On Saturday Night at 7:30 PM EST, viewers on ABC will be looking live at what should be a jam-packed Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Indiana. The #2 team in the nation, the Ohio State Buckeyes, will hit the road to take on the Purdue Boilermakers, a 3-3 club that has been playing better than its record indicates.
This is a tricky spot for a Buckeyes squad that has just cemented it’s standing at #2 in the polls in the wake of last week’s results. Its Big Ten rival would like nothing more than to throw a wrench into the team’s College Football Playoff ambitions in front of what should be a raucous crowd for this primetime affair.
Let’s take a look at what both programs bring to the table as we dig into this matchup in depth.
Ohio State @ Purdue, 7:30 PM EST, ABC
- Ohio State -12 (-115)
- Purdue +12 (-105)
- Ohio State -470
- Purdue +395
- Over 68 (-125)
- Under 68 (+105)
Ohio State vs. Purdue pick:
While Ohio State’s 7-0 start has undoubtedly been impressive, it hasn’t been quite as dominant as the club’s record suggests. The Buckeyes have several blowout wins on their 2018 resume, but the team has also been tested several times. Penn State pushed them to the absolute limit a few weeks back, and TCU put up a stout fight earlier in the season.
Even the team’s last two opponents, Indiana and Minnesota, had moments where they shined against a superior team. Nonetheless, the undefeated Buckeyes are cranking along, outscoring opponents by whopping margin of 324-134 thus far, an average of 46.3 to 19.1 points per game. The offense is potent and efficient in both facets, while the defense has been balanced. On the year, the unit has generated 24 sacks, 13 turnovers, and one defensive touchdown.
Sophomore signal caller Dwayne Haskins has emerged as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. He has completed 72.3 percent of his passes for 2,331 yards, 28 scores and four picks, with a rushing touchdown added on for good measure. Haskins has an embarrassment of riches at his disposal, including RB J.K. Dobbins and wideout Parris Campbell. Ohio State has next week off before finishing out the season with four straight against other Big Ten foes.
The Boilermakers opened up the season with three consecutive close losses. In total, the three games were decided by six points. The team righted the ship in a big way with an upset victory over Boston College, who had come into that game ranked #23 in the nation, and followed that up with a pair of impressive victories over Nebraska and Illinois.
For the year, Purdue has outscored opponents 201-139, or an average margin of 33.5 to 23.2 points per game. The team has displayed a balanced approach on both offense and defense thus far. Through six games, the defense has produced 17 sacks and eight turnovers.
QB David Blough and RB DJ Knox have been solid, but the star of the show on offense has been standout freshman wideout Rondale Moore. He has hauled in 45 passes for 558 yards and five scores, and added on nine carries for another 139 yards and a touchdown. The dynamic playmaker has four games with 100+ yards receiving on the year.
Blough has thrown for 10 TDs and two picks, while Know has rushed for 540 yards and five scores. Blough’s resume includes three games with three passing touchdowns, while Know has two 150+ rushing performances and a multiple-touchdown game on his. Purdue’s bye week is out of the way, and they’ll be back in action next week against Michigan State.
In the all-time series between these two programs, Ohio State holds a 39-14-2 advantage. This will be their first meeting since 2013, a 56-0 victory for Ohio State. The Buckeyes hold a 7-3 edge straight up for the last ten meetings of these two schools, and a record of 3-7 against the spread over that span. The Over has been the correct call just twice over that timeframe.
Ohio State holds two dominating shutout victories over that span – 56-0 in 2013 and 49-0 in 2010 – but the rest of the games have been relatively close and competitive. The Buckeyes have won the last two in this series, and three of the last four overall. This is the highest projected total (68) in recent meetings, with the previous high mark being 58 in 2012 (the Under came in for that contest).
Ohio State has looked like a true offensive juggernaut this season. Haskins is currently second in the running for the Heisman Trophy in the eyes of oddsmakers. Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa is at the top of the list with odds of -155, followed by Haskins at +225. Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray is currently number three with odds of +250.
If Haskins doesn’t wreck opponents through the air, then the talented duo of Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins will get it done on the ground. One way or another, the Buckeyes will put up points. The defense is doing a fantastic job of putting pressure on opponents, but other squads have been able to move the ball against the Buckeyes.
As for Purdue, bouncing back from a trio of heartbreaking defeats with three consecutive victories is no small feat. That’s a testament to both coaching and the players, and the Boilermakers could still wind up with a decent record when all is said and done if they continue showing up as they have throughout the 2018 season.
For this game, Ohio State is just too talented to have this game be the one in which it takes its first loss. That said, the Boilermakers are playing really well, and there’s no reason they can’t put quite the scare into visiting Ohio State. In fact, there’s no reason this one can’t remain competitive into the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes win, but this is another game that won’t be easy for them.
We’ll take Purdue plus the points.