the other just a week.

Terrelle Pryor threw for three scores and Dan Herron ran for two as the Buckeyes steamrolled Purdue 49-0 on Saturday, earning redemption for a stunning 26-18 upset a year ago at Purdue and for last week’s 31-18 defeat at Wisconsin that toppled them from No.1.

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“Some people might have thought this game meant a lot because of last year, others thought it meant a lot because of last week,” coach Jim Tressel said. “You never know. But most recent misery probably trumps past misery.”

Purdue had won four of five despite losing its front-line quarterback, tailback and wide receiver, but couldn’t muster anything against the beat-up Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten), who were without leading tackler Ross Homan (foot). The Boilermakers (4-3, 2-1) didn’t exceed 100 yards in total offense until their final possession.

“We didn’t talk about Wisconsin,” Ohio State linebacker Brian Rolle said. “We didn’t talk about anything — just this game.”

Pryor, largely ineffective at Wisconsin, completed 16 of 22 passes for 270 yards, although he did throw two interceptions.

“Losing to Purdue last year was more motivation than the loss last week,” he said. “Purdue was a big disappointment a year ago for me and that’s what made today a whole lot better.”

The victory was Ohio State’s eighth in a row against the Boilermakers in Ohio Stadium since its last loss 22 years ago. About the only break with tradition came at halftime when an Elvis-themed show by the Ohio State band featured The King dotting the “I” in his name instead of in Script Ohio.

The Boilermakers never came close to scoring. Their only chance came on Carson Wigg’s 56-yard field goal attempt in the final minute. They had driven to the Ohio State 39 — their deepest penetration of the game. The kick was short and wide right.

Purdue, which led the Big Ten in rushing and defense against the run, could do neither very well. It totaled just 118 yards, netting 30 on 27 attempts on the ground — 200 yards less than it was averaging. It had rushed for at least 200 yards in each of the last five games.

Meanwhile, Ohio State ran for 184 yards, led by Herron’s 74 yards on 16 carries and touchdowns of 10 and 2 yards.

The Buckeyes defense forced the Boilermakers to punt the ball away on their first five possessions. On the sixth, quarterback Rob Henry (9 of 18 for 58 yards with one interception) threw directly to Ohio State safety Orhian Johnson.

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes — with perhaps a point to prove — ran and passed at will. Receivers were frequently lonesome in the secondary, and while Pryor took a couple of hard hits, he also benefited from open targets.

“They weren’t open,” Purdue coach Danny Hope disagreed. “They were wide open.”

Ohio State set the tone after taking the opening kick — which, fittingly, Purdue booted out of bounds to allow the Buckeyes to take over at the 40. Running Herron on five straight plays, they covered 60 yards including the 11-yard score, with the Boilermakers lending a hand with a facemask penalty.

They also helped out by having a punt hit a player, giving Ohio State the ball at their 39 to set up Herron’s second score.

The Buckeyes then turned the scoreboard into a tote board with Pryor hitting TD passes of 22 yards to DeVier Posey, 7 yards to Dane Sanzenbacher and 15 yards to Corey Brown to make it 42-0 at the break.

The Buckeyes outgained the Boilermakers 415-47 in the first two quarters before calling in the subs.

“There really aren’t any words for a loss like this,” said Purdue defensive end Ryan Kerrigan, who had three sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered one to star in last year’s upset. “You put it behind you, move forward and focus on the next game.”

Sounds just like what the Buckeyes did.